Is Urban Area-based Regeneration Possible? The New Deal for Communities Programme in England

By Paul Lawless.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The New Deal for Communities (NDC) programme is one of the most intensive area-based initiatives (ABIs) ever launched in England and probably anywhere. In 39 deprived localities, each housing about 10,000 people, 10 year schemes are being implemented to transform these areas in relation to six outcomes. Three of these are about ‘place or area’: housing and the environment, crime, and community; and three are about ‘people’: education, health and jobs. Each of the 39 programmes has received about £50m ($75m) from central government. The community is at the ‘heart’ of the initiaive. The author is the director of the national evaluation.
Change data (2000-2008) can now reveal the successes as well as the shortcomings in this Programme. Many indicators have moved in a positive direction, especially those relating to place eg fear of crime. But many people based indicators have not shifted to the same extent and in general these areas have not moved a great deal more than have similarly deprived non-NDC areas. A number of factors account for lack of progress in ‘transforming’ these areas: the scale of problems NDCs face; lack of support from many public agencies; area effects are anyway very limited in explaining change; having the community at the heart of the programme is not without its problems; etc. Much can be learnt from this innovative and challenging ABI.

Keywords: Area-based Urban Regeneration, Community Empowerment, New Deal for Communities England, Evaluating Regneration Schemes

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.93-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.217KB).

Prof. Paul Lawless

Assistant Dean Research, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Paul Lawless is Professor of urban policy at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. He has written six books and more than 50 articles on aspects of urban policy in the UK and US. He has secured funding from the Leverhulme, Rowntrees and Nuffield Foundations, and from the UK government’s Economic and Social Research Council. Since 2001 he has been directing the national evaluation of the UK government’s New Deal for Communities (NDC). The NDC Programme has strong claims to be the most intensive area based based urban initiative ever launched in either Europe or North America. It is a 10 year initiative, solidly based on community engagement with the objective of achieving change in outcomes areas such as education, jobs and health. It provides a remarkable laboratory through which to explore the problems of reducing poverty in developed societies.

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