We’ve previously explored the numerous benefits of re-generating neglected urban areas as mixed-used developments for living and working, but there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to make these projects a success. While it’s true that every urban regeneration project is different and will have different considerations depending on the area, there are also a number of common factors that developers need to bear in mind to achieve success. We take a look at a few of the key ones in this blog.
When it comes to planning a regeneration project, the more information that developers have about the existing area and its residents, the better. Collaborations between public and private sectors often result in successful outcomes because local authorities can provide details about what the area and the people living there need. This allows the development of schemes that can offer real value and improvement to the lives of existing residents. Small consultations with different groups involved in the project during the planning process is also vital. This ensures that the majority of people with a stake in the development have the opportunity to raise any concerns and make suggestions for improvements to the plans.
Getting the design right is a key aspect of any urban regeneration project. It’s not just about ensuring that the buildings people live and work in are desirable, but it’s also considering how they interact with the surrounding infrastructure (i.e. roads and pavements) and providing spaces to encourage specific behaviours (i.e. community buildings for social interaction). The design also needs to take into account that the way people live now may not be the same in the future. Developers need to anticipate how the future requirements of its residents could differ and offer sustainable solutions that ensure developments remain appealing for future generations.
Maintain social diversity
One of the main concerns when it comes to urban regeneration projects is the fact that they can often inadvertently drive out existing communities. The new housing and infrastructure that is created when an area is redeveloped causes the area to become more desirable and house prices to rise. More expensive shops and facilities move in, and the existing residents are priced out of the area. Maintaining the social diversity that already exists in communities that are being redeveloped is essential. Successful regeneration projects take what is unique about an area (i.e. its physical, social and historical environment) and incorporate it into its redevelopment.
When regenerating areas where developers want existing residents to remain and new residents to move in, a key consideration is how to create an integrated community. Once again, design can play a crucial role. Creating attractive, vibrant spaces where people come together and interact regularly – including community buildings like leisure centres and libraries, as well as parks and outdoor spaces – means local people are more likely to mix and will quickly establish a sense of community.
Regent Land & Developments is a specialist developer of brownfield sites for residential and mixed-use land-led schemes across London and the South East.