High street shopping centres are at the core of cities. The continuing design challenge is to adapt a built environment inheritance to meet the present commercial needs of retailers, maximize the potential of the physical environment and address the social amenities that are expected from a city/town centre public realm. This paper addresses the question of what makes a successful high street shopping centre and seeks to understand the relationship between property values, location, physical characteristics, diversity of retailing and use, and social vitality in two successful city centre retailing environments. The research also demonstrates the blurring between commercial and public space, and supports Carmona’s argument that successful social space also creates economic value.
Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society (2014)
In the wake of the global recession, publicly funded urban development projects have reshaped Romania’s cities while transforming local governance practices. This study examines an emergent form of urban governance that is driven by the pursuit of EU and government funding and centres on large-scale spatial restructuring. During a time of severe economic decline, this form of local governance has brought about uneven development through a dramatic increase in redundant public works and urban beautification projects that serve neither the public need nor the EU’s development agenda. Seized by political patronage networks through selective and discretionary allocations of EU and public funds, public works projects have become vehicles for the extraction of public funds.
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (2007)
Severcan, Y. C. & Barlas, A.
The disappearance of public spaces from the urban realm is a sign of the de-individuation and asocialization of the modern individual. However, cities still
provide important tools for reclaiming our lost public life. The aim of this essay is to approach industrial heritage, usually considered a conservation issue, from a different perspective, as a tool for individuation and socialization. In order to do this, we start by describing the effects of capitalism and globalization on public open spaces, and then link this to governments’ privatization policies for industrial heritage. We show how industrial landscapes could function as public spaces. Finally, we explain how, in the absence of other public open spaces, industrial landscapes could be used for public purposes to meet the social needs of humans, and could thus be instrumental in the proliferation of our rituals.
Urban public space is once again a 'hot' topic and figures strongly in place quality discourse. City spaces are being recycled, reinterpreted and reinvented in a drive for a competitive quality of place. This article illustrates the changing face of contemporary UK public space through a qualitative analysis of the perceptions held by public and professional-bureaucratic actors. Drawing on empirical case study research of five recent enhancement schemes at prominent nodes throughout the North East of England, the research explores the culture and economics of urban public space design. Tentative observations are expressed in terms of the links between cultural activity and economic vitality, and some reflections on policy and practice are put forward.
Scholarship in urban sociology has pointed to the reliance of city governments on ever-more market mechanisms for organizing social and economic policy. This form of governance involves prioritizing cities’ cultural and social assets for their value in a global competition of urban “brands,” each competing for new infusions of human and investment capital. At the same time, however, cities have been at the center of seemingly progressive policy efforts aimed at promoting innovation, sustainability, and creativity. These themes represent a newly dominant planning discourse in cities across the globe. While researchers have thoroughly examined how “creative classes” and “creative cities” may exclude everyday, working-class, or poor residents, new urban imaginaries focused on sustainability potentially imply less stratified urban outcomes. Analyzing two high-profile interventions in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a sustainable urban regeneration plan for the historic downtown, and the creation of an arts cluster in the impoverished south of the city—this paper argues that despite divergent narratives, creative and sustainable urban projects suggest similar policy agendas, planning assumptions, and relationships to market mechanisms. Increasingly, global policies, whose design and objectives may appear to contradict market logics, may have outcomes that further them.