Catherine Glossop’s chapter on Regenerating cities takes a forward look at the impact of the recession on the physical regeneration of cities – in spatial, fiscal and policy terms. It argues that we need to change our spatial focus from larger, Northern city centres, which have traditionally gleaned the lion’s share of regeneration funds, and target the urban periphery and smaller cities that are suffering the most from the recession and long-term restructuring.
Private-sector investment can no longer expect significant returns from investment in deprived areas, or the same scale of public finance – both of which have been key to supporting regeneration in more marginal locations. If cities are to lead the UK to recovery, and those hardest hit are to share in that growth, the next government will have some difficult choices to make about where to prioritise scarce funds. Whatever choices are made, and wherever investment is prioritised, we must learn from the past.
All physical development will need to be less isolated from wider economic policy. Cities will need greater flexibility to pool resources, and tools that will help them rebalance the terms in the private sector’s favour.