What is City & Urban Revitalization Projects Definition?

Urban renewal (known in the UK as urban regeneration and in the United States as urban redevelopment) is a land renewal policy mostly used to attend to the deterioration in urban developments in cities. Urban regeneration involves removing damaged areas in city centers to improve the conditions of slums an d establish openings for upper-class housing, employment, and more. 

What Does it Entail?

The fundamental objective of urban redevelopment is to restore the economic viability of a specific area by bringing in private and foreign investment and facilitating the creation of businesses and their survival. 

In the 19th century, developed nations commenced modern renewal attempts, and under the rubric of construction in the late 1940s experienced an intense stage. This process has influenced numerous urban landscapes, and it has had a significant impact on the demographics and history of cities around the globe.

Urban renewal also involves the purchasing or acquiring a privately-owned property in a specified area by an eminent domain with authority from redevelopment authority, demolished and reconvened to designated innovators who create them for other uses.

As a reactionary measure to the increasingly limited and unhealthy situations of the poor masses in the quickly industrializing 19th-century cities, the concept of urban renewal as a social reform method was formed. The program for this reform was from a progressive ideology that proposed that adequate habitation conditions would economically and morally transform its residents.

Another aspect of reform could be said to have started in 1853, which the state used for efficiency and aesthetics reasons with Napoleon III recruiting Baron Haussmann for Paris redevelopment.

This process also occurs in some rural areas, and it is often called village renewal, although the process and practice may differ. In some instances, when freeways and expressways are incorporated into the city infrastructure, renovation may lead to urban sprawl.

Proponents have viewed urban renewal as an economic dynamo and a mechanism of reform, and critics as a control mechanism. While it can generate more revenue for communities, it can also outperform its pre-existing residents. Some projects for redevelopment have failed, including that of Kelo, where the United States Supreme Court authorized the takeover by five votes to 4. Still, nothing was constructed on the acquired property.

In several cities, the idea of the renewal of the prominent enterprise district and residential area gentrification is attributed to the earlier programs on urban regeneration. The objective of urban regeneration developed into a program established more on investments and renovation and less on destruction. Now it is a vital component of several local governments, usually combined with incentives for small and large businesses.

Pros and Cons of Urban Renewal 

The goals of original proponents of urban renewal have sometimes lived up to expectations ( politicians, civic readers, urban planners, and residents has evaluated it); it has played crucial roles. However, urban redevelopment projects have been a failure in other times, with failure in several cities of America, wasting vast amounts of funds meant for the projects for no purpose.

Restocked home inventory could be a quality improvement; it can increase density and reduce expansion; it could have economic benefits and improve the overall economic competitiveness of the city center. In some cases, it can enhance cultural and social conveniences, and it can also improve security and surveillance opportunities.   

Such developments like London Docklands can also increase tax revenue for the government. British commentator Neil Wates in the year 1964, asserted the view that urban renewal in the US had “shown the enormous benefits that are generated from urban renewal program,” such as solving some personal problems of the poor, production, or renewal of housing stocks, cultural and educational opportunities.

Urban redevelopment projects in the United States seek to revitalize downtown areas but have failed to successfully revitalize cities as a whole. The outcome of this process has often been a displacement of low earning city dwellers when their habitation was demolished or taken over. 

Urban redevelopment eventually became the driving force for shopping malls construction, auto factories and dealerships, department stores (e.g., Costco, Best Buy, and Target). Thus, the notorious renewal project in Southwest Washington ousted numerous African-American families, leaving them with no replacement housing because the law did not provide any at the time (1954).

In addition, the edition of the redevelopment project endorsed in Berman by the United States Supreme Court made provisions for low-cost housing replacement, a third of which accounted for $12/room/month in rent. That provision in the local law was rescinded after the court’s decision.

Replacement housing, especially in the aspect of high-rise housing for low-income tenants, has not been able to yield success. It is difficult to control these projects, which may lead to an increase in crime rate, and such infrastructure could themselves be unfit for human habitation. Housing projects for public like Cabrini-Green in Chicago and Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis got so bad the only option was for them to be demolished.

Urban Renewal & Redevelopment in Some Countries 

Argentina 

A well-known illustration of an urban redevelopment program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the Puerto Madero. The government of Argentina decided in the 1990s to construct a new area of residence and commercial district as a replacement for the old docks and ports in the city. 

In the last 20 years, there have been over 50 skyscrapers built. The most costly and exclusive neighborhood in Buenos Aires is now Puerto Madero.

Brazil

Porto Maravilha is a large-scale urban riverside revitalization project in Rio de Janeiro, covering a downtown area of ​​five million meters squares. The goal of the project is to renovate the port region, improving the magnificence and beauty of the entire city center, and improve the competitiveness of the city in the international economy. 

The Porto Maravilha comprises a 700 km channel for public water supply, gas, drainage, electricity, sanitation, and telecommunications networks; 70 km of roads, 17km of bike path; 50 km² for sidewalks; 15,000 trees, 5 km of tunnels; and three sanitation plants.

Morocco

During the era of French colonial, the whole Marrakesh city (the city in the shielding walls) was demolished and restricted, apart from the conservation of madrassas, mosques, and memorials of funerals. The madrassas that were preserved include buildings constructed as a caravanserai.

Singapore

Singapore’s history of urban renewal dates to the period within the world war two. There had been issues already with Singapore’s housing environment before the commencement of the war. The rapid growth in Singapore’s population around the 1930s compounded the difficulty in conditions of both housing and infrastructure. The previous adverse conditions of housing continued to occur due to war and inadequate economic development in the period ranging from the 1940s to the 1950s. During the 1950s, up to 2400 squatters were kept in Singapore. It was an aftermath of the movement by migrants, mainly from the baby boom and peninsular Malaysia. In the mid-1959, a significant number of squatters’ population inhabited and overcrowded slums, while these areas were without any service facilities like sanitation.

Urban redevelopment has always been a major component of the Singapore Republic since its existence and a major component of the national development program that was launched urgently. Prior to that, a masterplan had already been put in place in 1958 to help solve problems in the city. However, there was criticism from several urban practitioners because of the absence of experts in urban planning as a result of a shortage of professional staff. 

The government asked the UN-recommended professional team to address urban renewal issues and its plan for redevelopment in 1961. According to the United Nations assistance report, the government initiated two pilot developments in late 1964. These redevelopments oversaw urban renewal success in Singapore due to the government’s willingness and ability to provide an adequate public housing number and commercial areas.

Paya Lebar Quarter project is the most current. This is an international mixed-use advancement located centrally and a vital catalyst to regenerate Paya Lebar by the masterplan of URA. Located within a public space, Paya Lebar Quarter consists of 3 high-quality office buildings with nearly 1 million feet square space for offices and social amenities, a mid to mid-level independent retail mall consisting of shopping options of more than 340,000 feet square, cafeterias, entertainment centers, and three residential buildings composing of 429 apartments. Paya Lebar Quarter is a product of Lendlease. Lendlease is an international creator with a good reputation around the globe in urban renewal.

In the institution of urban regeneration programs, the government of PAP encountered some drawbacks. Resistance from people who reside in the squatters and slums construed most of the impediments. 

According to newspapers in Singapore, these people were unwilling to leave. This presented the main problem in the redevelopment plans of the 1960s. The affordable value of the land also was one of their reasons. Further, the government had to buy privately owned land by the upper and middle society to leave the land uninhabited and vacant to be utilized for redevelopment, and this construed another problem.  

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