Outline the ways Manchester has attempted to regenerate its CBD and inner city areas

The decline of industry in Manchester during the late twentieth century was the beginning of the regeneration initiatives in deprived areas. Strong centrifugal forces led to the decline of population in the city centre. Employment was low especially in inner city areas; figures dropped dramatically from160,000 in 1961 to 99,000 in 1991. The focus of great concern was on population decline and increasing poverty in inner city areas. Many initiatives were previously established by governments in order to renew these areas through economic, social and environmental strategies. These failed as there were disputes about the way the increased tax was benefiting the local area, other weaknesses contributed to this also. The increased poverty in inner-city areas due to high unemployment rates led to low quality of life for inhabitants where crime rates were increasing rapidly.

Regeneration is the investment of capital and ideas into an area to revitalise and renew its economic, social and environmental condition. In recent years, the most common type of areas in Britain to be regenerated has been the inner city. Key elements of regeneration are slum clearance and housing renewal, new industrial growth and development, improvements to transport systems and environmental improvements. To encourage private sector investment instead of that from local councils and central government sources.

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There has been a wide range of approaches to regenerate the more deprived areas in Manchester. In the 1980’s economic regeneration was the priority, this was where deindustrialisation prevailed and high unemployment rates were high. In the 1990’s there was and still is a more holistic approach, this is where the concern is with the whole of the problem rather than analysis of separate parts. There are many schemes of regeneration to improve different areas of deprivation such as The City Challenge Scheme, Single Regeneration Budget, Urban Development Corporations and Event Led Regeneration.

An example of how the City Challenge Scheme has finally prevailed is in Hulme. Previous attempts in Hulme have proved inadequate for improvement. Comprehensive redevelopment, this is where a large number of new housing replaced the old. However the new tower blocks that were made in the 60’s had deteriorated soon after, increasing the need for redevelopment as population had dropped by half in the last ten years. This is where the City Challenge strategy came in.

Hulme is situated in southern, inner city Manchester and is notorious of having problems of multiple deprivation, inner city decline and unacceptable levels of unemployment, poverty, crime and social exclusion. The City Challenge scheme allows cities to compete against each other to gain funds for development and regeneration. The government is then in charge of how the grant is spent with advice from specialists in inner city redevelopment. City Challenge scheme was approved in Hulme in April 1992; it has helped Hulme in the last ten years to develop in to a stable area where population is increasing along with employment rates. This has been done in a range of ways. More houses have been created in a modern style, to appeal to younger families.

A variety of houses have been introduced in order increase diversity of inhabitants. The building of a strong community has been emphasised by increasing squares and parks. A new high street dedicated to shopping with a main focus on a family store to highlight the community. Workshops and offices were mixed with housing to encourage firms and jobs in to the area, therefore increasing the employment and economic rate and showing more potential for growth and development.

There was a change in 1994 when Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) replaced the City Challenge Scheme. Although both initiatives are similar SRB attracts private investment for broader scale redevelopment in inner city areas in the UK. The aim is on a wide scale to promote economic regeneration, to raise educational standards, increase community activity, improve education for young people and improve the general quality of life. This in done by combining many different funding organisations in order to increase effectiveness of development in inner city areas that are especially deprived.

The few negative points the City Challenge and SRB have are to do wit the difficulty of gaining funds. The initial effort needed to bid for government funding is immense and if unsuccessful all effort is wasted. This narrows the amount of cities that choose to bid for funding. This means that those cities that are desperate for funding don’t often succeed in the bid, which contributes to an uneven distribution of funding.

Hulme has been an exceptional success because the changes have been immense. The house prices are rising faster than the national average and are being sold rapidly with an appeal to a wide range of families. Employment rates are increasing. The regeneration has changed the social fabric of the area producing a strong community.

An estimated �60 million has been spent over the last ten years on redevelopment from private sector investment. The City Challenge has provided �38 million along with significant funding from European Union to regenerate infrastructure in this area of Manchester. The main problem Hulme faces now is maintaining this situation, as the money is only temporary along with government input. This has only kick-started the redevelopment, a lot still depends on private investment to maintain this.

Salford Docks was heavily in decline and in a derelict state. In 1984 the Salford City Council along with private investment including the lottery gave huge amounts of funding for regeneration in this area. Up to �300 million was spent on restoring and developing the neglected land that is now renamed the Salford Quays.

Offices have been built to increase employment for up to 4000 people, additionally specific training is provided so that local people are able to benefit from these opportunities. New apartment blocks have been created to provide housing for temporary and long term accommodation. This increases the population in the centre of Manchester by thousands and attracts a range of people for a range of reasons.

Lowry Centre is a more recent development project; it is a huge modern complex of theatre, exhibition space and ‘Virtual Reality’ Science Centre. This is aimed to attract new, young people and students to the area. It is a Flagship scheme, which interests a range of people as the area is seen to be more cultured.

A new railway line was introduced in 1999 and 2000 that links Salford Quays to other main regions. This has increased the number of people travelling by train by double. Having a very positive effect on the public transport and decreasing car the use of cars.

Central Manchester in 1988; a project was begun by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC). The aim was to convert this weakly populated and dilapidated region in to a thriving, developing district where new companies would relocate. The corporation were organizations appointed by the government who were responsible for planning and developing the set area. This was attempted in a variety of ways.

An area called The Castlefield Heritage Park was a run-down industrial area that included huge areas of derelict land, disused railway crossings, warehouses and factories. The Central Manchester Development Corporation restored and refurbished all this area in to offices, cafes, and museums to attract new firms. The Museum of Science and Industry, and the Castlefield Outdoor Events Arena are major centres that attracted a wide range of visitors. Funding for this scheme came mainly from UDC but significant contributions came from the public sector investment.

The UDC prioritised property development, changing the social fabric of the area was abandoned and not many of the employment opportunities were given to deprived inner city inhabitants.

The Bridgewater Concert Hall worth �43 million was built with funds from the CMDC. It is a modern building located on the riverbank. Each year it hosts hundreds of performances a year from celebrated musicians. There are conference halls that have increased the number of small businesses in to the centre of Manchester.

Funding from the CMDC allowed new houses to be made on the Castle field site; many of warehouses have been converted in to apartments where a considerable number of students are occupants. This has attracted an increase of the young generation to the area where employment opportunities are high.

On 16th June 1996 an IRA bomb exploded in the city centre of Manchester. Although the effects were horrific, the destruction of key buildings in the centre meant that redevelopment was necessary. Plans were made to complete a ‘new city centre’. After 4years of rebuilding the centre had been refurbished with an improvement. A modern new look with more office space, and high-tech equipment, which increased the number of new businesses in the region.

In conclusion each individual project was successful when success is based on figures and more economically stable area. Development and regeneration has attracted a wide range of people and businesses each area. However success can only really been determined using hindsight and the sustainable change of each project, which is difficult to define at the moment.

The key to each of these methods of regeneration has been to increase the influx of people to an area. With people come development, businesses and economic stability. However funding is the kick-start to each of projects. Preparing sites for new businesses, marketing the area, investing in new infrastructure and improving the environment as they have done, should achieve these goals.

The main emphasis of each project has been on economically developing industry and infrastructure. A problem that may become apparent in these areas in years to come is the social impact that this might have. An example of this is in Hulme. On the High Street the main store (Asda) will deprive the smaller stores of customers due to its popularity. This would mean the smaller, nearby stores will close therefore decreasing population and employment rates.

Problems that face individual areas, is the regression of the development, depopulating the area due to counter urbanisation or other areas increasing in popularity.

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