- Who owns Britain? Neighbourhood Regeneration through privately managed public Space    click here to open paper content1071 kb
by    Herr, Eva & Frankland, John | eva.herr@essexcc.gov.uk   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Urban renewal in Britain witnessed a rise in privately managed “public” space. Based on four case studies, this paper discusses whether privately managed “public” space can successfully contribute to neighbourhood regeneration.
The urban renaissance of cities in Britain is being accompanied by an increasing privatisation of public space. The Government’s approach to the regeneration of Britain’s cities, as set out in Richard Roger’s Urban Task Force Report (1999), or in the Government’s paper “Creating Sustainable Communities” (2003), highlights its aspiration of creating mixed and balanced communities. With a tight grip on public expenditure, however, local authorities lack the funding to deliver and, in particular, to maintain high quality public infrastructure, especially in those areas targeted by regeneration schemes. They therefore increasingly rely on private funding to deliver regeneration, and privately managed “public” space has been an important element of recent regeneration schemes.

Research suggests that not only are residential neighbourhoods increasingly privately managed, but large parts of inner urban areas have been taken over by privately financed management companies who maintain “public” infrastructure such as parks, streets and squares. Whilst the recent growth in privately managed neighbourhoods is generally associated with gated communities inhabited by high income groups, the garden cities and post war developments of the last century, which targeted other income groups, have employed similar mechanisms.

This paper presents case-study research undertaken by Essex County Council to get a better understanding whether private initiatives provide a better service and therefore more robust regeneration than local authorities. Looking at four privately managed residential developments, the paper also addresses the question of socially mixed communities. Further, it looks at arrangements between local authorities and private management companies or community trusts to secure public access to privately managed space. The paper concludes by discussing whether and under what circumstances privately managed neighbourhoods can successfully contribute to urban regeneration.
privately managed neighbourhoods
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