March 23, 2008

Success and the City: Learning from International Urban Policies

By Tim Leunig, James Swaffield; Edited by Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich

Success and the city: Learning from international urban policies is the second in a series of three reports on urban regeneration policy published by Policy Exchange and Localis.

Regeneration, and urban policy more widely, are worldwide issues. Many cities around the globe face similar issues to British cities – bringing business in, developing labour markets, addressing poverty and segregation, and encouraging people to migrate back to the city. Learning from this wealth of international experience is critical to improving the design, delivery and success of policy in the UK. Based on research in six city-regions – Vancouver, Amsterdam, the Ruhr, Lódz, Warsaw and Hong Kong – across three continents, Success and the city analyses how policy can be made to deliver healthy cities. Collectively, the message from these cities is clear: the most successful have the powers and ambition to initiate change, the freedoms to think and be innovative with policy, and the mechanisms to hold local change to account. Giving cities powers alone, however, cannot buck geography. The most successful also benefit strongly from their location, size and accessibility, and these are sometimes difficult areas to bring within the bounds of policy. Allowing cities the tools to respond proactively to the conditions that they face will be central to their future health, and the health of the country as a whole.

Perhaps the most significant urban challenge of all is that of increasing the viability of areas facing social, economic and environmental problems. This challenge, although linked to planning and other policies, has developed into a wide-ranging field of its own and is commonly referred to as urban renewal or urban regeneration. This report looks at and evaluates the different approaches to urban regeneration practised in the UK and abroad and proposes policy recommendations for the effective regeneration of deprived urban areas.


Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich

Chief Economist, 2005-2008

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