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"Follow the money": Untangling the complexity of urban regeneration in the UK

Williams, David


David Williams


In 2015 I completed my PhD exploring the delivery of sustainable transport initiatives by local authorities. My research was designed to explore whether social practice theory, particularly Shove et al.’s (2012) 3-Elements model could be used to provide an alternative way of understanding how people travel and thereby developing transport initiatives that reduced harmful emissions. At the end of my second year it was clear that the system for delivering sustainable transport initiatives was an important part of the explanation of how and why we travel, yet this could not accurately be represented by the 3-Elements model. The 3-Elements model failed to deal the importance of funding and the power associated with it. I therefore decided to explore systems approaches that would be compatible with the 3-Elements model and I found Fine’s (1993, 2002) Systems of Provision. Through the combination of the two models it was possible to incorporate the transfer of power and funding from the different levels of the transport planning system and demonstrate that Ministers’ and civil servants’ views of what a sustainable transport initiative should be ultimately influenced what was delivered by local authorities.

I am now working on a research project called PARCOUR, which is designed to understand how the public interest is delivered through the redevelopment of brownfield sites. The research focuses on three UK case studies: Bristol Harbourside, Gloucester Quays and Firepool, Taunton. Delivery of urban regeneration forms a complex system of systems which involves agreements between both the public and private sector. This paper will provide a first attempt to apply the System of Provisions model developed in my PhD research to the complexity of urban regeneration in the UK. The initial findings have shown that the delivery of brownfield regeneration requires substantial government funding to deliver key infrastructure to allow development to occur. The Systems of Provision model offers a new means of understanding this in the context of the wider delivery system and how it ultimately leads to brownfield regeneration taking place.

This paper forms part of the PARCOUR project is funded by the FAPESP-ESRC-NOW joint call ‘Sustainable Urban Development’.

Presentation Conference Type Speech
Start Date Apr 26, 2017
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Williams, D. (2017, April). "Follow the money": Untangling the complexity of urban regeneration in the UK. Presented at Valuing and financing the Infrastructure of Cities, Regions and Nations
Keywords systems of provision, social practice theory, urban regeneration, public-private partnership
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Valuing Valuing and financing the Infrastructure of Cities, Regions and Nations


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