|The success of urban regeneration policies – aiming at renovating public |
spaces and improving the attractiveness and accessibility of deprived urban
areas, while reinforcing the sense of community – is in most cases strongly
influenced by the capability to face the challenge of ensuring broad
participation of local stakeholders and strong inclusion of residents.
The importance of involving multiple stakeholders in urban regeneration
process has been widely investigated (see contributions by Healey P.,
Osborne S.P., Reuschke D.) and some authors already highlighted how public-
private interactions can support urban competitiveness and cohesion.
Indeed, residents and community organizations have long sought out new
formulas in order to guarantee wider participation in urban redevelopment
initiatives and new forms of cooperation with the public sector.
Such an effort has to be considered even more important because of the
increasing scarcity of public financial resources, which have driven local
authorities to enhance a general partnership approach and to support strong
relationship with residents, non-profit associations, economic and
entrepreneurial groups, private investors, other potentially involved
Within the context of a EU FP7 Marie Curie Research Project whose acronym
is CLUDs (Commercial Urban Local Districts), diverse “architectures” of
Public-Private Partnership have been explored within the general framework
of urban regeneration processes in order to understand how they are
sustainable, innovative and really effective.
In US particularly, three different models of non-profit organizations have
been investigated (Community Development Corporations, Main Street
Organizations and Business Improvement Districts) in different US contexts
– Boston (Massachusetts) and San Diego (California) –, where Public-Private
Partnership is a well-established tool.
Analysis of statistics from the Census Bureau, interviews with involved
stakeholders and critical overviews on related literature and press have
been carried on in order to find out connections, outcomes and figure out
possible lessons Europe oriented.
One of the most interesting outcomes of this work, still in progress, is
related to the confrontation of different but comparable initiatives as the
Downtown Boston Improvement District plus the Washington Gateway Main
Street Program in Boston and the North Park BID/Main Street in San Diego;
or the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston and the City Heights
Community Development Corporation in San Diego.
The analysis highlights the issue of the “flexible geometry” in roles of
public, private and non-profit actors and the different approaches that
might be adopted to reconsider the leading role of municipal governments
while proposing community-based solutions to public problems: the case-
study exploration is not limited to underline the traditional features of
some good practices – as quality performance in delivering community and
social infrastructures, services and facilities or local community
empowerment in decision making processes – but it also shows some of the
problems connected with partnership involving community and public sector
organizations, such as the leading (and sometimes meddling) role of public
authorities supporting specific interests.