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Examining the impact of housing refurbishment-led regeneration on community sustainability: a study of three Housing Market Renewal areas in England

Turcu, Catalina (2010) Examining the impact of housing refurbishment-led regeneration on community sustainability: a study of three Housing Market Renewal areas in England. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis investigates whether the regeneration, and in particular, housing refurbishment-led regeneration of deprived urban areas can contribute to the creation of sustainable communities, by looking specifically at the impact of the current Housing Market Renewal Programme on three areas in the North of England. Research has long acknowledged the multifaceted nature of sustainable communities. Evidence has shown how sustainable communities are determined by the complex interdependencies of economic, social, environmental and institutional phenomena and the need to balance these over time. At the same time, the government’s drive to ‘create sustainable communities’ through its prominent and ‘holistic’ Housing Market Renewal Programme has been well publicised. Many studies have challenged what is and what is not a sustainable community, and whether progress towards sustainable communities is currently being made in Housing Market Renewal areas. This study addresses these two issues. First, the thesis seeks to address issues related to framing, defining and evaluating sustainable communities within the context of the built environment. It suggests a framework for doing so which is anchored in the Housing Market Renewal context and draws on the values and understandings of those involved in the ‘making’ of sustainable communities in this context. Second, the framework is applied to three case study Housing Market Renewal areas: Langworthy North in Salford, North Benwell in Newcastle and the Triangles in Wirral. The study involves a survey of approximately 150 residents, semi-structured interviews with over 50 regeneration officials and other stakeholders, and secondary analysis of existing survey data and Census analysis. We find that the proposed framework for assessing sustainable communities is overwhelmingly supported by residents in the three areas and that housing refurbishment-led regeneration has had an overall positive impact on community sustainability in those areas. However, the impact is varied in intensity and scale: all aspects of an area’s physical environment and some economic and social aspects of areas benefit significantly following regeneration, while aspects of local governance, resource use, services and facilities benefit to a lesser degree. We also examine the scale and extent of the Housing Market Renewal Programme and assess how the Programme’s wider challenges impact on local communities. The research concludes by acknowledging that sustainable communities are subject to a continual process of change and that housing refurbishment-led regeneration can contribute to creating more sustainable communities. The thesis also observes that urban intervention, no matter how holistically’ delivered, is only one among many dimensions of sustainable communities; the integration of different policy areas, continued investment and support, and, above all, community empowerment are key to the sustainable communities agenda.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Power, Anne

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