The impacts of public participation in area-based urban regeneration: a case study of the London Borough of Newham
Public participation is a key part of the urban regeneration policies in Britain strongly promoted by the New Labour government. The main aim of this study is to investigate the impacts of public participation in area-based urban regeneration where poverty and multiple deprivation are prevalent. The case study area is the London Borough of Newham, a borough that benefits from many of these policy initiatives for a variety of aspects of social, economic and environmental regeneration. Following the completion of their budgeted project life, however, the outcomes of many of the regeneration initia-tives in Newham and elsewhere are not always sustainable. One of the many possible explanations for the failure of initiatives to secure a long-term improvement in the qual-ity of life of the residents is the lack of ownership by local people which is a conse-quence of non- or little public participation in the regeneration process. This often re-flects the almost non-existence of social networks among communities undergoing re-generation and the lack of empowerment of residents from the outset and throughout the lifetime of projects. The thesis argues that a good stock of social networks and well developed community empowerment will lead to a higher level of participation that could help regeneration initiatives to become more sustainable. It is based on a programme of research that used a range of mixed methods, including surveys, interviews and observation, to investigate the nature of participation in Newham regeneration settings. The findings explore the extent of participation and consider the views of a range of stakeholders on its role in the regeneration process. As well as critically evaluating current Newham regeneration initiatives in relation to the degree to which they meaningfully encourage public partici-pation, the study also sets out to develop ideal models of participation. It explores dif-ferent approaches to engaging with local people and social networks at neighbourhood level, and emphasises to the importance of evaluating regeneration in relation to its par-ticipatory goals. The thesis concludes by reiterating the importance of a meaningful public participation in the national and local policy regimes. It also sets out the signifi-cance of the research in understanding the role of participation in Britain’s area based urban regeneration strategies.
AuthorsMengesha, Mentesnot M.
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