During the late twentieth century, Manchester experienced a decline in its industry, which led to regeneration efforts in disadvantaged areas. The city centre witnessed a decrease in population due to powerful centrifugal forces. Employment rates, especially in inner city regions, were low and saw a significant drop from 160,000 in 1961 to 99,000 in 1991.
Concern has been primarily directed towards the declining population and rising poverty rates in inner city areas. Governments have previously implemented various initiatives aimed at revitalizing these areas through economic, social, and environmental strategies. However, these efforts proved unsuccessful due to controversies surrounding the allocation of increased tax revenue to benefit the local community, among other weaknesses. Consequently, the high unemployment rates and subsequent increase in poverty in inner city areas significantly diminished the quality of life for inhabitants, resulting in a rapid rise in crime rates.
Regeneration is the process of injecting capital and ideas into a particular region to revitalize and refresh its economic, social, and environmental status. In recent times, regeneration efforts in Britain have primarily targeted inner cities. Key elements of regeneration encompass eliminating slums and renovating housing, fostering new industrial growth and development, improving transportation systems, and making environmental enhancements. The goal is to attract investment from the private sector instead of solely depending on funding from local councils and central government.
Manchester has used various methods to rejuvenate underprivileged areas. Initially, the focus was on boosting the economy in response to deindustrialization and high levels of unemployment in the 1980s. In the 1990s, a broader approach emerged that aimed to address the problem holistically rather than breaking it down into parts. Several initiatives were introduced for regeneration purposes, such as The City Challenge Scheme, Single Regeneration Budget, Urban Development Corporations, and Event Led Regeneration. These endeavors had the goal of improving different deprived regions.
An instance demonstrating the successful implementation of the City Challenge Scheme can be observed in Hulme. Previous endeavors in Hulme to enhance the area had proven to be insufficient. The remedy came in the form of a comprehensive redevelopment project, where numerous new housing structures were constructed to replace the old ones. Nevertheless, the newly built tower blocks from the 1960s deteriorated rapidly, necessitating further redevelopment due to a 50% decrease in population over the past decade.
The City Challenge strategy was implemented to address the issues faced by Hulme, a neighborhood in southern, inner city Manchester. Hulme is notorious for its multiple deprivation, inner city decline, high unemployment, poverty, crime, and social exclusion. Through the City Challenge scheme, cities compete against each other to secure funds for development and regeneration. The government oversees the allocation of the grant, seeking guidance from experts in inner city redevelopment.
The City Challenge scheme was approved in Hulme in April 1992. Over the past decade, it has aided in the development of Hulme, resulting in a growing population and improved employment rates. This progress has been achieved through various means, such as the construction of contemporary homes designed to attract younger families. Additionally, a range of houses has been introduced to promote a more diverse community.
Increasing squares and parks have been emphasized to build a strong community. Additionally, a new high street has been created to focus on shopping, particularly at a family store that promotes community engagement. To encourage economic growth and development, workshops and offices have been integrated with housing, attracting firms and job opportunities to the area. This has resulted in increased employment rates and showcased potential for further growth. In 1994, the City Challenge Scheme was replaced by the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB), marking a significant change.
The City Challenge and SRB initiatives share similarities, but SRB focuses on attracting private investment for larger urban redevelopment projects in the UK. The main goal is to promote economic regeneration on a broader scale, enhance education standards, foster community engagement, improve education for youth, and enhance overall quality of life. This is achieved by bringing together multiple funding organizations to maximize the impact of development in deprived inner city areas. However, both initiatives face challenges in securing funds.
The initial effort required to bid for government funding is significant, and if the bid is unsuccessful, all the effort goes to waste. This discourages many cities from choosing to bid for funding, resulting in a limited number of cities that actually do. Consequently, the cities in desperate need of funding often fail to succeed in their bids, further exacerbating the unequal distribution of funding. Hulme’s success can be attributed to the significant scale of changes implemented.
The area’s house prices are increasing at a rate higher than the national average, making them highly desirable for various families and resulting in fast sales. Furthermore, employment rates in the area are on the rise. Regeneration efforts have had a significant impact on the social fabric, creating a strong sense of community. In the past ten years, approximately £60 million has been invested by the private sector to revitalize the area.
The City Challenge, supported by a significant financial contribution from the European Union, has earmarked £38 million to revitalize Manchester’s infrastructure. Hulme has a crucial task of securing the sustainability of this situation in the long term as both funding and government backing are temporary. The infusion of funds kickstarted revitalization efforts, but its success largely hinges on private investment. Salford Docks underwent a significant decline and was eventually abandoned.
In 1984, the Salford City Council and private investment, including the lottery, allocated a significant amount of money to revitalize this area. Approximately £300 million was used to refurbish and expand the previously neglected land, now known as the Salford Quays. As part of this redevelopment project, office spaces were constructed with the goal of creating jobs for around 4000 people. Moreover, specialized training programs were implemented to enable local residents to benefit from these employment opportunities. Additionally, new apartment buildings were erected to offer both temporary and permanent housing choices.
With the growth in population, Manchester’s center has seen an influx of individuals from various backgrounds and purposes. Among the recent developments is the Lowry Centre, a modern establishment that features a theater, exhibition area, and a “Virtual Reality” Science Centre. This project aims to attract new faces in the area, especially young people and students. As a flagship endeavor, it draws a diverse crowd who view it as culturally enriching.
Introduced in 1999 and 2000, a new railway line connects Salford Quays to other main regions, resulting in a doubling of train commuters. This has had a positive impact on public transport, reducing car usage. In 1988, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) initiated a project in Central Manchester.
The objective was to transform a sparsely populated and deteriorated region into a prosperous district where new businesses would establish. The government-appointed corporations were accountable for the planning and development of the designated area. Various approaches were utilized for this endeavor. The Castlefield Heritage Park, an area consisting of abandoned industrial properties such as vast amounts of vacant land, unused railway crossings, warehouses, and factories, was among the locations targeted for revitalization.
The Central Manchester Development Corporation revitalized and renovated this entire area to create offices, cafes, and museums in order to attract new businesses. Major attractions such as the Museum of Science and Industry and the Castlefield Outdoor Events Arena drew in a diverse visitor population. While funding for this project primarily came from the UDC, there were also substantial contributions from the public sector investment. The UDC focused on property development, neglecting to address social issues within the area, which resulted in few employment opportunities for disadvantaged residents living in the inner city.
The Bridgewater Concert Hall, which was constructed using ï¿½43 million donated by the CMDC, is a contemporary structure situated on the riverbank. It annually showcases numerous performances by renowned musicians and also includes conference halls that have attracted a higher number of small businesses to Manchester’s city center.
Thanks to CMDC funding, the Castle field site underwent development and new houses were constructed. Many warehouses were converted into apartments, attracting a large population of students who now live there. As a result, more young people have moved to the area, which offers promising job prospects. However, on June 16th, 1996, an IRA bomb detonated in Manchester’s city centre causing extensive devastation. Consequently, the significant harm inflicted on important structures made redevelopment necessary.
During a span of four years, efforts were made to revamp and rebuild a ‘new city centre’. The renovation effectively accomplished a modernized and improved look for the centre. This involved adding more office space and integrating cutting-edge technology. Consequently, the development led to a surge in the creation of new businesses in the area, which contributed to its economic stability. Hence, each individual project within the plan can be considered successful when evaluating success based on quantitative measures.
The attraction of development and regeneration has drawn various individuals and enterprises to different locations. However, determining success in this regard can only truly be assessed with hindsight, through the long-term sustainability of each project, which is currently challenging to define. The fundamental aspect of each regeneration approach has been to enhance the population flow into an area. This influx of people results in development, businesses, and economic stability.
Nevertheless, the provision of funding is essential for commencing each project. The endeavors made to ready locations for new enterprises, boost the region’s promotion, allocate resources to infrastructure improvements, and enrich the surroundings are ultimately aimed at achieving these goals. The main emphasis of every project has been on cultivating economic expansion in industry and infrastructure. Nonetheless, it is crucial to contemplate the potential future social ramifications that may arise within these regions.
An example of this phenomenon can be observed in Hulme, where the main store (Asda) on the High Street attracts a significant number of customers, resulting in a decrease in customers for smaller stores. Consequently, these smaller stores located nearby are compelled to close down, leading to a reduction in population and employment rates. One of the challenges encountered by specific regions is the decline in development and depopulation caused by counter urbanization or the growing appeal of alternative areas.