Urban regeneration in the contemporary society in different parts of the world depends on a numbers of factors such as previous development history, urbanization, social and economic situation of particular urban centers (Lorens, 2008).
It is therefore very possible to define situations among various situations can easily be associated with the post-socialistic cities. The urban areas affected are found in countries, which since the end of Second World War were faced with the development of control system, and economic command, which is normally associated with nondemocratic socialistic political regimes. After the collapse of such systems, which took place in 1980s, many countries started developing political and economic systems patterns similar to those of the North –American and West-European patterns. However due to the history of those countries, their development seriously differs from that of the developing countries which therefore imply that there is need for regeneration of urban cities in such countries.Many urban cities and centers are today so much in need of more intervention that is appropriate. Such interventions can only be achieved by ensuring comprehensive package of regeneration measures to address the social and economic needs of local communities as well as physical regeneration of the areas where the local population live.
Challenges in the urban areas such as scattered development opportunities, fragmented land ownership, lack of necessary services and infrastructure to support the rapid population increase and difficulty in accommodating new housing and infrastructure on urban recycled land. There are themes that need to be addressed in many urban centers today in order to regenerate them. Prescott (1999, p.133) states that “…three main themes-increasing the coherence of urban policy at national and regional level; equipping local authorities to make strategic decisions about their urban regeneration priorities and target investment accordingly; and creating the conditions which allow local authorities and their partners to establish project delivery bodies with sufficient freedom to get the job done properly”.According to Prescott (1999), local authorities should be given adequate freedom to work with their regional and local partners to institute a long term and strategic regeneration priorities and objectives for their respective cities and towns with assurance that they will be given enough resources and support to realize their objectives.
He further states, “We need a new mechanism-designated Urban Priority Areas-to enable local partnerships to target regeneration incentives and investment on areas where there is a mix of economic need and latent market potential, and we have to make better use of dedicated arms length bodies to co-ordinate the delivery of area regeneration projects”(p.133).A number of factors have been cited as the contributors to the degeneration of our cities with one of them being lack of continuity and consistency of policy approach due to continued change of political initiatives. To regenerate the urban centers in the global level there is urgent need to advance the consistency of programmes at national level within and across government departments and at the local level (Tsenkova, 2002). To achieve this objective, there is need to empower local authorities because they are the facilitators and enablers and they are the one that play more momentous role in co-ordination of regeneration effort.
In addition, there should not be any kind of ambiguity when it comes to targeting of resources, economic, physical and social integrated programme measures. All these efforts should be carried out with the aim to benefit the local populations living in the locations and not just places alone. Creation of coalition of ‘actors’ in different localities to create development of structures to encourage long term collaboration relations among local communities and secondary stakeholders is also very paramount in regenerating urban centers (Evening Gazette, 2008).By looking at the themes that urban regeneration programs need to address and the key challenges that such programs face in a globalised world, we take a case study of Hulme city. There was a disastrous result in Hulme when the slum clearance programmes to build one of the largest system-built housing estates of Britain. The high hope of redevelopment of the city in 9170s, which was projected to house about 120000 people, was dashed by the numerous challenges that face d the project (Prescott, 1999).
Some of the challenges and problems that face the efforts building of building such a house are also the challenges that face urban regeneration today. The problems and challenges include high crime level, heating inadequacies, symptom of depression, pest infestation, ill health and isolation, which associate with slum condition prevalent in many urban centers. In early 1980s, discussion was ripe between community representatives, central government and city council about the problem that Hulme city faced and possible solutions to the problems. It was until 1992 when the government released £37.5 million to address the challenge of Hulme city.
The amount of money was a catalyst to fund comprehensive programmes to deal with social physical and economic problem of Hulme. The challenge designation helped turn around the city after maisonettes and 3000 deck access flats were demolished and 4000 refurbished have taken their place. The new Hulme city is today apart from providing homes, houses and students accommodation, it provides offices, shops, education and community facilities, squares, streets and civic spaces together with new housing.
Integrated approach was vital to the prospects of sustainable regeneration in Hulme city.When such integrated and brave approach taken in Hulme could be taken in most of the degenerated cities of the world today, it cannot take long time to regenerate them. The government should show their commitments by pledging to put in place long-term approach to regeneration and economic development policies in deprived cities or urban centers. When suitable policies that will support urban centers regeneration are put in place by the governments that are concerned, such policies will offer a lot of solution to the problems that most places face (Routlrdgeweb, 2009). Such policies would strengthen the role of local governments in activities aimed at regeneration activities, encouraging working partnership with voluntary and private sectors. The policies will enable the establishment of regional development agencies, which is paramount in promoting long-term economic development of the urban centers that need regeneration. The is also need to continue with a single regeneration budget which target more strictly at turning around places which are deprived by means of integrated package of regeneration measures.
New government structure in many cities as council and strategic authority should address the regeneration issues, which include infrastructure, economic development and transport. Commitment to regeneration initiative should be introduced to ensure more co-ordinated strategic approach in directing more of the available public resources to urban regeneration priorities (Goksin & Muderrisoglu, 2005). The urban areas regeneration programs incorporate the communities or the neighborhoods very closely in improvement and management the urban centers. Ina addition, employment, education and health action zones should be introduced to be followed by cross-government programme that will co-ordinate all the different initiatives run by different government departments in the regeneration bid.Several issues that are associated with urban regeneration include environment impact (Housing Executive, n.d.). Urban regeneration affect environment at very many levels hence in the effort of regeneration, identity of the city and the community of the center need to be preserved.
Other facets to take into consideration include local culture, built and natural environments need to be given a special attention in the process of the renewal (Stouten, 2007). These are some of the challenges that regeneration of urban cities face since it will not be easy to integrate urban regeneration and preservation of city identity, local culture, community natural and built environment. Urban regeneration does not only modifies the urban environment physical form but it also changes the way people perceive it and how it is experienced as well as emotional and psychological relationship between urban areas and human beings. Embracing such changes is not embrace by many and they will be some tendencies to resist regeneration.
Urban regeneration also leads to loss of proximity to relatives and friends, dissolution of urban communities and loss of social network, which is very expensive and unbearable at times. Destroying such king of chords are some of the difficult choice that urban regeneration initiatives embrace at the expense of the affected residents (Urban Regeneration, 2009). Another challenge that such programs experience is trying to preserve continuity and diversity, which are very crucial of urban environment.