AQA A-Level Geography 40 Marker help!Watch
With reference to examples, evaluate the success or otherwise of urban regeneration schemes in combating the causes and consequences of urban decline (40 marks).
Urban decline is often associated with a demographic of a low income and a lack of qualifications, housing is generally poor quality with an overall decreasing population caused by the need to move elsewhere to find an area which will provide them with a better income and quality of life.
In 1981, the first property-led (development funded by private investors) urban development corporation (UDC) was established to help solve such issues occurring on the Isle of Dogs in London, in which containerisation and increased ship size had left Dockers unemployed and with a lack of qualifications and a skill which was no longer useful, causing them to be unable to find other employment. The UDC which would set out to solve this issue was the London Dockland’s Development Corporation (LDDC, 1981). The LDDC set itself targets to attempt to improve social, environmental and economic aspects of the Docklands; some of these aims were more successful than others. Firstly, in order to improve housing quality in the area, 24,000 new houses were built, aiming to provide housing for the locals, as well as increase population in the London Dockland’s area which would therefore increase the amount of money being spent in the area itself, thus increasing the economic aspect of the Docklands. The economic aspect of this plan was a success, as the population of the area increased as affluent investors purchased homes which averaged £400,000 each. However due to the sheer price of the housing, the LDDC was actually unable to succeed in its primary aim of providing housing for the locals, as housing prices were simply far too high. The development of the Docklands attracted investment from large banking companies such as Barclays and Santander who established their Headquarters within the ‘Canary Wharf’ area, also established through the LDDC. The establishment of these large companies’ HQ’s and a variety of other large businesses led to over 85,000 jobs being created. However, many would agree that the LDDC, similarly to the housing development, focussed more on the affluent ‘yuppies’ rather than the locals themselves, as the majority of the 85,000 jobs created were executive, skilled roles which the locals lacked the qualifications for. Instead the large majority of these jobs were taken by affluent, skilled people who had previously moved away from London via suburbanisation, living outside of London’s CBD and Inner City, in suburbs such as Chelmsford in Essex. Job provision therefore proved to be yet another socially unsuccessful objective of the LDDC, as the locals still persisted to be unable to obtain any real positives from the development which has occurred. However, whilst jobs were not directly provided for the locals, the LDDC established 25 new educational institutes, including primary schools, secondary schools, post-16 colleges and vocational training centres, all of which being able to increase the employability of the locals by providing them (and their children) with the qualifications necessary to become employed and gain a substantial income above that of the minimum wage. Furthermore, the construction of the Jubilee Line (London underground), Limehouse Tunnel and the Docklands light railway have all provided the locals living in the Isle of Dogs with access to the rest of London, something which was previously not easily available to them. Greater access to the rest of London means that the locals can find employment elsewhere and not have to be restricted to the Isle of Dogs alone. These improvements in infrastructure proved to be a social success, making up for the socially unsuccessful unavailability of jobs on the Isle of Dogs itself. Overall, the LDDC proved to be a huge economic success, however socially it failed to be a success. The environmental aspect of the LDDC however was rather successful, 400,000 trees were planted and mudflat habitats along the river Thames were nor disturbed or harmed.
Whilst LDDC was environmentally successful, similar UDC’s were not. In 1987, the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was established with the aim to regenerate 11,000 acres of South Cardiff, transforming Cardiff Bay into a city similar to the likes of Boston and Sydney. Similarly to the LDDC, the CBDC wanted to improve environmental, social and economic aspects of Cardiff Bay. The biggest investment the CBDC made was the construction of the £190 million tidal barrage which would supposedly prevent flooding in Cardiff, whilst also forming a beautiful large lagoon, attracting visitors from around the world. The Barrage however did not reduce flooding in South Cardiff, instead it did the opposite, causing ground water levels in South Cardiff to increase by 3 metres. Furthermore, the barrage also prevented water from the polluted Taff and Ely rivers from dispersing out into the sea, leading to an accumulation of inorganic nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates in lagoon, causing huge algal blooms which made the lagoon extremely unsightly and a health hazard to anyone who wished to swim in it, practically making the presence of the lagoon pointless and a waste of money and time. To add to this, the lagoon severely damaged SSSI’s such as Cardiff Bay, destroying the mudflat habitats of 4000 Dunlin and Redshanks. The CBDC had detrimental impacts upon the environment, however economically, the UDC was a success, attracting 7 million visitors in 2015, therefore achieving what it originally intended to do.
In the 1990’s, urban redevelopment corporations called ‘City Challenge Partnership Schemes’ were introduced to achieve what the property-led UDC’s could not – social, environmental and economic success. In 1992, the Hulme City Challenge Partnership Scheme (HCCPS) set out to redevelop the ward of Hulme in Inner City Manchester. Prior the HCCPS, Hulme’s housing consisted of 1960’s flats which were described to as ‘appalling’ and had ‘degrading conditions’, there was a lack of social ‘togetherness’ amongst the community and unemployment was at 31%, with 50% of those employed having part-time or low paying jobs. To improve housing, the HCCPS knocked down the 1960’s flats and improved 40,000 homes and constructed 3000 new homes, all of which had far greater living conditions than the flats before them. Unlike the LDDC, the majority of housing was cheap and affordable for the locals, meaning that they did not have to relocate and move elsewhere, the HCCPS actually took the locals into consideration, something which the LDDC failed to do. To improve community feel, a Zion centre was built with a crèche within it, both of which taking the locals into consideration. A large proportion of the community is of African origin and the Zion centre allowed them to practise their beliefs and make them feel more at home, rather than segregated, within the community. Unemployment decreased from 31 to 6% within 20 years due to the development of the Hulme shopping centre and large ASDA superstore, providing 53,000 jobs; the majority of which required no skills or qualifications, a factor perfect for the Hulme community, whom lacked skills and qualifications.
Overall, UDC’s failed to do what City Challenge Partnership Schemes (CCPS) were able to do - provide for the local community whilst also managing to benefit those living elsewhere. In Hulme, development attracted investment from large companies such as Michelin and the Manchester University Data Centre, providing jobs for commuters which require specific skills and qualifications, whilst also managing to attract investment from large companies such as ASDA who provide jobs for the locals which require a lack of specific skills and qualifications. LDDC however failed to this, with the large majority of the jobs it created going only to commuters, not the locals. However, the overall aims of UDC’s and CCPS are very different, UDC’s have larger aims, hoping to regenerate an area which has a population of above one million, whereas CCPS generally tend to focus on improving areas with a population of only several thousands, a factor which makes it far easier for local needs to be achieved. Furthermore, whilst CCPS are locally successful, UDC’s are nationally, if not globally successful; HCCPS managed to economically improve the single ward of Hulme, whilst LDDC managed to improve the economy of the entirety of the UK, if not the entire world, allowing London to establish itself as an Alpha ++ World City.
Just quoting in Danny Dorito so she can move the thread if needed