CITIES IN TRANSITION Year 1: Shrinking Cities

a 3-year initiative of the German Marshall Fund supported by the Surdna Foundation and the Kresge Foundation designed to create a sustainable network of leaders implementing solutions in U.S. cities in transition

Stakeholder Meeting
D etroit, Michigan October 7 – 8, 2010

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between the United States and Europe. GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working on transatlantic issues, by convening leaders to discuss the most pressing transatlantic themes, and by examining ways in which transatlantic cooperation can address a variety of global policy challenges. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies. Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has seven offices in Europe: Berlin, Bratislava, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, and Bucharest. GMF’s Comparative Domestic Policy (CDP) Program empowers local leaders to introduce innovative strategies to their communities by connecting practitioners who can share insights about policy successes and challenges. The program works primarily through the Transatlantic Cities Network, whose activities are supplemented by tools including research fellowships, study tours, issue-specific local workshops and researched multimedia web content. The Cities in Transition initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Kresge Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Welcome From Tamar Shapiro, Director of Comparative Domestic Policy………………………………….…..2 2. Cities in Transition Program Summary………………………………………………………………………….3 3. EUROPEAN UNION CONTEXT 3.1 EU-Level Funding Overview: EU Report on Promoting Sustainable Urban Development, Chapter 1…………………………………………………………………………………….5 3.2 EU Vision for Cities: The Leipzig Charter…………………………………….…………….…………….15 4. MANCHESTER 4.1 Overview: Manchester City Profile……………………………………………………………..………….24 4.2 Ramifications of Shrinkage: Regrowth of a Shrinking City……………………………..……….28 4.3 The Role of Music and Culture: Manchester England…………………………………….. …….41 4.4 UK Urban Policy Innovations & Lessons for the U.S: A Brookings Study…………….….47 4.5 Excerpts from the Manchester Unitary Development Plan (UDP)…………………………64 4.6 In the Media: Chips, Will Alsop and the Redevelopment of Manchester…………….…76 5. LEIPZIG 5.1 Leipzig History and Context: Leipzig City Report……………………………….……………….….80 5.2 Leipzig Economic Strategy: Leipzig’s Municipal Job Agency……………………………………99 5.3 City of Leipzig Urban Development: Residential Space, Urban Renewal, and the Economy…………………………………………………………………….………………………………….105 5.4 Funding at the Federal Level: Soziale Stadt: A Program Summary……………………….112 5.5 Funding at the Federal Level: Urban Redevelopment in East and West Germany…………………………………………………………………………………………..…………….119 5.6 Current Programs: Interim Use: Opportunity for New Open Space Quality in Leipzig………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………..125 6. APPENDIX: Shrinking Cities in a US Context: How to Shrink a City………………………………138

Cities in Transition: Shrinking Cities
A sustainable network for leaders from Flint, Detroit, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh supported by the Surdna Foundation and the Kresge Foundation and organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States The Cities in Transition Initiative is a three-year project designed to build a sustained network of policymakers, practitioners, and civic leaders in five older industrial U.S. cities: Detroit and Flint, Michigan; Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio; and the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region. Participants in this network will work together closely to articulate critical policy challenges facing their communities and to identify and adapt innovative solutions that European older industrial cities have implemented to address the myriad challenges associated with urban disinvestment and economic restructuring. In each of its three years, the project will zero in on a different policy area affecting these cities: respectively, land use; manufacturing; and workforce development.

Year One: Shrinking Cities
In 2010-2011, the Cities in Transition Initiative will focus on the challenges that arise from physical transformations occurring in a built environment that has been left behind by rapidly shifting settlement patterns. In cities in the United States’ Rust Belt and elsewhere, trends of decreasing population and suburbanization have sapped the vibrancy of many core city neighborhoods, leaving them vulnerable to blight and not dense enough to support a healthy civic life. Program Summary GMF will bring together key leaders in land use planning and vacant property management for a oneday kick-off meeting in Detroit in October 2010 to identify desired outcomes early in the process, and to identify key questions to be answered about the European case studies. The cornerstone of the project will then be a study tour to Leipzig and Manchester in December 2010, during which the delegation will have an opportunity to meet with leading policymakers, examine the “why” and “how” of approaches that have been implemented successfully in these cities, and identify strategies for adapting those ideas to address challenges in their home cities. Study tour participants and other decisionmakers in the participating U.S. cities will then be convened for a series of charrettes in spring 2011 to explore how best to apply key elements of the successful policies and practices identified abroad to pressing challenges in their home communities. Study tour participants will also work together to identify state and federal policy changes necessary for implementation of these policies, important steps in facilitating the transferability of policies from the European to American context, as well as potential limits of policy transferability. Participants Participants in Year One programming will be selected from Flint, Detroit, Youngstown, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh with an emphasis on developing a strong, diverse group of political, business, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders with a high potential for influencing the design and implementation of successful solutions. Additionally, recognizing that pioneering initiatives at the municipal/regional level must be complemented and supported by federal leadership, staff from relevant federal agencies will also be invited to participate.


The initiative will be guided through its three-year implementation period by a group of key stakeholders representing place-based foundations, civic organizations, policy organizations, and project funders. Project activities will also be guided and coordinated by a senior fellow each year whose deep expertise and regional networks will contribute high-level policy analysis and help ensure that the lessons learned from European cities can be and are translated into innovative new policies in the participating U.S. Cities. In 2010-2011, the Cities in Transition Fellow is Lavea Brachman, Executive Director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center. Leipzig and Manchester Following the reunification of Germany, Leipzig experienced a dramatic collapse of its industry and significant population loss due to rapid suburbanization as well as migration to western Germany. To address the overwhelming vacancy levels, misalignment of infrastructure and population, and fiscal crisis that resulted, city leaders are implementing an integrated, cross agency strategy that combines center city revitalization with the targeting of funds to key neighborhoods, the innovative reuse of former industrial spaces, the development of new housing and homeownership models for urban areas, and the creation of strategically placed green space through targeted demolition. Though significant challenges remain, Leipzig is now experiencing an increase in population and key neighborhoods have stabilized. Manchester has also undertaken a comprehensive approach to revitalization, not driven by one project or circumscribed by a single strategy, but by citywide planning and intermunicipal as well as publicprivate cooperation. A major focus of this effort has been on rebuilding Manchester as an internationally competitive city, reflected in the city’s focus on building up its airport and high-tech sector. Great emphasis has still been placed on place-based regeneration, encompassing both repopulation and redevelopment of the city center (including the rebuilding after the IRA bombing in 1996), as well as a network of other major neighborhood revitalization strategies. The city has created a number of innovative place-based public-private entities to lead these efforts. Participants in the first year of the Cities in Transition project will examine these and other successful European examples closely in order to identify key policy elements that are relevant to the complex challenges facing their own communities. The German Marshall Fund and the Comparative Domestic Policy Program The German Marshall Fund of the United States is an American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to developing ideas, leaders and institutions necessary for an effective, long-term partnership between North America and Europe. Recognizing the similar policy challenges that cities in the United States and Europe face as well as the necessity for communities to collaborate in crafting approaches to local problems that have global implications, GMF’s Comparative Domestic Policy (CDP) program provides a framework for dialogue between individuals and groups who make, influence, and implement urban and regional policy on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Cities in Transition project is made possible through the generous support of the Surdna Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.


The EU Report on Promoting Sustainable Urban Development in Europe: Achievement and Opportunities, Chapter 1 Published by the European Commission Directorate General for Regional Policy Brussels, May 2009 The first chapter of this lengthy EU report provides a succinct overview of urban development policy in Europe and again emphasizes the “integrated approach” to sustainable development outlined in the Leipzig Charter. It also gives a broad history of the different EU-level funding initiatives from 1989-present, including the URBAN Pilot Programs from 1989-1999, the URBAN I and II Community Initiatives from 1994-2006, and finally the URBACT programming of 2002-2013. It is important to understand these initiatives and how they work in order to be able to translate lessons about EU funding structures to the United States context.




Cities play a vital role for the development of European regions. They are key to increasing the European Union’s worldwide competitiveness. Cities are home to the majority of jobs, firms and higher education institutes and their action is decisive in bringing about social cohesion. They are also the focal point of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, areas in which the EU has ambitious objectives. Where cities and neighbourhoods are strong, the regions around them show stronger growth and are more competitive. Since 2005, the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs has made a strong contribution to Europe’s economic growth3. In the context of Cohesion Policy, this means for example that between 2007 and 2013 certain proportions of the Policy’s €347.41 billion budget (35.7% of the total EU budget) will be earmarked for investments that boost economic growth in the EU’s Member States, regions, towns and cities4. European cities are key to reaching the Lisbon goals, since they act as the motors for regional growth, innovation and employment creation5. It is crucial that towns and cities of all sizes become or remain attractive, both to residents and businesses. This is important not only for big agglomerations and global nodes, but also for small and medium-sized towns, since their health is often crucial for the well-being of their regions. Their capacity to innovate and create new economic opportunities is a prerequisite to ensuring that these regions do not lose out in global competition. Furthermore, strong regional economies, driven by competitive cities, are better able to afford social inclusion and to maintain and protect the physical and natural environment. In times of economic crisis, cities must use their innovative and integrative potential to play a proactive role. Indeed, difficult circumstances might even open up opportunities for them to introduce structural reforms and accelerate the necessary adaptation to changing economic and social realities, which – under normal conditions – would be more difficult to achieve. All over Europe, cities are a nexus for needs and opportunities. They offer exceptional possibilities for economic development, social inclusion and well-being, and they have unique cultural and architectural sites. At the same time, pockets of deprivation (social exclusion, poverty and crime) still persist. The disparities within cities are often much larger than the regional or national average performance might indicate. As economic development can only be sustainable when it is accompanied by measures designed to reduce poverty, social exclusion and environmental problems, the integrated approach not only encourages growth and jobs throughout Europe, but also pursues social and environmental objectives6.

The dynamics of cities in Europe1
• Currently over 70% of Europeans live in urban areas. Most of the EU’s population, just over 60%, live in medium-sized cities with more than 50 000 inhabitants. There are around 6 000 towns or cities with over 5 000 people and almost 1 000 cities with over 50 000 people in the EU, in which economic, social and cultural activity is concentrated. However, only 7% of the EU-27 population live in metropolises of over five million (against 25% in the US)2. • Cities are engines of economic growth for Europe: those with more than one million inhabitants generate 25% more Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than the EU average, as well as a 40% higher GDP than their home nation’s national average. In virtually all EU Member States, urban areas are the chief producers of knowledge and innovation. • Because they concentrate economic added value, urban areas are the chief producers of knowledge and innovation. As drivers of competitiveness, cities are the platforms of technological innovation and multinational activities, ranging from primary research at universities to cutting-edge research for high-tech businesses. • The service sector is the most important source of employment in European urban economies. For example, in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Rome the service sector accounts for between 80% and 90% of total employment.

Cities – a motor for economic growth.

6 Promoting sustainable urban development in Europe ACHIEVEMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES


Cities play a vital role for the development of European regions
The benefits of economic growth should be extended to the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Social cohesion, and tackling poverty, joblessness and social alienation are all important EU priorities. The less-favoured social groups include not just the poor and the long-term unemployed, but also immigrants, ethnic minorities and young people in deprived areas. Inclusion in the labour market and affordable access to basic services are therefore specific goals for EU Structural Funds. Towns and cities play a decisive role in bringing about social cohesion7. This is particularly true for cities that are exposed to problems of social exclusion and social inequalities between different groups of people. Moreover, politicians of all nationalities and political parties recognise the importance of urban issues. Successive presidencies of the EU have recognised urban issues, particularly at the Informal Ministerial Meetings on Urban Development in Lille in 2000, in Rotterdam in November 2004, in Bristol in December 2005, in Leipzig in May 2007 and in Marseille in November 2008. These were occasions when Ministers from around the EU forged a new culture of cooperation on urban affairs with the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and other European Institutions. On the strength of this cooperation, they committed to supporting the development of strong European cities and regions,

Greening the city – economic development must be sustainable.

The diversity across and within European cities – some facts and figures8
• The patterns of ‘urban population change’ in European cities are complex and very diverse. In the period from 1996-2001, a third of cities grew at a rate in excess of 0.2% per year; a third saw their populations remain stable (rates of population changing between -0.2 and 0.2%), and a third experienced a notable decline in population. • Highly qualified people are over-represented in cities, as are those with very low-level skills and qualifications. Cities offer exceptional possibilities for economic development, social inclusion and well-being and have unique cultural and architectural sites. At the same time, pockets of multiple deprivation (i.e. social exclusion, poverty and crime) are still apparent. The disparities within cities are often much larger than the regional or national average performance may suggest. • Unemployment rates tend to be higher in cities, although the concentration of jobs in cities is even stronger than that of residents and many of Europe’s main employment centres are within cities. Europe’s largest cities are truly economic powerhouses. However, within cities, between city districts, very large differences in unemployment rates remain visible. • Together with natural population growth, migration is a crucial determining factor for urban population change. The share of ‘newcomers’ in European cities (i.e. people that have moved to the city in the previous two years) varies widely across Europe. A high proportion of newcomers (5% or more) can be observed in cities in for example Ireland, France, Denmark and Germany. • Many cities located in the EU face problems related to inner-city decay. This is the result of development during which the historical core of the city gradually lost its traditional role and where both economic activity and many original inhabitants moved towards more outer-lying areas. This trend has led to urban sprawl, exacerbated by weak urban-planning mechanisms. • Cities throughout the EU are facing pressures and challenges related to road congestion, air and noise pollution. These problems have been aggravated by, amongst other things, the steady growth of many southern European cities in recent years (e.g. Athens, Thessaloniki, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto).


7 Promoting sustainable urban development in Europe ACHIEVEMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES



based on new and sustainable strategies. With the ‘Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities’, they recommended:   aking greater use of integrated urban development policy m approaches (by creating and ensuring high-quality public spaces, modernising infrastructure networks and improving energy efficiency, proactive innovation and educational policies);    paying special attention to deprived neighbourhoods within the context of the city as a whole (by pursuing strategies to upgrade the physical environment, strengthen the local economy and local labour market policy, instigate proactive education and training policies, and promote efficient and affordable urban transport). Building on the experience of previous Community initiatives and programmes to support urban development and regeneration (like the URBAN Community Initiative), this process of creating new development strategies has led to the emergence of a common European ‘Acquis Urbain’. Cohesion Policy plays, and will continue to play, an important role in this process of supporting the development of Europe's towns and cities. This role has expanded in the 2007-2013 programming period, as the urban dimension is now fully integrated into programmes and projects that are co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This has given Member States and regions the possibility to design, programme and implement tailor-made, integrated development operations in all European cities on the basis of the so-called ‘integrated approach’9. An approach of this kind combines elements such as cross-sectoral coordination of actions, strong horizontal partnerships, increased local responsibilities and the concentration of funding on selected target areas that form the key elements of this common European ‘Acquis Urbain’10. The integrated approach is in line with the renewed Lisbon Strategy of 2005, which followed the goal of the EU becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and progressing towards economic and social cohesion by 2010, through the renewal of Europe’s competitiveness. This approach aims at increasing Europe’s growth potential and its productivity and strengthening social cohesion, building on the Strategy's three dimensions (economic, social and environmental aspects)11. The environmental and sustainability aspects of the integrated approach build on the 2001 European Sustainable Development Strategy (the ‘Göteborg Strategy’). Dealing with multiple aspects of sustainable development, the Strategy proposes measures to tackle threats such as climate change, poverty, social exclusion and the ageing population, as well as issues such as public health and transport. On the basis of a review of the Göteborg Strategy that started in 2004, the European Council adopted the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) in June 2006. Themes that are crucial to towns and cities are also key priorities under the SDS: climate change

and clean energy, sustainable transport, sustainable consumption and production, conservation and management of natural resources, public health, social inclusion, demography and migration as well as global poverty12.

Milestones in Cohesion Policy support for urban development
Although there is no legal basis for urban policy in the treaties establishing the European Union (EU) and the European Communities (EC), the EU has a long tradition of being active in the field of urban development and regeneration and has taken on a major role in supporting cities and regions in their quest for competitiveness and cohesion. It is widely recognised that there is a strong need to take into account the urban dimension of EU policies and especially of Cohesion Policy. That is because not dealing with urban issues at a European level and the absence of a common understanding of urban development policies at European level, a European ‘Acquis Urbain’, would endanger the achievement of the objectives of the EU’s Lisbon and Sustainable Development Strategies. Over the last two decades, the EU has produced a number of major political documents, Community initiatives and programmes to support urban regeneration, innovation in urban policy and the exchange of experience and good practice; in addition, the pace and complexity of change has quickened13. The initiatives and programmes mainly focus on four political objectives:    Strengthening economic prosperity and employment in towns and cities;    Promoting equality, social inclusion and regeneration in urban areas;    Protecting and improving the urban environment, in order to achieve local and global sustainability;    Contributing to good urban governance and local empowerment.

Cohesion Policy plays, and will continue to play, an important role in this process of supporting the development of Europe's towns and cities

8 Promoting sustainable urban development in Europe ACHIEVEMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES 


knowledge and innovation in urban development and regeneration. The URBAN Initiative aimed at drawing up and implementing innovative strategies for regeneration in small and medium-sized towns and cities or of run-down urban neighbourhoods in larger cities. In addition, URBAN sought to enhance and exchange knowledge and experience from sustainable urban regeneration and development in the EU. The URBAN I and II Community Initiatives have put the integrated approach into practice in around 200 cities around Europe18. They mainly focused on physical regeneration of deprived urban neighbourhoods, local economic development, environmental issues, mobility and public space, local employment and cultural initiatives. Between 1994 and 1999, the URBAN I Initiative financed programmes in 118 urban areas with a total of €900 million of Community assistance. Around 3.2 million people lived in the supported areas and projects focused on the rehabilitation of infrastructure, job creation, combating social exclusion and environmental improvements19. Between 2000 and 2006, the URBAN II Initiative continued this effort and commitment to support European cities in their search for the best development and regeneration strategies. A total of €730 million was invested in sustainable economic and social regeneration in 70 urban areas throughout Europe with the support of this Community Initiative20. Resulting in a common European ‘Acquis Urbain’ and URBAN mainstreaming, the URBAN Community Initiatives emphasised a concentration of funding on selected target areas, the increased involvement of citizens and local stakeholders (shared responsibility), as well as a stronger ‘horizontal’ coordination of urban regeneration measures as main elements of an integrated approach towards urban development. This approach is continued in the period 2007-2013.

Social and economic regeneration is part of the package.

There have been several key milestones in Cohesion Policy to support urban regeneration and sustainable urban development14:

The Urban Pilot Projects 1989-1999
The Urban Pilot Projects marked a significant development in urban policy and were designed to pave the way for many far-reaching urban regeneration projects15. The Urban Pilot Programme was initiated by the European Commission after various networks, such as the ‘Quartiers en Crise’ European Regeneration Areas Network16, had received funding from the RECITE I Programme17 to exchange know-how and innovation and develop new European standards in urban policy. During the period 1990 to 1993, a total of 33 Urban Pilot Projects were launched. They were implemented in 11 Member States. Some were sustained beyond the funding period while others acted as catalysts for further regeneration in the target areas concerned. In July 1997, the Commission approved the Second Phase of the Urban Pilot Programme. Out of the 503 proposals that were received from local authorities, 26 projects from 14 Member States were selected for funding during the period July 1997 to December 1999. They focused mainly on the following topics:    Economic development in areas with social problems;    Environmental action linked to economic goals;    Revitalisation of historic centres;    Exploitation of the technological assets of cities.

The URBAN Community Initiative 1994-2006
Two generations of URBAN Community Initiative programmes have followed the Urban Pilot Programme and they have certainly been the most influential EU measure in creating and disseminating
Clearing up run-down neighbourhoods.


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Urban Pilot Projects and URBAN I and II programmes in the EU-15
Urban Pilot Projects (1989-1999) URBAN I programmes (1994-1999) URBAN II programmes (2000-2006)


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For the first time in the history of Cohesion Policy, all cities are potential beneficiaries of ERDF funding
important to capitalise on these opportunities in the coming years. The ERDF Operational Programmes make provision for a great variety of actions, with far-reaching scope, clearly responding to widely varying needs on the ground and the different economic backgrounds and historical contexts of Europe's cities. More urban operations will be involved in Cohesion Policy projects in 2007-2013 than in previous programming periods. Over half of all ERDF Operational Programmes contain an explicit urban dimension, while around one quarter of all OPs have introduced specific urban priority axes25. In the 2007-2013 ERDF Operational Programmes, three different groups of measures can be identified26. The first group aims to promote the regeneration of deprived and disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods (‘URBAN-type actions’). A second group of measures relates to sustainable urban development in various thematic fields: increased competitiveness, innovation, job creation, physical rehabilitation of urban areas and city centres, improvement of urban infrastructures such as transport and waste-water treatment as well as housing in new Member States. The third group aims to promote a more balanced, polycentric development. It seeks to develop networks of cities and to create links between economically strong cities and other urban areas, including small and mediumsized cities. Other actions can relate to metropolitan governance or urban-rural linkages. In over 300 Operational Programmes of Cohesion Policy that are financed by the ERDF in the period 2007-2013, around 3% of total planned EU investment is clearly earmarked as urban (around €10 billion). In absolute terms, in comparison to regions that fall under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective, almost three times more money will be invested in cities and towns in regions that fall under the Convergence Objective. Around one third of the Operational Programmes under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective address urban governance related to crossborder agglomerations, transnational urban systems and improved territorial governance27.


Linking Berlin to Germany’s smaller cities will help ensure a more balanced development.

The ‘URBAN mainstreaming’ of 2007-2013
For the programming period 2007-2013, and with the end of the Community Initiatives, the guiding principles of the URBAN Community Initiative were included in the regulatory framework for the Operational Programmes (OPs) of the Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objectives (‘mainstreaming’)21. This important change allows for an integration of different sectoral and thematic policies in all cities throughout Europe in the context of the Lisbon Strategy, the Sustainable Development Strategy and other EU priorities. It means that Member States and regions can continue to apply the successful integrated approach of the URBAN Community Initiatives and invest in towns and cities through ‘mainstream’ Cohesion Policy Programmes22. For the first time in the history of Cohesion Policy, all cities are potential beneficiaries of ERDF funding23. By now, European regions and Member States have already developed their Operational Programmes, which provide a basis for the strategic use of EU Structural Funds in 2007-2013. A substantial part of the Operational Programmes include a strong element of sustainable urban development, which builds on experience gained in this field in Europe in recent years24. The Operational Programmes financed by the ERDF may also include information on the approach to sustainable urban development, the list of cities chosen for addressing urban issues and the procedures for sub-delegation to urban authorities. To date, the opportunities offered by the new regulatory framework have been well exploited by regions and Member States and it will be

The URBACT Programme 2002-2013
With the Urban Development Network Programme, URBACT, the tradition of the RECITE Programme has been continued to support the exchange of know-how and experience between key players in urban policies across Europe28. The objectives of the URBACT Programme are:    provide an exchange and learning tool for policy decisionTo makers, practitioners and other actors involved in developing urban policies;    learn from the exchanges between URBACT partners that To share experiences and good practice;   disseminate good practice and lessons learned from exchanges To between European cities;


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The URBACT II Programme focuses clearly on taking advantage of and spreading knowledge

“ „



   support city policy-makers, practitioners and Managing To Authorities of Operational Programmes in defining action plans. The URBACT I Programme that was conducted between 2002 and 2006 under the URBAN II Community Initiative was open to all towns and cities that had implemented either an Urban Pilot Project or an URBAN I Programme. In 2004 it was opened to all cities from the new Member States, as they needed guidance and knowledge to confront the vast challenges they were facing in urban development. A total of €24.76 million was made available, of which €15.9 million came from the European level and €8.86 million from the Member States. In total URBACT I rallied 217 cities to work in 38 projects. With the URBACT II Programme, the EU has expanded its support for exchange between European cities during the programming period of 2007-2013. With its total budget of almost €69 million (of which 77% is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund), the URBACT II Programme will finance a total of 46 thematic networks and 14 working groups. To date, after a first round of calls for proposals in 2007/2008, 21 thematic networks and six working groups have already been approved for funding under the URBACT II Programme. These projects involve 253 partners, of which are 181 cities (some of them being involved in two projects simultaneously). Bringing together national authorities, regional authorities and cities from the 27-EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland, the URBACT II Programme is focused on improving the effectiveness of urban development policies in Europe and strengthening the common concept of integrated urban development. With a view to actively contributing to the implementation of the (renewed) Lisbon and Sustainable Development (Gothenburg) Strategies, URBACT II concentrates on themes such as entrepreneurship, innovation, the knowledge economy, employment and environmental issues. Each URBACT II project is linked to one of the three main themes: Cities, Engines of Growth and Job Creation;       Cities, Social Inclusion and Governance;    and Integrated, Sustainable Development. Cities The URBACT II Programme focuses clearly on taking advantage of and spreading knowledge. Several new features facilitate this sharing of information: The    active involvement of Managing Authorities in URBACT II thematic networks and working groups (to date, already more than 200 Managing Authorities across Europe are affiliated with the projects, highlighting their interest in working together with cities on urban issues);    obligation for each participating city to set up a ‘Local The Support Group’ to widen and deepen the involvement of local key players in area-based regeneration;    obligation for all participating cities to develop a ‘Local The Action Plan’ for at least one target area in order to manage the transfer of knowledge into actual implementation.
Sharing knowledge at the URBACT annual conference.

The Regions for Economic Change Initiative
Since 2006, the Regions for Economic Change Initiative (RFEC) has aimed to speed up the implementation of sound ideas. It seeks to strengthen exchange of experience and best practice in innovation among European regions by introducing new ways to stimulate not only regional but also urban networks like the URBACT projects29. Under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, the initiative allows good innovative ideas to be disseminated rapidly into the Operational Programmes under the Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objectives. One special feature of the Regions for Economic Change Initiative is the option of granting a so-called Fast Track Label to regional or urban networks. This label is given to networks which intend to make a vital contribution to one of the 30 priority themes of the Initiative and provide a smooth testing ground for policy ideas, and which have expressed their interest in working closely with Managing Authorities and Commission Services and have (finally) been assessed by the European Commission. The Fast Track Networks (FTN) can address one of the following seven themes among the 30 under the RFEC which are covered by the URBACT Programme:   anaging migration and facilitating social integration; M Integrating marginalised youth;    Building healthy communities;    Designing integrated policies on urban transport;    Developing sustainable and energy-efficient housing;    Achieving sustainable urban development;    Re-using brownfield and waste disposal sites.    Every year, the most innovative regional projects in Europe that would also be inspiring to other regions are awarded by the European Commission with a prize, the so-called RegioStars. From 2010 on, the RegioStars Awards will also include a special category for innovative urban projects, the so-called CityStars (website: inforegio/innovation/regiostars_en.htm).

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Regions for Economic Change: URBACT II Fast Track Networks
Distribution of the networks’ partner cities and their regions, as covered by their respective ERDF OPs (March 2009)
Building Healthy Communities - urban health network HerO - Heritage as Opportunity: Sustainable management strategies for vital, historic urban landscapes MILE - Managing migration and integration at local level OpenCities - Openness and the competitive advantage of diversity RegGov - Regional governance of sustainable integrated development of deprived urban areas UNIC - Urban Network for Innovation in Ceramics URBAMECO - The urban, social, economic and cultural regeneration of public housing estates in urban areas


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Social Aspects, Economic Aspects, Civic Involvement, Training and Education, Environment, Travel and Transport, Information Society and Culture and Recreation. With its broad collection of comparable data for European cities, the audit delivers a sound statistical basis for urban policy-making. By 2010, the ‘Urban Atlas 2008-2010’ will offer detailed digital maps of more than 300 Urban Audit areas based on satellite images. The objectives are to facilitate the comparison of different urban areas in the EU and to provide a better insight into the urban structure of the EU. At the local level the Urban Atlas will provide city planners with up to date spatial information on land use and land cover, offering new tools to assess risks and opportunities and to monitor development trends in their wider regions.

Regions for Economic Change seeks to strengthen exchange of experience and best practice in innovation among European regions
RegioStars will be joined by CityStars in 2010.

The Urban Audit
Launched by the European Commission in 1998, the Urban Audit aims to enable assessment of the state of individual EU cities and to provide access to comparative information from those cities30. Following a pilot project for the collection of comparable statistics and indicators for European cities, the first full-scale European Urban Audit took place in 2003, for the then 15 Member States of the EU. In 2004, the project was extended to the 10 new Member States plus Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. Under EUROSTAT coordination, the work of the Urban Audit involves all national statistical offices as well as some of the cities themselves. The second full-scale Urban Audit took place between 2006 and 2007 and involved 321 European cities in the EU-27, along with 42 additional cities in Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and Turkey. The Urban Audit contains data across the following domains: Demography,

14 Promoting sustainable urban development in Europe ACHIEVEMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES 


Leipzig Charter on Sustainable Cities Published by the Member States of the European Union, May 2007 The Leipzig Charter on Sustainable Cities, inspired in part by Leipzig’s experience in the late 90s and early 2000s, sets out the EU’s vision for supporting strong, sustainable cities into the 21st century. It argues that an integrated, cross sector and cross-regional approach to urban policy is the only way to ensure sustainable development. Among other goals, the Charter emphasizes the need to develop green, open public spaces, upgrade physical infrastructure, particularly in deprived inner city neighborhoods, and promote innovative policy approaches to workforce and educational development.









Manchester City Profile From “Shrinking Cities” Working Paper Series, March 2004 pp. 32-34 By Phil Misselwitz In this city profile, the author balances enthusiasm about Manchester’s relatively rapid image makeover – due in large part to the influx of an artistic community into the inner city when space was cheap and readily available- with warnings about the potential polarizing economic and social effects of a “branded city.”





Regrowth of a Shrinking City From “Shrinking Cities” Working Paper Series, March 2004 pp. 40-51 By Ed Ferrari and Jonathan Roberts Using a range of economic indicators, this article explores the social and economic ramifications of city shrinkage, including the effects of population and industrial decline on regional migration patterns, public and private transportation, the shape and size of the workforce, and the housing market. It concludes that, while Manchester is “impossible to think of in any other terms than as an urban success,” it has proven difficult to distribute the benefits of the city’s success uniformly across its population.














Manchester England From “Shrinking Cities” Working Paper Series, March 2004 pp. 90-93 By David Haslam In this short and conversational piece, Manchester native and former Hacienda Club DJ David Haslam argues that Manchester owes much of its resurgence to the alternative artistic and cultural scene that centered around the grew in Manchester in the mid to late 1980s. Haslam encourages policymakers and city officials to cultivate cultural activity by providing ongoing opportunities and resources (including space) for cultural actors.







Smarter, Stronger Cities: UK Urban Policy Innovations and Lessons for the United States Report issued by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution By Chris Webber and Alan Berube This report highlights the relevance of recent urban policy successes in the United Kingdom for US policymakers. The UK, in no small part due to strong national leadership, has taken the lead in promoting innovative workforce and sustainable development strategies, including congestion pricing, to boost the economic vitality of urban areas. The authors account for differences in government and funding structures when outlining useful takeaways for US officials.



Smarter, Stronger Cities:
UK Urban Policy Innovations and Lessons for the US
Chris Webber, Centre for Cities (UK) Alan Berube, Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings

“Despite the clear differences between the UK and the US, there are ample opportunities for policy learning between the two countries on issues of concern to cities and urban areas.”

Executive Summary
A decade of policy innovation in the UK has stimulated population and economic growth in many of its cities and urban areas, helping them outpace the performance of most US counterparts. The combination of active leadership from the UK’s central government on issues like making work pay and reducing poverty, greater flexibilities for cities and regions on issues like regeneration and transportation, and a national “bully pulpit” strongly supportive of urban areas, stands in contrast to the lack of bold, strategic thinking at the US federal level that could unleash the potential of American cities and metropolitan areas. Yet despite the governmental and cultural differences between the two nations, the past several years of US policy “exports” adapted and improved in the UK suggest the potential for enhanced transatlantic exchange. This brief points to several areas in which US federal policymakers might now import lessons from the UK’s efforts to build smarter, stronger cities.

any of the UK’s cities have experienced a renaissance over the past ten years. Largescale investment has transformed city centers in places like Birmingham and Manchester; Sheffield and other former industrial cities have enjoyed strong employment growth; and many cities, such as Bristol and Brighton, have seen steady population growth. The UK’s national government has played an important role in this revival, with more investment and smarter policies. Though disparities remain, cities are now seen as positive economic drivers of, rather than drags on, the national economy. Today, UK policymakers are focused on addressing these disparities by boosting basic skills, increasing housing supply, improving public transportation, and dealing with economic inactivity in disadvantaged groups.1 Some US cities have done better in recent years as well, attracting new jobs, new residents, and new investment. Progress remains elusive in many others, however, and suburbs continue to dominate the growth and development landscape. Variation abounds, and almost no metro area has performed well across a full complement of economic, social, and environmental benchmarks. Yet unlike in the United Kingdom, the national government in the United States has largely failed to play a constructive role in advancing the fortunes of the nation’s major cities and urban areas.2 Behind these comparisons, the UK and US systems of government differ substantially. In the UK, central government collects and distributes around 95 percent of all public funds.3 Historically it has


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Figure 1. Unemployment rates in the UK, US, France, and Germany, 1990–2007

12 France Unemployment rate 10 Germany

8 UK 6 US




1990 1991

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Source: HM Treasury (2008)

taken the lead on all major policies affecting cities, including health, education, crime, transport and economic development. The last 10 years have seen a partial devolution of power to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England’s regions, but central government still holds most of the cards on policy, funding and decision-making. Overall, the UK remains one of the most highly centralized countries in the industrialized world. In the US, by contrast, the federal system limits the national government’s capacity to influence policies and conditions within cities. In many of the policy areas noted above, the US national government takes a back seat to state and local governments in funding and implementation. But there remains considerable scope for Washington to shape the development of US cities through its myriad investments, rules, and information tools. Despite the clear differences between the UK and the US, there are ample opportunities for policy learning between the two countries on issues of concern to cities and urban areas. In recent years, the flow of ideas has mostly gone in one direction. The UK has borrowed and adapted several economic policy innovations developed in the US, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the New Markets Tax Credit, and Business Improvement Districts. Few innovations have traveled in the opposite direction. Building more prosperous cities and metropolitan areas is a central concern of the Blueprint for American Prosperity, an initiative launched by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. The initiative seeks to inform decision-makers at the US federal level about what innovations at the state and local levels, and internationally, can teach the US about efforts to secure greater prosperity through strengthening the performance of metropolitan areas. Given its recent success in revitalizing many of its urban areas, and its efforts to match metropolitan governance structures with functional economic areas, the UK’s experiences in this area offer some useful lessons for US policymakers. This paper explains how a combination of strong leadership, better coordinated funding, and innovative policies have helped to support positive change in the UK’s cities and city-regions over the past 10 years. It then reflects on the implications of several of these UK policies for a US federal policy agenda to achieve robust economic, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable growth in US cities and metro areas.



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Figure 2. Major Population Centers in England, 2006



Population of England (2006)
less than 50,000 50,000 – 100,000 100,000 – 250,000 250,000 – 500,000 500,000 – 1 million 1 million – 3 million 3 million +


Manchester Sheffield





Source: NOMIS

Recent economic performance in the UK and its cities
The UK economy overall has performed relatively well over the past ten years. Growth has been stronger and more stable than for key trade partners, such as France and Germany. Unemployment has also fallen significantly, though it has risen slightly since 2005 (see Figure 1). However, the current slowdown in the international economy, continued financial market turbulence, and uncertainty in the housing market are all likely to curtail growth over the next few years.4 Cities are England’s residential and economic hubs, with 58 percent of people living in recognized cities and 63 percent of people working in them.5 But in England, as in the US, the functional economies of cities tend to stretch far beyond their political boundaries. Nearly 75 percent of England’s population lives in city-regions (metro areas in the US), while nearly 80 percent of people work in them (see Figure 2).6 Though more suburban in its orientation, the US is just as metropolitan a nation as England, with 83 percent of people living in US metro areas, and 85 percent of people working there. As in the US, however, fragmented governance structures across the UK’s wider cityregional areas have led to policy coordination problems that have acted as barriers to effective decision-making.7 The UK’s national growth story has been reflected in the revitalization of its urban areas, with many—but not all—seeing major improvements in their economic performance. London and the South East of England in particular have surged ahead, with the benefits of London’s strong performance (especially in financial services) felt in many of the smaller cities surrounding the capital.8 In the wider South East region, cities like Reading (about half an hour’s train journey to west of the capital) and Brighton (about an hour to the south) have seen strong growth, with employment in both cities up by more than 20 percent since 1995.9 And some large cities in the North of England have also experienced significant improvements, with employment growing strongly in ex-industrial cities like Leeds (15 percent) and Sheffield (25 percent) since 1995.

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Figure 3. Population Trends in Selected UK and US Cities, 2000–2005
UK Cities
Manchester Sheffield Newcastle Liverpool Birmingham

102.0 101.5 Population (2000=100) 101.0 100.5 100.0 99.5 99.0 98.5 98.0







Source: State of the Cities Database

US Cities 102.0
Chicago Pittsburgh Philadelphia Baltimore Detroit

100.0 Population (2000=100) 98.0 96.0 94.0 92.0 90.0 88.0







Source: US Census Bureau Population Estimates Program

Patterns of growth have been uneven in the UK, both between and within cities.10 In particular, many smaller cities in the North have struggled, with places like Bradford and Burnley experiencing employment growth of less than 5 percent since 1995. Meanwhile, even seemingly high-performing cities continue to suffer from serious deprivation. For example, although Manchester is frequently seen as the best example of the UK’s urban renaissance, it is also home to many of the UK’s poorest neighborhoods.11



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Yet the population “rebound” of the UK’s large, older industrial cities in recent years, after decades of decline, has been quite impressive compared to some US counterparts. After steady decreases throughout most of the 1990s, cities such as Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Birmingham have all experienced up-turns in population since the late 1990s. US cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Detroit are largely on better footing now than 15 years ago, but have not experienced the same magnitude of population revitalization as their UK cousins (Figure 3). Moreover, some of these US cities and their wider regions have shed jobs in the 2000s, particularly in the manufacturing sector.12 It bears asking then, what policy choices the UK has made that have contributed to the improved situation of its cities and urban areas. The following discussion highlights six key areas in which the UK central government has implemented policies that have enhanced, through both direct and indirect means, the fortunes of cities.

Using the bully pulpit: Blair, Brown, and Prescott
Until the 1990s, the UK’s major cities received relatively little attention from central government. The industrial decline of the post-war years created serious economic and social problems that were—and mostly still are—deeply entrenched. Central government had not rolled back urban programs to the degree that the US federal government did during the 1980s, but the economic health and performance of UK cities was not considered a top-level political priority.13 Building on the city development efforts initiated by Michael Heseltine under the previous Conservative government, the Labour government made physical regeneration, poverty and economic growth in underperforming areas major policy priorities. The government has placed greater emphasis on promoting regional economic growth, dealing with social disadvantage, and regenerating the physical environment, all of which have fed into a stronger focus on cities and urban areas. • Gordon Brown, first as chancellor and now as prime minister, has promoted policies to boost productivity and enterprise, and to reduce child poverty, issues that have direct implications for UK cities • As prime minister, Tony Blair established the Social Exclusion Unit, which introduced a major focus on stimulating the renewal of deprived inner-city areas, and developed a range of policies aimed at helping socially excluded groups, such as disadvantaged young adults • John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, set up an Urban Task Force of experts to advise the government on the physical aspects of urban renewal; promoted billions of pounds worth of investment in housing, transport and the built environment in distressed (mostly urban) areas; and hosted major national Urban Summits to report on the progress of cities and foster a network of city-builders across the UK The personal commitment of national leaders like Blair, Brown and Prescott to urban areas significantly strengthened the position of cities in public policy. Dealing with issues of poverty and social exclusion in deprived neighborhoods has become more embedded in central, regional and local government policies. Cities are now seen as positive economic drivers of, rather than drags on, the national economy. Progress has been uneven, however. Efforts to promote enterprise in deprived areas have had only marginal impact, with no clear rise in the number of business registrations per head. Although cities have risen up the political agenda, progress on empowering and raising the profile of city leaders has varied significantly. With the exception of the Mayor of London, a post created in 2000, city leaders still have limited power over spending decisions and tend to have a relatively low media profile. As a result, both the Labour government and Conservative opposition are currently considering the merits of a new generation of big-city elected mayors outside of London. Recent years have not seen similar engagement by the US federal government in promoting the health of the nation’s cities. The US cabinet agency with the ostensible goal of strengthening cities and urban areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has shrunk greatly in size and influence over the past decade. Stronger leadership from key decision-makers in Washington on promoting the health and vitality of US cities and metro areas could help them overcome barriers to growth and development, and bolster the national economy in the process.15

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Figure 4. Relative Poverty Rate by Group, UK, 1996-97 to 2005-06
40 Percentage below 60% national median income

35 Children 30 Working-age parents 25




Working-age non-parents








2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06

Source: M. Brewer and others, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2007

Making work pay: Tax credits, minimum wage, and support for the unemployed
Like many other countries, the UK struggles with the interrelated problems of unemployment and poverty, especially child poverty. During the 1980s and 1990s, unemployment and poverty increased significantly.16 By 1996-97, 34 percent of the UK’s children were living in relative poverty, the highest rate in Europe.17 These issues are particularly salient for urban areas, as both unemployment and poverty are heavily concentrated in the UK’s cities. For example, of the 89 most income-deprived local authorities (cities and towns) in England, 87 are located in cities.18 Over the last decade, the Labour Government has made reducing long-term unemployment and poverty key policy objectives, and has introduced an ambitious target to halve child poverty by 2010. The government has introduced a number of welfare and labor market reforms under the banner of “making work pay,” including a national minimum wage, a more comprehensive range of active labor market policies, and a system of in-work tax credits. The UK introduced a national minimum wage in 1999. The independent Low Pay Commission analyzes the impact of the minimum wage and makes an annual recommendation to government on where the rate should be set. The current rate is £5.52 per hour (roughly $11 at current exchange rates), substantially higher than the US federal minimum wage (currently $5.85 per hour). Increases are not required by law, but the rate has been increased every year since its introduction, with increases well above the rate of average earnings growth between 2004 and 2006. As yet, research has detected little or no negative impact on unemployment.19 The idea for in-work tax credits was borrowed from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) system in the US, but there are significant differences between the US and UK models. In the UK, there are two separate credits, a Working Tax Credit and a Child Tax Credit. The UK system is considerably more generous (and more complex) than the EITC, and provides stronger support for low-to-middle income families.20 Moreover, the UK credits are paid on a monthly rather than an annual basis, helping families to meet ongoing expenses during the year. The UK government has also introduced “New Deal” programs to provide tailored advice and support for hard-to-reach unemployed groups, including young people, single parents, and the disabled. Labor market performance in UK metro areas has improved considerably over recent years, and



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this has helped to reduce poverty. Part of this should be attributed to the UK’s economic growth over the past 10 to 15 years, but the government’s policies have played an important distributional role. The minimum wage has increased incentives to work and helped to bring down poverty, ensuring that the lowest income groups have achieved above-average earnings growth.21 New Deal programs have also done quite well; research has shown that the New Deal for Young People increases chances of finding work by 20 percent.22 Tax credits for lowerincome families have also achieved success, with evaluations showing that they have “Over the last decade, helped increase the supply of single parents and childless adults in the labor market by 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively.23 In part as a result, the UK’s overall employment rate the UK government has recovered strongly since the recession of the early 1990s. And although the UK looks has made reducing unlikely to meet its target to halve child poverty by 2010-11, relative poverty has declined significantly since the late 1990s (Figure 4).24 long-term unemployDespite this progress, there remains much to do to fully address unemployment and poverty in the UK and its cities, with low employment rates still a major problem in many ment and poverty key areas. The UK government is now considering giving cities more power to deliver this agenda through more flexible government grants (see section below on “Flexible Fundpolicy objectives.” ing”). Still, central government in the UK has taken a leading role by addressing these problems with national policies, which in turn have redounded to the benefit of cities and their residents. US cities suffer similar, well-known problems of long-term unemployment and poverty. While a majority of America’s metropolitan poor now live in suburbs, poverty rates in central cities remain twice as high as in suburbs. US federal policymakers have shown less willingness to aggressively expand income and employment support for poor and workingpoor families. The EITC was last enlarged significantly in 1993 and remains small for workers without children; the minimum wage was increased in 2007 but was not indexed to inflation, ensuring that its value will erode in future years; and funding to support the hard-to-employ has fallen in real terms in recent years.26 US policymakers would benefit from taking a look at how their own ideas have been adapted and improved in the UK, to provide a more targeted approach to dealing with long-term unemployment and poverty, and ultimately to improve the social and economic health of the cities and metro areas where economically disadvantaged populations reside.

Growing sustainably: Cities and planning
Like the US, the UK has struggled with the growth and development patterns of its cities and regions.27 Improving the planning system and the capacity of city government planners remains a major challenge for UK policymakers, but the approach adopted over the past two decades has helped to contain sprawl and has prevented cities like Birmingham and Leeds from experiencing the sort of massive decentralization evident in cities like Atlanta and Houston. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, successive governments have issued planning statements, which together set out the planning policy framework for the UK. While local planning officials assess specific cases, they receive a strong national policy steer from these planning statements, which have increasingly focused on promoting “smarter growth.” One of the most successful of these statements established a “town center first” development principle, and was issued in 1996 by the Conservatives. This policy aims to limit the number of out-of-town, “big-box” retail developments. Retailers and developers first have to prove that an in-town development is not viable, before they can develop “edge-of-town” or out-of-town sites. Out-of-town sites are seen as the last resort, whereas in the US they remain the norm for new retail developments. The “town center first” principle has been widely acknowledged as a success, and has played an important role in limiting urban sprawl and underpinning the physical regeneration of city centers. Research shows that the policy significantly reduced the number of planning approvals granted to outof-town planning applications, and helped increase the proportion of total retail floor space found in town and city centers from 25 percent in the mid-1990s to 34 percent in 2003-04.28 In a similar vein, the UK government has also increased housing density and brownfield development. The housing density targets stipulate that new housing developments should be at a minimum

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density of between 12 and 20 units per acre, depending on the character of the area in question. On brownfield land development, the government introduced a target to have 60 percent of all new residential developments sited on brownfield land by 2008. The UK has made excellent progress against both of these targets. The brownfield target was met in 1999, and by 2006, 74 percent of new developments were taking place on brownfield land. On the density target, by 2006 new dwellings were being constructed at an average density of 40 units per hectare nationwide, much better than in 2002 when all regions except London were registering density figures of below 30 units per hectare.29 The UK’s planning system is far from perfect, and is still very complex. For example, businesses and policymakers frequently complain that it takes too long to get planning consent, especially for major developments and infrastructure projects. The 2006 Barker Review (see below) recommended numerous changes to the planning system, including the creation of an Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to oversee major projects such as airports and power stations. Across the US, metropolitan jurisdictions continue to employ traditional land-use regulations like zoning and comprehensive planning. However, other tools associated with land-use reforms—such as growth management and infrastructure regulation—are less common. This may reduce affordable housing opportunities, compromise sustainability, and fuel rapid growth in unplanned, low-density, cardependent suburbs. For US states, the English example shows that clear guidelines and targets can be effective in controlling sprawl and shaping development: by prioritizing downtown development; promoting building at higher densities; and insisting that land is recycled more efficiently. National government in the US has less scope to engage directly in planning decisions, but has other significant policy tools at its disposal that shape metropolitan growth, including its investments in transportation, affordable housing, and economic development. It should use these levers to encourage cities and states to adopt “smarter growth” planning principles like those seen in the UK.

Flexible funding: The move to smarter grants
Compared to cities in the US, the UK’s cities have very little financial independence from central government. For every £1 spent by Bristol City Council, for instance, only 25 pence comes from local taxpayers, with the remainder of their budget handed down through central government grants.30 In the US, for every $1 spent by cities, 70 cents comes from local sources, with an average of 5 cents from the federal government and 25 cents from states.31 In both countries, however, grants from the national government have historically come in numerous individual packages, each with its own targets and reporting requirements. Local and regional decision-makers have faced a bewildering array of funding pots that are too complex and inflexible to meet their needs. “Local officials in the To combat the fragmentation of funding in urban regeneration, the UK government has progressively simplified its regeneration funding processes over a number of years. UK receive a strong Instead of having numerous departments make separate, uncoordinated investments, central government has recently taken steps to pool some grant funding and started to national policy steer delegate greater spending decisions to cities and regions. Regeneration financing has become more responsive to local needs, and helped cities lever in additional funding from from planning stateother public, private and European Union (EU) sources.32 ments, which have One of the first examples of this smarter approach to funding was the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB), which was established in 1995 and ran until 2007. Over this period, the increasingly focused SRB channeled more than £5.7 billion of public money into regeneration schemes, and leveraged in an additional £18 billion from other public, private and EU sources. on promoting ‘smarter SRB funding was relatively small-scale, but it was an important first step towards the simplification of central government funding for cities. It combined 20 funding streams growth.’ ” from several government departments to target issues like skills, business growth, community safety, and public space improvements. In Greater Manchester, SRB investments helped to revive rundown residential areas, and played a key role in regenerating the Eastside area of the city in preparation for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.33 In Sheffield, SRB money was used extensively in the revitalization of the city center, both as a means of direct investment in the physical environment and as a tool for leveraging other public and EU monies.34



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Figure 5. Commuters Entering Central London by Bus and Car During Morning Peak (7 am to 10 am), 1991-2006
180 160 Thousands of commuters 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Commuters travelling by car Commuters travelling by bus


1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Source: Transport for London

The process of funding simplification has now evolved further. Local Area Agreements (LAAs) were introduced in England in 2006, and all principal local authorities now receive funding via this channel. By 2010–11, approximately £5 billion in grant funding per year will be channeled through these arrangements.35 LAA funds are drawn from numerous government departments, including education, health, transport, and local government.36 The UK government is now introducing Multi-Area Agreements (MAAs) in England. These will allow groups of local authorities in city-regions to pool funding and decision-making powers in key policy areas, such as transport and skills, and improve the efficiency of their strategic decision-making and spending across functional economic areas. This could help to overcome some of the policy coordination problems that have held back growth in England’s urban areas. The UK’s experience suggests that pooling and simplifying central government grant funding can give metro-level actors the flexibility needed to use investment more effectively. The US might consider how its funding for physical and economic development could better empower metro-level decision-makers to deliver improved outcomes across related policy areas.

Combating congestion: Road pricing
Like many other major cities, London suffers from serious traffic congestion. In order to combat congestion, and to raise money for investment in public transportation, London’s former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, introduced the Congestion Charge in 2003 amid widespread skepticism. The charge was implemented with reluctant support from central government, which paid the set-up costs for the system, and increased bus subsidies to give Londoners more transportation options ahead of the charge’s introduction. The charge is part of a wider transport strategy with economic, social, and environmental objectives.37 Currently, the Congestion Charge requires motorists to pay a levy when entering the Central/Western London area between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays. The most recent figures show that the scheme generates £213 million per year in revenue, with £90 million going to administration and the remainder invested in public transportation, especially the bus network.38 Recent research by Transport for London shows that the number of commuters entering central London by car during the

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morning peak has fallen by 35 percent since 2002, while the number entering by bus has increased by 24 percent (Figure 5).39 The distribution of the economic costs and benefits of the Congestion Charge is complex, but the most recent assessment finds that the scheme has created a small net benefit for the London economy.40 A few other UK cities are now exploring the idea of introducing some form of road pricing. Greater Manchester and Cambridge have progressed the furthest; both cities are considering schemes which charge for the use of main roads into the city at peak travel times. There are many different models of road pricing in cities, and there is a debate to be had about how London’s charge might be further reformed to increase the benefit it brings to the economy. Many of the largest cities and metro areas in the US suffer from chronic traffic congestion.41 To date, five urban areas (Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle) have entered into partnerships with the federal government to explore congestion pricing; New York’s state assembly has, however, blocked Mayor Bloomberg’s plans for the city of New York, and some of its funding has been redirected to Chicago.42 These and other US cities might learn from London’s experience when setting out their objectives, particularly with regard to increased investment in transit, and making a case for federal government support.

National policy reviews: Developing an evidence base
One of the defining characteristics of the Labour government has been its emphasis on evidencebased policy. Gordon Brown has been the driving force behind the government’s use of large-scale, independent policy reviews, commissioning about 30 of them during his time as chancellor. These reviews have usually been in step with government thinking, and have been a useful way of accelerating policy development. They have been led by respected business leaders, academics or other high-profile public figures, giving them focus and momentum. They have also been staffed by cross-departmental teams of civil servants and experts, usually based inside the Treasury, helping them to avoid getting bogged down in inter-departmental inertia. Several major reviews have reported over the past two years and have helped to shape UK urban policy: • Eddington Transport Study (2006)43 Sir Rod Eddington, former Chief Executive of British Airways, led this report which emphasized the improvements that could be made through smart transportation investments at key urban “pinch points” rather than in expensive, large-scale projects such as high speed rail links • Leitch Review of Skills (2006)44 Lord Sandy Leitch, a high-profile businessman who has been heavily involved in national skills debates, focused his review on the need for local, city and regional decision-makers to address their basic and intermediate skills shortages by making skills provision more demand-led • Barker Review of Land-Use Planning (2006)45 Kate Barker, former Chief Economist for the Confederation of British Industry and member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, led this review which looked at how the UK’s planning system could be improved by making it more efficient and responsive • Lyons Inquiry on Local Government (2007)46 Sir Michael Lyons, a former Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, and now Chairman of the BBC Trust, led an inquiry which examined how local and city-regional financing and governance systems could foster better public services and infrastructure • Sub-National Review of Economic Development (2007)47 Treasury’s review reported on how different levels of government—local authorities, regional agencies and central government—could deliver stronger economic growth in cities and regions around the UK These reviews and others were further supported by an extensive series of in-depth economic reports issued by the Treasury under Chancellor Gordon Brown’s leadership, including examinations of the role of the UK in the global economy, skills needs in the UK workforce, and the importance of cityregions to UK economic growth. All fed into the government’s wider 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, the government’s budgetary template for the period from 2008 to 2011.48 The reviews have played an important role in analyzing challenges, evaluating options for change and informing discus-



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sions about spending and public service reform. Importantly, they have also helped to reshape the relationship between Whitehall and the regions, adopting a stronger metro/city-regional focus on transportation and skills, for example. Given the scale of challenges facing US cities and regions on a wide range of issues, the US could gain from a similar series of independent, evidence-based policy reviews to drive forward reforms in the next presidential administration and Congress.

Implications for the United States
After a decade or more in which transatlantic policy transfer has largely moved west-to-east, now is an opportune time for the United States to learn from the policy experiences of the United Kingdom. This brief suggests multiple ways in which UK efforts to build stronger city-regions might guide a US federal policy framework for maximizing the performance of its metropolitan areas.

Using the bully pulpit
It is still unclear whether the upcoming US presidential and Congressional elections will yield vocal champions for cities and metropolitan areas like Blair, Brown, and Prescott in “All US communities the UK. Though 83 percent of Americans live in cities and suburbs that contribute an even greater share of the nation’s economic output, the small-town/rural idyll in American poliand their residents tics and governance still holds great sway, and “urban policy” most often implies narrow strategies to help impoverished inner-city communities. would benefit from a Yet all US communities and their residents would benefit from a smarter “metropolitan policy.” That does not mean pouring or redirecting massive new resources into our cities. smarter ‘metropolitan Rather, it entails investing wisely in the assets that drive our economy forward and help ensure we grow in more inclusive and sustainable ways: innovation, human capital, infrapolicy.’ ” structure, and quality places.49 Because US metropolitan areas gather the bulk of these assets, they have much to gain from a new partnership in which the federal government leads on issues of national importance like immigration, climate change, and critical infrastructure; and empowers city-regions to tackle their own specific challenges in areas such as education, cluster-led economic development, and affordable housing. In that sense, a new Administration and Congress in 2009 focused on enhancing the fundamental drivers of American prosperity would not necessarily look like the UK’s urban champions, but their actions could yield similar benefits for urban places.

Making work pay
The UK’s policies to enhance incomes for low-wage workers effectively imported elements of, and then improved upon, US policy innovations like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and welfare reform. Today, a low-income working parent with two children could earn more than three times as much via the Working and Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit in the UK as a comparable parent would in the US via the EITC and Child Tax Credit.50 If America hopes to achieve progress similar to the UK in reducing childhood poverty or engaging a larger share of its adults in the labor market, it should follow that nation’s lead in boosting supports for low-income workers.51 For instance, the federal government could expand the EITC to reach more childless workers, relieve the “marriage penalty” on dual-earner low-income couples, and provide additional assistance to low-income workers with three or more children. It could also deliver the credit on a periodic basis, as the UK does, to more workers in order to help them meet the day-to-day, week-toweek costs of raising a family. Such changes would have direct benefits for major US city-regions, where about 60 percent of EITC recipients live today.52

Growing sustainably
The United Kingdom has moved aggressively to address sustainability challenges through housing, land use, and transportation policies. As the world’s largest per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide, the United States must respond to the challenges of climate change in a much more serious way than it has to date. Certainly, pricing carbon to reflect its full range of economic and environmental costs, through a nationwide tax on emissions or a cap-and-trade system, could go a long way toward re-orienting development in support of quality, sustainable places.

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America could also borrow from the UK’s recent moves to favor denser development in existing places as a mechanism for reducing its own carbon footprint. The sort of centralized density and brownfield targets and “town center first” rules employed in the UK have little chance of being adopted at the national level in the United States, where land-use planning is much more localized. Yet the federal government could use its considerable leverage to put transit and highway investments on a level playing field, to bend housing growth toward corridors served by transit, and to require housing planning to be “joined up” with transportation planning at the metropolitan scale. The United States should also, as the UK has, embrace transportation pricing and related market mechanisms to achieve sustainable growth goals, and enhance economic efficiency. The US federal government has begun to stimulate these schemes in a handful of metropolitan areas through the Urban Partnership Congestion Initiative (though it unfortunately used existing federal transit funds to help pay for the initiative). Based on positive experience abroad, the next Administration and Congress should lay out a bold, flexible policy for metropolitan road pricing that includes a range of strategies, permitting US city-regions to experiment with the best mix of pricing tools for their areas.53

Funding Flexibly
The UK’s success with the Single Regeneration Budget has helped pave the way for further simplification of central government funding for its city-regions. Yet in areas such as economic development, workforce development, housing, and transportation, US federal policies, rules, and stances remain rigidly “stovepiped” despite the fast-paced, integrated nature of our metropolitan economies.54 “The United States US federal policy must do more to empower metropolitan decision makers to resolve their own specific challenges, backed by clear outcome-based targets to ensure that flexishould, as the United bility and accountability go hand in hand. In the transportation realm, for instance, a significantly greater share of federal dollars should be delivered directly to Metropolitan Kingdom has, embrace Planning Organizations (MPOs), in recognition of the economic primacy of metro areas and growing analytical capacity of MPOs. This increased spending authority should also be transportation pricing accompanied by increased measurement and accountability for how funds are spent with an eye toward growing the analytical capacity of MPOs. and related market Rather than funding highways and transit through separate programs, governed by different laws and regulations, federal transportation policy should become “modally mechanisms to achieve agnostic,” enabling metro areas to meet their goals and address their challenges via the best means available, rather than being constrained by rules governing particular modes sustainable growth (e.g., highway, transit, bike/pedestrian, air). And transportation, housing, and land-use be joined up through a new set goals, and enhance eco- shouldintended to stimulate integratedof federally funded Sustainability Challenge Contracts approaches to metropolitan development and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.55

nomic efficiency.”

Using independent analysis strategically
The United States has an impressive history of independent, bi-partisan Presidential and Congressional Commissions that have conducted serious analyses and made recommendations for reform; the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9-11 Commission) was the most recent and notable of these. Several others have reported out in recent years on issues of great economic importance to our metro areas and their residents, such as tax reform, higher education, affordable housing, and transportation.56 Unfortunately, lawmakers have failed to adopt many of the sensible recommendations laid out by these commissions for several reasons, including (but not limited to) excessive partisanship, the influence of special interests, and party (as well as philosophical) divisions between the White House and Congress. Independent reviews in the UK have successfully accelerated policy reform due in no small part to the nation’s parliamentary form of government; the US system, by its very nature, poses many more roadblocks. One part of the answer may lie in insulating the recommendations of certain government commissions and independent bodies from the inertia and political challenges of the Washington policy process. The US model often cited is that of BRAC, the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Com-



BROOKINGS | June 2008

mission, the recommendations of which become law unless they are explicitly rejected by Congress. Such a model could usefully be applied to the selection of federal transportation investments in key corridors and gateways of national travel and international trade. A permanent, independent Strategic Transportation Investments Commission would identify, describe, and map specific priority projects with Congress having the right to vote up or down on the map, without amendment.57 The Education Department might adopt a similar approach to stimulate true innovation in elementary and secondary education, using independent reviews to recom“The mend investment opportunities free of the politics that have guided such spending in the past.58

UK provides a

model of what a vigorous commitment by national government to the health and vitality of urban areas can achieve not only for those places, but also for the country as a whole.”

en years of active policy fermentation across the Atlantic have helped yield better outcomes for the UK’s major cities and their residents. The UK provides a model of what a vigorous commitment by national government to the health and vitality of urban areas can achieve not only for those places, but also for the country as a whole. Despite differences in its system of government and in its cultural view of cities, the US is as metropolitan a nation as UK, and a great deal of policy innovation has traveled from the US to the UK in recent decades. In view of the successes achieved by UK cities, the continuing efforts its government is making to raise their performance nationwide, and the challenges that continue to face many US cities, now is an opportune time to reverse the flow. The UK’s experiences usefully inform efforts to build stronger American cities and metropolitan areas through smart policy reforms.


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1. 2. Centre for Cities , Cities Outlook 2008 (London: Centre for Cities). M. Muro, “MetroPolicy: Shaping a New Federal Partnership for a MetroNation” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2008). HM Treasury , Budget 2008 (London: HMSO, 2008). The UK government has revised downwards economic growth forecasts for the UK, to 1.75 to 2.25 percent in 2008, 2.25 to 2.75 percent in 2009, and returning to 2.5 to 3 percent in 2010. Most independent forecasts have even lower projections. HM Treasury, Budget 2008. Department for Communities and Local Government, State of the English Cities Database (London: DCLG, 2007). Cities are defined as Primary Urban Areas with populations of 125,000 or greater, which are based on the physical extent of cities rather than on local authority boundaries. In that sense, they are more comparable to urban areas in the United States than to the political units that Americans refer to as “cities.” Data are reported here for English cities, as similar data are less available for cities in Scotland and Wales. DCLG, State of the English Cities Database. HM Treasury, Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration (London, 2007). P. Lucci and P. Hildreth, City Links: Integration and Isolation (London: Centre for Cities, 2008). DCLG, State of the English Cities Database. Centre for Cities, Cities Outlook 2008. Department for Communities and Local Government, Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 (London: DCLG, 2007). H. Wial and A. Friedhoff, “Bearing the Brunt: Manufacturing Job Losses in the Great Lakes Region, 1995–2005” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2006). On US federal policies towards cities during the 1980s, see B. Wallin, “Budgeting for Basics: The Changing Landscape of City Finances” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2005). Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, State of the English Cities (London: ODPM, 2006). A. Berube, “MetroNation: How US Metropolitan Areas Fuel American Prosperity” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2007). M. Brewer and others, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2007 (London: Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2007). Relative poverty is measured as the proportion of people in households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the national median. Drawn from the “income scale” used in England’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. This uses a composite of incomerelated measures to assess income deprivation. DCLG, Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007. D. Metcalf, “Why Has the British National Minimum Wage Had Little or No Impact on Employment?” (London: LSE, 2007). R. Blundell, “Earned Income Tax Credit Policies: Impact and Optimality” (London: The Adam Smith Lecture, 2005).


Low Pay Commission, March 2008: National Minimum Wage. Low Pay Commission Report 2008 (London: Low Pay Commission, 2008). Department for Work & Pensions, Findings from the Macro Evaluation of the New Deal for Young People (London: DWP, 2002); National Audit Office, The New Deal for Young People (London: NAO, 2002); R. Riley and G. Young, New Deal for Young People: Implications for Employment and the Public Finances (London: National Institute for Economic and Social Research, 2000). Research suggests that the New Deal has been somewhat less effective in cities than elsewhere, however. Based on an evaluation of the Working Families Tax Credit, the precursor to the Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. M. Brewer and others, Did Working Families’ Tax Credit work? The Final Evaluation of the Impact of InWork Support on Parents’ Labour Supply and Take-Up Behaviour in the UK (London: HM Customs and Revenue, 2005); I. Mulheirn and M. Pisani, Working Tax Credit and Labour Supply (London: HM Treasury, 2008). M. Brewer and others, Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2007. A. Berube and E. Kneebone, “Two Steps Back: City and Suburban Poverty Trends, 1999–2005” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2006). For instance, Blank and Kovak find that the US has decreased support for non-working, non-disabled individuals over the past 15 years. R. Blank and B. Kovak, “The Growing Problem of Disconnected Single Mothers.” National Poverty Center Working Paper #07-28 (University of Michigan, 2007). B. Katz, “Smart Growth: The Future of the American Metropolis?” (London: LSE, 2002). K. Barker, Barker Review of Land Use Planning: Final Report (London: HM Treasury, 2006). Department for Communities and Local Government, Land Use Change in England: Residential Development to 2006 (London: DCLG, 2007). P. Bolton and E. Wood, Local Government Finance in England: Replacing the Standard Spending Assessment (London: House of Commons, 2002). Wallin, “Budgeting for Basics.” Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, Lessons and Evaluation Evidence from Ten Single Regeneration Budget Case Studies: Mid-Term Report (London: DTLR, 2002). K. Barnsley, Integrating and Sustaining Communities: Salford’s SRB 5 Final Programme Evaluation (Manchester: Quaternion, 2007). Ecotec, Mid-Term Evaluation of the Sheffield SRB 5/6 Programme (Birmingham: Ecotec, 2004). Communities and Local Government, Area-Based Grant: General Guidance 2008 (London: CLG, 2008); National Audit Office, Local Area Agreements and the Third Sector: Public Service Delivery (London: NAO, 2007). Communities and Local Government, Area-Based Grant. Mayor of London, The Mayor’s Transport Strategy (London: GLA, 2001). Transport for London, Central London Congestion Charging: 5th Annual Impacts Report (London: Transport for London, 2007).


3. 4.



24. 25.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.


27. 28. 29.




14. 15.

31. 32.

16. 17.


34. 35.



36. 37. 38.




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39. 40.

Transport for London, London Travel Report 2007 (London: Transport for London, 2007). R. Evans, Central London Congestion Charging Scheme: Ex-Post Evaluation of the Qualified Impacts of the Original Scheme (London: Transport for London, 2007). Texas Transportation Institute, 2007 Annual Urban Mobility Report (College Station, TX: TTI, 2007). J. 8. Lee, “Chicago Gets New York’s Congestion Money.” The New York Times, April 29, 2008. R. Eddington, The Eddington Transport Study (London: Department for Transport, 2007). S. Leitch, Prosperity for all in the global economy: World class skills, Final Report, Leitch Review of Skills (London: HM Treasury, 2006). K. Barker, Barker Review of Land Use Planning. M. Lyons, Place-Shaping: A Shared Ambition for the Future of Local Government: Lyons Inquiry into Local Government Final Report (London: HM Treasury, 2007). HM Treasury, Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration (London: HM Treasury, 2007). HM Treasury, Meeting the aspirations of the British people: 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review (London: HM Treasury, 2007). Such an agenda is described in further detail in M. Muro, “MetroPolicy.” S. Holt, “Periodic Payment of the Earned Income Tax Credit” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2008). Expanding the EITC is a signature recommendation of the Center for American Progress’ Task Force on Poverty, which calls for a strategy to cut US poverty in half in 10 years. M. Greenberg, I. Dutta-Gupta, and E. Minoff, “From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2007). See A. Berube, D. Park, and E. Kneebone, “Metro Raise: Boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit to Help Metropolitan Workers and Families” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2008). M. A. Brown, F. Southworth, and A. Sarzynski, “Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2008). Muro, “MetroPolicy.” R. Puentes, “A Bridge to Somewhere: Rethinking American Transportation for the 21st Century” (Washington: Brookings Institution, 2008). President’s Advisory Panel on Tax Reform, “Simple, Fair, and Pro-Growth: Proposals to Fix America’s Tax System” (2005); The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, “A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of US Higher Education” (2006); Millennial Housing Commission, “Meeting Our Nation’s Housing Challenges” (2002); National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, “Transportation for Tomorrow: Report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission” (2008). Puentes, “A Bridge to Somewhere.” A. Rotherham and S. Mead, “Changing the Game: A Federal Role in Supporting 21st Century Education Innovation” (Washington: Brookings Institution, forthcoming).

41. 42. 43. 44.

45. 46.

47. 48.

49. 50. 51.



54. 55.


57. 58.

The authors thank Dermot Finch, Adam Marshall, Mark Muro, Jennifer Vey, and Julie Wagner for their helpful comments and guidance on drafts of this report.

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For More Information
Chris Webber, Analyst Centre for Cities Alan Berube, Fellow and Research Director Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program

For General Information
Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program 202.797.4139 Centre for Cities +44.(0)20.7803.4300


1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington D.C. 20036-2188 telephone 202.797.6000 fax 202.797.6004 web site

telephone 202.797.6139 fax 202.797.2965 web site


The Manchester Unitary Development Plan From the website of City Council of Manchester Adopted in 1995, the Manchester Unitary Development Plan (UDP) constitutes the land use and planning framework for all development in Manchester. A replacement document, called the Local Development Framework, is currently being formulated for adoption. The excerpts enclosed here include introductory language as well as a section addressing plan implementation with a focus on the role of the City Council vis a vis public-private partnerships and other agencies in addressing issues of land use, housing, and public transportation.


The Manchester Plan was adopted on 21st July 1995 following an extensive period of public consultation and a major public inquiry. The process of producing the Plan has enabled a large number of individuals and organisations to have a say in the future of the city and the Plan that has emerged is all the better for this. I am grateful to all those people who have taken the trouble to help shape the Plan's proposals. The Council is committed to keeping the Plan up to date without throwing away the virtues of having a settled and well-understood planning framework for the city. Changes will therefore only be promoted where there is a clear need to do so. The Council has already indicated that it wishes to review the policies for the city centre and for the airport. Generally the approach will be to monitor the changes occurring in the city to see whether the Plan needs to be modified. If alterations are necessary, there will be full consultation with all people who are affected. The Plan has been published in a loose-leaf format to enable such changes to be made without having to reprint the whole document. The Plan will be important in shaping the future of the city. It will act as a context for the investment decisions of both public and private bodies and it will provide the framework for day-to-day decisions affecting development throughout Manchester. We are entering into an exciting period where city living is becoming more desirable. There are tremendous opportunities to provide new housing in Manchester particularly through the conversion of buildings such as warehouses in the city centre as well as encouraging residential development on many of the sites coming forward in the city every year for redevelopment. This will mean that people can live closer to where they work and closer to shops and leisure facilities and thus reduce the need to travel. In order for all of this to be successful it must be accompanied by widespread measures aimed at making the city an attractive place in which to live. The city centre, besides being a place where people again wish to reside, is becoming increasingly popular as a regional centre for business and shopping and also for tourism and a wide variety of leisure activities. The growth of commercial banking and financial and professional services, the refurbishment of the main shopping areas and the construction of the new concert hall and the 20,000 seater arena illustrate this. The recent Olympic bids and the nomination to host the Commonwealth Games in 2002 have helped the city once again to be a player on the world stage. The aim is to make Manchester a truly European regional capital, an international city of outstanding commercial, cultural and creative potential and an area distinguished by the quality of life and sense of well being enjoyed by its residents. There is much to do to achieve this vision. The Manchester Plan plays an important part in setting the agenda. COUNCILLOR KEN FRANKLIN CHAIR - ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING COMMITTEE MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL July 1995


CONTEXT Manchester, with its population of 450,000 and its 300,000 jobs, lies at the heart of one of Europe's major conurbations. Over 6 million people live within 30 miles of the City Centre. The City is the main administrative, commercial and cultural centre in the north of England. Because of its history and its continuing international role, Manchester is known world-wide. Manchester Airport ranks amongst the world's major airports. Many aspects of the City's daily life in the fields of learning, entertainment, sport and the media carry Manchester's name throughout the world and this international reputation has been further enhanced by the Olympic and Commonwealth Games Bids. All of this provides something very substantial on which to build. But a Plan for Manchester must above all relate to the needs of the people who live and work in the City. Many of these people have only a limited interest in its regional and international role. Indeed many of them experience the problems of noise and congestion that are generated by the level of activity that currently takes place in the City. It is also a quirk of administrative boundaries that many of the people who look to it for work and prosperity live outside the City and that many of the poorest areas in the conurbation lie cheek by jowl with the City Centre, but have relatively few links with it. Any Plan must also recognise that great cities like Manchester do not change overnight. They are the product of many changes, some big, some small, promoted by decisions made by large numbers of different people. Together, over time, these changes can and indeed do change the City, but it can take many years for their effect to become evident. Often changes are the unanticipated consequences of decisions taken in various walks of life, and indeed in other parts of the world, without reference to their potential impact on Manchester. The reality is that the management of change in a City like Manchester is not something that can be achieved by writing it down in a plan which can then simply be implemented. The majority of the decisions which will shape the future will not be taken by the Council. For the most part they will be taken by ordinary people - is Manchester the place they want to live, to bring up and educate their children, can they and their children find work, are they able to enjoy a healthy and prosperous life? What the Manchester Plan can do is to provide a vision for the City and a policy framework which can influence this multiplicity of decisions for the good of the City as a whole and its citizens. Thus the Plan must aim to make Manchester a City in which people are proud to live. It must be relevant to the needs of disadvantaged and oppressed groups of all kinds. It must seek to create conditions which will be attractive not only to people who want to Live in the City but also to those who have to be persuaded to invest, to provide jobs, services and facilities. The Plan must seek to guide and encourage change. It must take into account the needs of people who already live here. It must look to improve their quality of life and, in an era where environmental concerns are coming increasingly to the fore, it must seek to ensure the environment that is handed on to future generations is better than that inherited from the past. It must give expression to the Government's stated intention to work towards ensuring that development and growth are sustainable. With all of this in mind the Council has set down a number of objectives to provide the basis for the Plan.


Improve the housing stock and housing environment. Maintain the City's high quality residential areas as places where people wish to remain. Foster the cleanest City in the region. Improve public transport in all its forms as part of a transportation system which is better balanced between public and private transport than at present. Upgrade the appearance of all radial routes (road, rail and waterway) such that they become attractive and welcoming. Establish a strategic network of green routes based upon river valleys, canals and parks for pedestrians and cyclists. Protect and enhance Manchester's Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian architectural and historic heritage. Promote a safer environment for all, but especially for women and children. Improve and add to the City's stock of sporting and recreational facilities, both to enhance the quality of life and to support the City's international reputation. Make Manchester accessible to everyone, with special emphasis on mobility-impaired people. Encourage community involvement in the development process and in the improvement of the environment. Improve the City Centre environment for the large numbers of pedestrians that use it daily. Make appropriate provision for waste disposal and minerals extraction. II. REVITALISING THE LOCAL ECONOMY Help existing businesses to adapt their physical requirements to meet economic and technological changes. Maximise the opportunities for employment generation consistent with the need to protect residential and environmental amenity. Positively use the City Council's landholdings to achieve development partnerships with the private sector and Central Government especially in the designated Inner Area, and with the Central Manchester Development Corporation within their area of operation. Exploit fully the economic potential of the Airport to the benefit of Manchester residents. Build upon and reinforce the economic and cultural role of the Regional Centre. Foster the development of the City's vibrant youth culture, emphasising as part of this the role of the City's higher education institutions. Encourage the redevelopment of the City's older industrial and warehousing areas as their economic functions change. Accommodate changing customer retail demands whilst at the same time reinforcing and enhancing existing established District Centres.


The Manchester Plan is intended to provide a framework for the process of development in Manchester over the next 10-15 years. Much of that change will not be initiated by the Council and the Plan will provide the mechanism through which the Council will manage the process of change through the development control system. The Plan also provides a framework for action by the Council. Together with Central Government and the Central Manchester Development Corporation, the Council will play an important role in providing the financial backing to implement many of the Plan's policies. However, by far the greatest share of the resources will come from the private sector. The Council anticipates that the private sector will invest in the future of the City in a number of ways. Firstly, people who live in the city will wish to improve their homes and the surrounding environment. Secondly, the City's businesses will invest to improve their competitiveness and generate more wealth. Thirdly, it is expected that new businesses will invest substantial resources within the City. The Plan seeks to encourage such investment and to guide the City's development into the next century. The Council will also influence the process of change through the management of the services it provides - education, housing, leisure, highways and environmental maintenance, and investment in the transport system. Inevitably, the effectiveness of the Council in relation to all of this will to a large extent depend on the resources that are available. The planning of these services is an integral part of the Council's plans such as the annual Transport Policies and Programme (TPP) and the Housing Investment Programme (HIP). The Manchester Plan will provide the context for the preparation of these corporate programmes. In order to achieve this the Manchester Plan provides guidance to enable decisions to be made in the short term but allows for changing circumstances. Some elements of the plan, for example, the level of provision for new housing, are governed by Strategic Guidance set out by the Secretary of State for the Environment and indeed, the Secretary of State can at any time issue new guidance and request the Council to revise the Plan. In addition the Council has the power to publish modifications to the Plan if, in the light of changing circumstances, it considers such change to be necessary. In order to ensure that the Plan continues to be relevant and as part of bringing together the work of the Council in its various roles, it is intended that the Council will produce an annual monitoring statement. The objectives of this will be to:provide an opportunity for a regular overview of the development pressures within the City in order to establish whether the Plan is responding effectively; provide an opportunity to review the Council's development control policy framework; provide an opportunity for the Council to review its achievements and objectives in relation to its own provision of services as part of its annual budgetary process and bids for resources from Central Government; provide an opportunity for the City Council to influence the actions of the other agencies, in both the public and private sector which will play an important role in the implementation of the plan. In terms of the statutory planning process, this will involve working closely both with neighbouring planning authorities (whose decisions can have important implications for the City) and also with the Central Manchester Development Corporation. Other agencies will have to play equally important roles if the objectives of the Plan are to be achieved. The Housing Corporation will control the ability of the many Housing Associations


currently at work within the City to complement the actions of the Council in meeting housing needs. Decisions taken by the Health Authorities will have major implications not only in relation to the provision of health services but also in relation to the availability of jobs and the demand for land. Critical to the successful implementation of the Plan will be the provision of a modern and efficient transport system which reflects the social, environmental and economic needs of Manchester. In this respect the Council will work closely both with neighbouring authorities and with the many other agencies that influence transport provision. In transport planning, perhaps more than in any other respect, the actual implementation of the Manchester Plan depends critically on action taken by other agencies. The public transport provision in the City is largely determined by the decisions of commercial bus operators who dictate the basic structure of the bus network. The amount of expenditure on filling in gaps in the commercial network, the provision of local rail services and the availability of concessionary fares is in the hands of the Greater Manchester PTA, which is controlled and funded by all ten Greater Manchester district councils. Expenditure on the local road network is the responsibility of the Council, albeit tightly controlled by the Department of Transport through the annual budgetary process. The demands placed on the road network and the way in which the Council is able to respond is influenced by the policies followed by neighbouring authorities and also by the effect of the investment programmes brought forward for the strategic trunk road network by the Department of Transport. Against this background, the remainder of this section will deal in more depth with implementation, outlining the role the Council expects to play and how, in a variety of ways, it will seek to influence others. All this is set against the broad and aims and objectives of the plan.

The two key aspects of the Council's role as planning authority are in relation to the management of the development control process and the implementation of the Environmental Improvement Programme. Development Control The Council currently receives about 2,500 development applications each year. Many of these are relatively minor, for things such as home extensions, new shop fronts or advertisements. Although each can have a significant effect on the local environment and hence on achieving the broad objective of making the City a better place to live, they rarely raise major policy issues. In relation to more complicated proposals, the Manchester Plan provides the statutory land-use planning framework for the management of the land use planning process in the City. It does not seek to answer all future questions relating to the development of land and the use of buildings within the City. As part of the day to day management of the development control process, the Council has, over the years, developed a series of policies relating to the design and location of different types of activity. Whilst the Manchester Plan seeks to give statutory backing to a broad framework for the use of land and to those detailed development control policies set out in Part 2, it does not seek to enshrine within the statutory framework the detail of all Council policies in relation to development control. To do this would be to build a level of inflexibility into Plan which, rather than encouraging and stimulating the positive processes of change, would tend to discourage the variety which is essential if the local character of different parts of the city is to be retained and enhanced. To guide this process and to complement the framework provided by this Plan, the Council is developing a series of guidance notes which will be published and approved by Council after consultation for use in the management of the development control process. Should it become desirable to incorporate these policies into the statutory plan this will be done as part of the annual monitoring process.


In parallel with this, and particularly in relation to more significant proposals and/or when the Council has a direct involvement in a development proposal because of its ownership of land, the Council will seek to manage the process of change to secure the greatest possible community benefit from the new development. Community Benefit Community Benefit, referred to in some quarters as "Planning Gain", concerns a planning authority's ability to seek to enter a planning obligation by agreement with the applicant(s), where this is necessary to the granting of permission, relevant to planning and relevant to the development. The Council is committed to improving the quality of life for all Manchester residents, especially the disadvantaged. As part of this commitment the Plan will seek to ensure, where appropriate, that development activities contribute to the enhancement of community interests by using powers provided by section 106 of the Town and Planning Act 1990 as substituted by section 12(1) of the 1991 Planning and Compensation Act, to seek enforceable planning obligations with the sole intention of enabling the wider community to share the benefits arising from the development activity. The Council may also recourse to alternative powers available for this purpose, for example, section 278 of the 1980 Highways Act. The Council, in seeking to enter planning obligations aims to secure economy, efficiency and amenity in the development and use of land and will have recourse to the advice/guidance set out in Circular 16/91. The Environmental Improvement Programme The Plan sets out the broad intentions of the Council in respect of the improvement of the City's environment. In effect, it sets the agenda for the 1990s. There is a tremendous amount to be done and it is clear that this will require a rolling programme over many years. This is not a static thing. The need for environmental improvements can arise from many sources (for example, the degradation of a particular site, or a decision to undertake environmental works to complement a development initiative or the recognition of the ecological value of a particular site) and thus sites will constantly be added to programmes as well as deleted from them with the completion of schemes. The annual monitoring process for the Plan as a whole, and annual resource bidding processes, provide opportunities to take stock of these matters. Resource bidding processes are in many ways the keys to success. In terms of public investment, both Government programmes and the own capital resources have a part to play, and the mix between these elements is ever changing as local and national expenditure decisions are made. To give an idea of the scale of this, the preparation pool of schemes in these categories amounted at any one time to a total of about £10 millions at late 1980s' prices, with annual expenditure at roughly a third of this. At constant prices, the need for environmental improvement activity in Manchester over the next few years will not be Less than this, although whether this can be achieved depends upon resource availability. The intention remains, however, to see this as a rolling programme which is adjusted regularly as resources dictate. The Council also wishes to develop its programmes of community involvement in environmental improvement, both in terms of consultation and providing direct opportunities for community groups to implement their own schemes. The involvement of schools is especially important. The content of schemes is obviously critical to their success, and the Council will wish to ensure that schemes are attractive, usable, safe, accessible to all, consistent with good ecological practices, and capable of being adequately maintained. None of this, of course, is a substitute for the process of continuing to secure environmental improvements through the management of development and redevelopment schemes. Public environmental programmes should be seen as complementary to and as supportive of such development activity, rather than in any sense removing responsibilities from developers to contribute through their activities to the constant process of improving the appearance and the


functioning of the City. In this regard the policies set out in the Plan should be seen as a guide not only to the Council's environmental improvement programmes but also those other public and private agencies who can contribute in this field, such as North West Water (the biggest environmental organisation in the region, investing £500 million/year in improvements). The importance of water quality is fundamental to the Council's aim of improving the river valleys and promoting their use for recreational activities.

The Council provides housing directly in its role as a builder and landlord of public sector housing, and also has a role in determining where further development will take place in the City. Improvements in the quality of the private sector stock is encouraged by the provision of grants. The Council also works with other agencies such as housing associations to enable them to provide maximum housing choice. Funding for housing comes from a variety of sources. The major source of funding is from the Housing Investment Programme (HIP) system. Each year the City Council draws up an HIP bid which sets out what finance is needed for council housing and other housing projects. On the basis of this bid the Department of the Environment allocates resources and sets a limit on the amount the Council can spend. Funding for housing is also available through Estate Action and the newly introduced Renewal Area scheme, which is aimed at regenerating areas of private housing. More specific initiatives such as D.I.C.E. (Design Controlled Experiments) provide further funding for housing. The Plan will provide a context for decisions regarding housing policy. Where appropriate, it indicates the type of housing which is needed in each area, and which areas are in need of renovation and change. It shows where new housing will be built, and its general policy framework seeks to ensure that this housing will be accessible to as wide a variety of people as possible.

The implementation of the policies for transport will require the collaboration of many different agencies. The Council is the highway authority for all roads in the City with the exception of motorways and trunk roads. The Passenger Transport Authority and Executive have responsibility for the coordination of public transport provision in the City but have to act together with British Rail, the bus operators and the operators of Metrolink in development the overall public transport network. The resource available for investment in the City's transport infrastructure come from a variety of sources. The annual Transport Policies and Programmes (TPP) document, which will be informed by the Plan is, in effect, an annual bid for resources to spend on highways infrastructure in the City. The TPP contains details of road proposals, both major and minor, road safety and accident prevention measures, cycling and traffic management measures, bridges and structures and proposals for highways maintenance. The Passenger Transport Executive also bids for resources on an annual basis from Central Government to carry out capital investment projects in support of the public transport network. It is not possible to plan in the knowledge of the level of resources which will be available from year to year to implement all the proposals in the Plan. The programme which is put forward is flexible and will be expanded or contracted to take account of the resources which are available at any given time.


The Council has property interests in approximately 55% of all the land within the City boundaries. It is therefore in a unique position to influence the implementation of the Plan in accordance with its adopted economic and social policies. Apart from the directly managed housing, industrial, commercial and markets estate, the Council is moving towards a strategic management plan for the whole of the corporate estate to fulfil its aims and objectives. The Manchester Plan will provide a framework for decisions on the future uses of land and buildings throughout the City. A key element in the successful implementation of the key policy issues relating to urban regeneration, the creation of new employment opportunities and the provision of social and leisure facilities lies in the judicious management of the Council's corporate estate.

Central Manchester Development Corporation was established in June 1988 with the task of regenerating 470 acres of largely underused and derelict land and buildings in the south and east of the City Centre. The former City Centre Local Plan (now incorporated into the Manchester Plan) provides the Corporation with a broad planning framework with which to develop its area. In addition the Corporation has produced a more detailed development strategy, the Central Manchester Development Strategy. This complements the statutory local plan and it sets out in more detail the Development Corporation's objectives in support of its statutory role in the Development Corporation area. The Corporation is financed by Central Government under its Action for Cities programme. Its role is to encourage investment and development within its area; provide City Grants for projects that might otherwise not be feasible; and improve the environment with a special focus on exploiting the City's 8 miles of waterways. To achieve this Central Government has promised to allocate a total of £77 million for CMDC to invest within its area and encourage further investment from the private sector. Up to the end of the 1991/92 financial year the Corporation had invested £45 million, which in turn, had generated further £210 million of investment from the private sector (every public pound invested generated nearly five private pounds of further investment in the area). In doing this the Corporation has adopted a structured approach, and will continue to do so, in consultation with the City Council, producing both area and topic based regeneration frameworks which will guide ongoing work and will assist in the formulation of an organised handover of the Urban Development Area back to the City Council. This work will form an input into the review of the Plan in respect of the area covered by the former City Centre Local Plan and will be an early priority for the Council in its implementation of the plan.

City Challenge - Hulme
The Department of the Environment awarded City Challenge status to the Hulme area in September 1991. This scheme aims to assist in the regeneration of Hulme by targeting Urban Programme resources into key programmes which seek to: develop disadvantaged areas which have significant development potential for the City but which are currently a major disincentive to investment; provide disadvantaged residents with access to a better quality of life and opportunities by a broad range of social, economic and environmental


regeneration measures; link disadvantaged areas and their residents to the City's main-stream economy. The Council has entered into a partnership with the private sector to set up an implementation agency, Hulme Regeneration Ltd, which will take the lead, in cooperation with local interests and central government, in concentrating and coordinating the investment in Hulme. The investment will seek to take advantage of Hulme's two major assets - its strategic location and a committed, caring community. The City Challenge programme takes full account of these factors and aims to create the conditions and momentum for self-sustained regeneration of Hulme within five years. New homes will be constructed for rent, shared equity and sale to create residential opportunities which eliminate the distinctions and stigmas between tenures. Alterations to road infrastructure will make it easier to move around the area and increase links to the rest of the City. New roads and, in time, a Light Rapid Transit line will optimise the advantages of Hulme's Location in the City. Land use within the area will be diversified resulting in commercial development and increasing the number of jobs in the area. Investment will also be targeted in making improvements in shopping provision in the area, replacing the failed district centre. Above all, the City Challenge will transform Hulme into a safer, more pleasant place to live, work and visit.

East Manchester
East Manchester is the part of the City bounded by Oldham Road and Hyde Road following a wedge extending from the City Centre (Great Ancoats Street) to the City boundary with the adjacent districts of Tameside and Oldham. It is an area of over 6.5 square miles with 60,000 residents and over 500 private sector employers. The area was formerly dominated by heavy engineering, chemicals, power industries such as gas and electric production businesses and coal mining. Since the late 1960s it has experienced severe decline which has resulted in high unemployment, a decline in population and a poor environment in terms of vacant derelict land and underused land and buildings. The Council in partnership with Central Government and the private sector, community organisations and relevant agencies, is committed to the economic, social and environmental regeneration of East Manchester. Over the last 10 years an intensive programme of environmental improvement has been carried out in the area using Derelict Land Grant and Urban Programme Funding. The worst housing in the area (Miles Platting) was also targeted for improvement. More recently developer interest in the area has increased both in terms of industrial and commercial land and residential sites. A number of area based projects have been commenced, e.g. Beswick District Centre and infrastructure work continues - Phase 1 of the Intermediate Ring Road is complete and Phase 2 is about to start on site (from Ashton Old Road to Oldham Road). East Manchester is targeted as the location for major sports facilities which will enhance Manchester's reputation as a venue for international competition and its international status among the world's top cities. The Manchester Plan will provide the broad context of the regeneration strategy for East Manchester that will ensure that key objectives covering economic and business development, and training initiatives, environmental and infrastructure improvements, diversity of housing tenure and capacity building for community groups are met in order to achieve optimal public and private investment.


The Integrated Development Operation (IDO). The Manchester Phoenix Initiative. The Integrated Development Operation (IDO) has been established to focus European Community funds on to the inner urban areas of Manchester and Salford, and Trafford Park. The purpose of IDO is to contribute to the economic recovery and prosperity of this area, which should, in turn, act as a catalyst in the revival of the rest of the City and the North West region. Six action programmes have been identified: rejuvenation of older industrial areas; tourism development; business development and support services; improving communications; improving the environment; workforce training. The IDO receives the bulk of its European funds from the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Central and local government also contribute significant resources to the programmes in order that the IDO can qualify for EC grant aid. The IDO's aim is to provide a sound base for the regeneration of the area by 1993. The Manchester Phoenix Initiative. The Manchester Phoenix Initiative is a limited company formed, with the support of the City Council, to stimulate the regeneration of rundown or underused areas within the City Centre. The Phoenix acts as a focus bringing together public and private sector resources to invest in projects that will in turn act as a catalyst to further regeneration. The Manchester Phoenix, in cooperation with Salford Phoenix, and with the support of Manchester and Salford City Council's, the Government and the private sector, is currently working to regenerate the mediaeval core of the conurbation. All these agencies have been brought together to form the Northern Gateway Initiative with the aim of regenerating the area around Victoria Station and Chethams School in Manchester and Exchange Station, and the surrounding area, in Salford. The Northern Gateway area covers the northern approach to the City Centre, an area that has declined in recent years. The area's unique character will be enhanced in order to exploit the potentially rich vein of development opportunities that exist, this includes improvements to the transport system, the physical structure of existing landmark buildings and other economic and cultural initiatives. The Mersey Basin Campaign. The Mersey Basin campaign, Launched in 1985, is a £4 Billion scheme to stimulate economic regeneration in the North West through environmental improvements, mainly in river water quality and through Landward development schemes. The Campaign is backed by Central and Local Government, the European Community, the voluntary sector. North West Water and other private sector concerns. It has two main aims to achieve by the time the 25 year campaign concludes around 2010:to clean all the 1700 Km of water courses in the Mersey Basin to at least Grade 2 (Fair) standard; to promote attractive landward developments especially alongside the water courses. The total spent to date is £425m derived through a mixture of EC aid, water authority investment. Central and Local Government work, voluntary input and private investment. Manchester/Salford/Trafford Tourism Development Initiative Manchester City Council is involved in a joint initiative with Salford and Trafford Councils, Central Manchester and Trafford Park Development Corporations, the North West Tourism Board and the English Tourist Board. The initiative is aimed at directly encouraging economic


regeneration and employment growth through the development of the Manchester Regional Centre as a tourism destination. The Tourism Development Initiative concentrates on the water corridor formed by the River Irwell and the Manchester Ship Canal, from the City Centre to Trafford Wharfside and surrounding including Exchange Station/Cathedral Arches, Castlefield, Pomona Docks, Salford Quays and Trafford. Phase III of the initiative is intended to highlight successful developments in these areas and ensure an up-to-date framework for tourism development. It is particularly intended to encourage private developers to come forward with new schemes in partnership with the public sector, in order to give life to the vision which the tourism Development Initiative sets out. The ultimate goal is to create an attractive environment for visitors and a desirable living environment for residents which generates an ambience reflecting the City's culture, history and elegance. Public Utilities The Development Plan provides the utilities responsible for electricity, gas, water, sewerage and telecommunications with essential inputs for their own planning. The Council will continue to work closely with the relevant bodies who provide these utilities to ensure that their investment programmes and infrastructure works complement and support the aims and policies set out in the Manchester Plan. The National Rivers Authority (NRA), was established by the 1989 Water Act (superseded by the Water Resources Act 1991} as a non-departmental body with statutory responsibilities for water resources, pollution control, flood defence, fisheries, recreation and conservation in England and Wales. The aims of the NRA are summarised in its mission statement which reads:The NRA will protect and improve the water environment. This will be achieved through effective management of water resources and by substantial reductions in pollution. The Authority aims to provide effective defence for people and property against flooding from rivers and sea. In discharging its duties it will operate openly and balance the interests of all who benefit from and use rivers, ground waters, estuaries and coastal waters. The statutory requirement to manage the water environment has created wide-ranging responsibilities for the Authority. These include the maintenance and improvement of water quality, conserving water resources, providing effective flood defence, improving, maintaining and developing fisheries, promoting and furthering conservation and water-based recreation of all types. Section 16 of the Water Resources Act 1991 requires the NRA to conserve and enhance the water environment when discharging all its duties.


“Chips, Will Alsop and the Regeneration of Manchester” From the London Times, March 27, 2009 By Lorna Blackwood This newspaper article provides an easily digestible overview of the recent history of redevelopment in Manchester, with a particular focus on residential development in neighborhoods east and west of the city centre. While Manchester, like most cities, has been hit hard by the economic crisis, a number of high profile projects already underway in these neighborhoods have enough momentum to ensure their completion. The article concludes with a tribute to the long and successful history of warehouse conversion in the city, dating back to 1989.


From The Times March 27, 2009

Chips, Will Alsop and the regeneration of Manchester
New-build apartments in Manchester are bucking the national trend and are still selling off-plan, given high-quality design and a good location
Lorna Blackwood

Two years ago Bricks & Mortar reported on a booming Manchester property market. City-centre apartments were selling for London prices, investors were flooding to back new schemes, and even the troubled east of the city had received a boost with Beswick landing the winning bid for the first supercasino. But two years on the outlook is very different. The city's property bubble has burst and developments have stalled, with hardly a crane now on the city skyline. The supercasino plans were scrapped a year ago and the Metrolink extension to the east of the city has been put on hold. “The North has had a difficult 18 months,” Andy Finch, of Knight Frank, acknowledges. “It felt the pinch before the South so we are hoping it will feel the benefits earlier too.” But despite the skyline, development is still going ahead in certain areas. Manchester has always had an innovative approach to property development. Wander through the city and many of the landmarks are residential blocks: The Great Northern Tower, Beetham Tower and City Gate. David Rudlin, of the urban planner Urbed, says this is down to the council's expansive vision for the future. “The planning department is very amenable. They have a great reputation for saying „yes' rather than „no',” he says. And it is not to the detriment of the city landscape. In fact, the council's commitment to improvement has rejuvenated parts of Manchester that were practically “no go” areas in the early 1980s, including Hulme, south of the city. The current challenge for the city is on its eastern edge. This was once the centre of manufacturing industry, but since the 1960s the area has experienced extensive social, economic and physical decline. By the 1990s parts of the area were recognised as some of the most deprived in the country. Enter New East Manchester Ltd, a partnership between Manchester City Council, English Partnerships, the North West Development Agency and the communities of east Manchester. The partnership is transforming the area just east of the city centre out to Tameside (nearly 2,000 hectares) with public and private sector investment totalling £2 billion. Work has been going on for the past 15 years and neither the loss of the supercasino bid nor the current economic climate will halt any plans. “There is sufficient momentum in this project to weather such storms as a recession,” explains Nick Johnson, deputy chief executive of the develepor Urban Splash, which is working on a development in New Islington as part of the regeneration. The involvement of this fêted developer shows that the regeneration programme is committed to completely reinventing a part of town that was perceived as extremely run-down. The area had a high


concentration of council-owned property; the long-term aim is to introduce a mixed range of income groups. And it looks to be working. “We have already completed the affordable side of the development, rehousing council residents in two new developments on Islington Square and Guest Street,” Johnson says. Its next stage, the iconic Chips building, consisting of 143 flats - 35 per cent of which are shared equity - is expected to complete within the next few weeks. This development is the first residential building in the UK by the leading architect Will Alsop, and is fully sold. “It is audacious but looks completely right in the surroundings,” Johnson says. “The vision of Manchester council has allowed this area to reinvent itself and has tempted a range of income groups to an area that was ostensibly very working class.” On the other side of town development is also under way. Salford Quays lies to the west of Manchester city centre and is only a ten-minute journey on the tram. Redevelopment of the area started in the 1980s, and the recent arrival of the Imperial War Museum North and The Lowry art and entertainment complex, pictured above, has brought visitors to this fast-developing waterside spot. But it will be MediaCity UK, a 30-acre development at the Quays, that will ultimately put Salford on the map. The BBC has already confirmed its arrival date of 2011, and is planning to move 1,600 staff from London. The second confirmed tenant is Salford University. The first phase of the “new city” will include two blocks of residential housing, with 328 apartments. “The properties have been sold off-plan for a year and we have already managed to sell over a third,” says Anita Jolley, senior associate at King Sturge estate agents. The homes range from £125,000 for a studio to £189,000 for a two-bedroom flat. Jolley says that even in a good market the amount sold offplan would be a success. She puts this down to competitive pricing. “We priced them over a year ago when the market was particularly struggling, but offered no discounts.” Investors and first-time buyers have bought into the developments and momentum has picked up again over the past three months. The developer, Peel Media, has been cautious and built only the two towers for residential use in this first phase. It has planning consent for 2,000 homes but is waiting to see how the first two blocks will be received. It's clear that Manchester is a city on the move, as a result of a progressive city council and some crucial investment in the east and west side. Back in New Islington, Johnson says that Urban Splash will be on site for a long time yet. “We have got at least another 10 to 15 years to go here, with some exciting projects coming up.” These include a self-build street, which is to be filmed by the BBC, and barns on stilts. Now that really is radical. The birthplace of loft living If one thing that epitomises the regeneration of Manchester, it's warehouse conversions. The city's defunct industries left behind a large number of empty buildings, which young architects viewed as exciting new living spaces. The first conversion was in 1989. Granby House, a former cotton warehouse on the southern fringe of the city centre, was converted into 62 flats for Wimpey Homes, and triggered the market for warehouse living.


MacIntosh Mills, right, is the latest such development in the south part of the city centre. It offers one, two and three-bed apartments in a 19th-century six-storey conversion. It is part of the wider MacIntosh village, a £130 million redevelopment by Taylor Wimpey. The mixed-use scheme will provide more than 700 apartments and 37,600 sq ft of commercial space. In addition there will be a children's nursery, a doctor's surgery and courtyards - all only a few minutes' walk from the city centre. Andy Finch, of Knight Frank, which is selling the apartments, has had an impressive response to the development, despite the general state of the property market. “We have had 20 reservations already this year, which would be good even in a more settled market.” He believes that the village is popular because it sets new standards in ecological home design and is one of the most environmentally advanced residential buildings in the country. It also has a pleasant community feel. Eco-features include a roof-mounted wind turbine to generate power for communal areas, and solar roof panels for hot water. The building is designed to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with that of an average apartment block. One-bedroom flats start at £145,000 via Knight Frank (0161-838 7744).


Leipzig City Report Center for the Analysis of Social Exclusion By Joerg Ploeger This extensive case study of Leipzig’s precipitous industrial decline and more recent urban renaissance offers: a brief history of the city from the period prior to World War I up through the socialist regime of the GDR and into the reunification period of the 1990s and beyond (pp.5-15); a description of the process by which Leipzig first recognized and then confronted the need for a new urban development strategy that accounted for the dramatic industrial collapse and population decline following reunification (pp. 15-19); and an assessment of more recent urban redevelopment efforts in Leipzig, including remaining challenges (pp. 33-34).




Leipzig is located in the federal state of Saxony (in German: Sachsen) in East Germany. The city is located some 150 kilometres south-west of Germany’s capital, Berlin, and some 300 kilometres north-east of Frankfurt (Figs. 1 and 2). The region shares direct borders with the Czech Republic and Poland. With its 4.3 million inhabitants, Saxony is the most populous of the new Länder formed after the German reunification. Although slightly more prosperous than the other East German regions, it still lags behind the West German average on most indicators.

Fig. 1: Germany

Fig. 2: Federal German state of Saxony

Source: Spiegel (online)

Source: European Commission (online)

Saxony’s urban hierarchy is dominated by three cities of similar size: Dresden; Leipzig; and Chemnitz. These cities have traditionally been characterised by their different functions. While Dresden with its historic grandeur is the regional administrative capital, busy Leipzig is the commercial and trade centre and Chemnitz (named Karl-Marx-Stadt during the GDR period) is the major industrial city. A popular saying has summarised this division as ‘produced in Chemnitz, sold in Leipzig, spent in Dresden’. Leipzig has around 500,000 inhabitants. Although it has dropped to thirteenth place among Germany’s larger cities, it is still the second largest city in East Germany after Berlin.

Leipzig originates from a Slavic village founded around 900AD. Town status was accorded in 1165. Benefiting from a favourable location at the crossroads of central and Eastern European trading routes, it developed into a

major market centre in the late middle ages. The trade fair which earned Leipzig the title Messestadt (Trade Fair City) is the oldest in Europe. Leipzig also developed a significant cultural role and is home to Germany’s second oldest university (1409). Box 1 shows the historic evolution of the city.

Box 1: Leipzig: Timetable of important events until 1990 ~ 900 1165 1409 1497 1813 1838 1871-1914 1913 1933 1949-1989 1989 1990 Emergence of a Slavic village Town status conferred University founded Leipzig receives privilege for trade fair Battle of the Nations near Leipzig led to decisive defeat for Napoleonic troops First German long-distance train connection between Leipzig and Dresden Gründerzeit era: industrialisation, rapid urban growth and increasing functional importance Completion of Europe’s largest terminal train station Population peak Existence of two post-war German states, in opposing power blocs during the Cold War ‘Monday demonstrations’ triggering ‘peaceful revolution’ that led to collapse of socialist regime German reunification; Currency Union

In Germany, most cities experienced their most dramatic process of urban transformation as a consequence of rapid industrialisation during the so-called Gründerzeit (foundation period). This period begins with the victory against France in 1871 and the subsequent creation and consolidation of the German nation-state and ends with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Most of the older housing stock in German cities was constructed during this period, in typically dense four-to-five storey apartment buildings. Leipzig underwent a process of rapid industrialisation during the second half of the 19th century. It was mainly driven by the publishing, textile and metalworking industries. Its emergence as a major urban centre is also mirrored in the unprecedented population growth (Fig. 3). In the last three decades of the 19th century, the city’s population more than quadrupled – from 107,000 (1871) to 456,000 (1900).

Fig. 3: Leipzig: Population development (1850-1989)
800,000 700,000 600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0 1850 1871 1885 1900 1914 1933 1950 1975 1989

Sources: Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen; Stadt Leipzig (2006); Nuissl and Rink (2003). Note: time axis not calibrated


After Germany’s unification in 1871, the former kingdom of Saxony became an independent region. Leipzig emerged as a leading German city. This was reflected in a number of civic buildings and functions: the Supreme Court of the newly founded German Empire (1879); the Gewandhaus concert hall (1898), the New Town Hall (1905, Fig. 4); the National Library (1912); and one of Europe’s largest train stations (1913, Fig. 25).

Fig. 4: Symbolising the growing city: New Town Hall, on the edge of the historic city centre

All pictures by the author unless stated otherwise

During the inter-war period (1918-1939), Leipzig continued to grow, reaching its population peak in the 1930s with almost 750,000 inhabitants. At this point, Leipzig was the fourth largest German city. Population growth during this period was fuelled mainly by further industrialisation with the electrical, chemical, mining and energy sectors being added to the existing industrial base.

Leipzig was less damaged during World War II than other major German cities, such as its Saxon counterpart, Dresden, and its urban structure remained virtually intact. The division of Germany into two states in 1949 meant however a significant political, social and economic rupture. For the urban development of East German cities this resulted in a dramatic change of path. During the regime of the socialist German Democratic Republic (GDR), most power functions were concentrated in East Berlin and regional governments were dissolved. From this point on, Leipzig experienced a gradual decline in significance.

The GDR’s orientation towards the Eastern Bloc disrupted Leipzig’s traditional commercial ties. Many of the surviving industrial plants were dismantled by Soviet troops as war compensation. But industrial activity was soon revived by the creation of large industrial conglomerates (Kombinate) based on the previous industrial sectors (Fig. 5). By continuing to host the annual international trade fair, which functioned as the showpiece of the Eastern Bloc’s industrial production, Leipzig managed to retain one of the few remaining links with the West

(Fig. 6). Thus the city continued to benefit from its traditional role as a hub for commerce and trade. Leipzig also remained an important centre of cultural life in the GDR. Population figures however reflect its relative loss of importance. Leipzig was the only major East German city to experience considerable population losses before 1990. As Figure 3 shows, the population declined from 713,000 in 1933 to 530,000 in 1989.

Fig. 5: Heavy machinery for open-cast mining produced by Kombinat Takraf, Leipzig


Fig. 6: Impressions from Leipzig’s trade fair during the GDR period



Political change accelerated when Glasnost politics were implemented under Michail Gorbatschow in the former Soviet Union. Towards the end of the 1980s, the former Eastern Bloc quickly disintegrated following the collapse of one socialist regime after the other. The citizens of Leipzig played an important part in East Germany’s political transformation. In the autumn of 1989 the weekly ‘Monday demonstrations’ started on the square in front of the Nikolai church (Fig. 7). This ‘peaceful revolution’ brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the GDR regime in November that same year. East Germany was run by a transitional government until 3rd October 1990, when the two German states were reunified. In practice, reunification meant that East Germany was absorbed into the existing West German political and economic framework. The federal structure was extended to East Germany where five new Länder were created in 1991.

Fig. 7: ‘Monday demonstrations’ in Leipzig





It immediately became obvious that East Germany had fallen behind West Germany whilst the country was split in two. For Leipzig this meant being relegated from the first to the second or even third tier of German cities in terms of its significance as a demographic, economic and cultural centre. The city had experienced slow but continuous decline throughout the socialist era, although this was partially hidden by a lack of transparency. The opening up of the transformation period caused a much more visible and rapid decline in the years immediately following reunification in 1990. Integration into West Germany – adoption of its constitution, political and legal systems and the difficult process of adapting to a new economic model – was a shock. Leipzig and other cities in the new Länder and other transitional economies, soon displayed particular patterns of urban decline which came to be labelled ‘shrinking cities’ (Oswalt, 2005). The most obvious signs of crisis were: • • • • • • • Industrial collapse Environmental damage Increasing social problems, especially unemployment Population decline Uncontrolled suburbanisation and sprawl on the urban periphery Housing crisis, signified by decay and high vacancy rates Overburdened public administration

Each of these problems is described briefly below.

Industrial Collapse The industrial collapse of East Germany was profound and quick. Only in the three years from 1990 to 1993 more than half of the 4 million industrial jobs were lost (Heinker, 2004:151). There were several reasons for this accelerated process of deindustrialisation. First, East German industry had been protected from free-market international competition and so in most cases was not fit to deal with the new conditions. Second, most companies were not prepared for the new economic conditions attached to the early currency reform in 1990, which replaced the East German Mark with the West German Deutsche Mark. Most companies had inadequate access to the new money and were unable to pay their employees, meet production costs or invest in muchneeded modern technology. In addition, the Treuhandanstalt, the agency set up to handle the privatisation of the state-owned East German industrial conglomerates, was in many cases unable to ensure their survival (F. Hahn, interview). The Treuhandanstalt was widely criticised for selling-off supposedly non-competitive East German companies and their assets too quickly to West German and international investors without overseeing any adaptation process (M. Schimansky, interview). In Leipzig, out of the 800 privatised companies, almost 300 were closed (Heinker, 2004:161). A typical example is the case of the largest industrial conglomerate Takraf, producing heavy machinery (Fig. 5), which was divided into different segments, which were then either closed or sold to investors. Its workforce original workforce of 5,000 was quickly reduced to just 250.

Leipzig’s industrial sector was held to be somewhat less innovative than elsewhere. Even among East German cities, which suffered greatly, the process of deindustrialisation in Leipzig was particularly severe. Figure 8 shows the loss of industrial employment in the city. In only seven years – from 1989 to 1996 – 90,000 manufacturing jobs were lost, a decline of 90 per cent (O. Weigel, presentation at CRG meeting, March 2006). None of our other case study cities experienced a similar scale of industrial decline. In 1991, 27 per cent of the workforce was still employed in manufacturing, but the proportion fell to 11 per cent by 2004 (IHK Leipzig, 2006). Although the service sector expanded it could not compensate for these dramatic losses. Leipzig’s difficulties were compounded by the fact that, unlike Chemnitz, it was not regarded as a typical industrial city and therefore saving manufacturing jobs was not high on the agenda (M. Schimansky, interview).

Fig. 8: Leipzig: Number of employees in manufacturing (1989-1996)
120,000 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 1989
Source: Stadt Leipzig (2006)




Environmental damage Leipzig is located close to the industrial heart of the former GDR. The concentration of heavy industries within the region, in cities such as Bitterfeld and Leuna, has caused serious pollution of air, water and soil. In Leipzig itself and in its surroundings, industrial elements such as the carbo-chemical industry, coal-fired power plants and open-cast lignite mining generated a massive environmental burden by the end of the 1980s (Fig. 9). Mining was responsible for damage to large areas to the south of the city. No significant environmental or green movement existed in East Germany during the GDR regime. Although the sudden collapse of the industrial sector following the economic restructuring described above had serious social consequences (see below), it had a direct positive impact on environmental conditions and aspects of quality of life


Fig. 9: Heavy industry, early 1990s

Source: UFZ Leipzig

Increasing social problems The rapid economic and political restructuring resulted in substantial social problems across East Germany. The loss of industrial employment was by far not compensated for by new jobs created in the expanding service sector. In Leipzig, as elsewhere, unemployment became the most serious social problem. Although officially non-existent, some hidden unemployment had already occurred under the socialist system. Due to rapid job losses in the years after reunification, the unemployment increased steadily, reaching almost 20 per cent by the late 1990s. It must be noted however that many workers affected by the early closures were often given generous social packages and early-retirement schemes. Leipzig’s unemployment rate was substantially higher than the figures for Germany as a whole and, in 2005, even surpassed the high levels for East Germany (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10: Unemployment rates for Leipzig and Germany, in % (1990-2005)


Leipzig East Germany Germany




0 1990 1995 2000 2005

Sources: Stat. Bundesamt; Stat. Landesamt Sachsen; Bertelsmann Stiftung. (all online)


Rising unemployment led to a number of further problems. The labour market became increasingly difficult to access both for older workers who had lost their jobs as well as the younger generation that was about to enter it. The proportion of long-term unemployed increased steadily. The malfunction of the labour market had a detrimental effect on the public budget, forcing the government to spend an increasing amount on social welfare. Meanwhile, the creation of some high-skilled service sector jobs caused greater socio-economic inequalities, a social condition practically non-existent in the previous socialist context. The introduction of new social values and consumption-oriented lifestyles on the one hand and high levels of social welfare dependency on the other often caused psychological stress and frustration.

Population decline Population decline accelerated after the profound transformation process initiated by German reunification. In the decade following reunification, Leipzig lost almost 100,000 inhabitants or 20 per cent of its population, reaching an historic low of 437,000 in 1998 (Fig. 11). Three parallel demographic processes caused the decline (S. Heinig, interview): • • Suburbanisation was the most important factor, responsible for approximately half of the losses, and will be discussed in more detail below. Migration towards more prosperous and dynamic West German regions was responsible for about a quarter of the decline. This process meant also a brain drain, as it was predominantly skilled, economically active people aged between 20 and 40 who left. Only in the first two years after the collapse of the GDR, 32,000 people left Leipzig for West Germany. • Lower birth rates reduced the population by approximately another quarter as the birth rate in East Germany dropped below the already low West German levels following reunification.

Fig. 11: Leipzig: Population development (1989-1998)



400,000 1989 1993 1998

Sources: Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen; Stadt Leipzig. (both online)


Suburbanisation and sprawl Due to strict regulations on settlement pattern, East German cities had practically no suburban hinterland until 1990. Since reunification, the mostly rural municipalities surrounding Leipzig were heavily transformed by residential and commercial suburbanisation. In the early period this process has been called ‘Wild East suburbanisation’ (Nuissl and Rink, 2003). The developments were driven by market forces and often characterised by their lack of planning and sustainability. Figure 12 illustrates a typical housing development of this period. Suburbanisation already reached its peak between 1995 and 1998 (ibid.).

Fig. 12: Suburban developments of the mid-1990s

The emerging urban sprawl was the result of a number of push- and pull-factors (Nuissl and Rink, 2005): • Catching-up: Due to restrictions on owner-occupied housing under the GDR, East German cities had almost no low-density suburban single-family housing at the time of reunification. Although socialist housing policy triggered a displacement of the population into larger estates on the urban fringe, this did not spill over into adjacent jurisdictions. Suburbanisation can be regarded as a process of catchingup with Western patterns. The expectation of rapid adjustment to Western standards and easy access to federal subsidies also fostered speculative suburban developments. • Lack of land-use regulation: Immediately after reunification, Eastern local authorities were not ready to regulate land-use according to the newly-introduced Western planning system. With instruments and laws not yet fully applied, investors from the West took advantage by building suburban developments which would not have met planning standards under the federal system. Although general planning guidelines are proposed at the federal and regional level, the power over planning lies with municipal governments in Germany. • Inappropriate federal policy: Like post-war policies in the US, several federal policies and fiscal instruments actually intensified the suburbanisation trend. These include: private ownership housing allowances (Eigenheimzulage), introduced to increase home ownership and to overcome perceived housing shortages; transport subsidies in the form of a mileage allowance for car commuters


(Pendlerpauschale); tax write-off models for run-down older housing stock (Sonderabschreibungen); and massive investments in East German road development, along with other infrastructure. • Legal obstacles to inner city renewal: In order to re-establish the pre-war ownership of properties expropriated during the socialist regime, the guiding principle was to favour restitution of properties to their previous owners rather than compensation payments (Rückgabe vor Entschädigung). In Leipzig, some 30,000 restitution claims had to be decided upon. As a result, there was initially little incentive to invest in the decaying and disputed inner-city housing stock. This significantly delayed urban renewal and exacerbated decay and abandonment of the existing stock.

The resulting sprawl caused new problems such as unnecessarily extending the city onto land that had not previously been urbanised, increasing the environmental burden on the city and its surroundings. In Leipzig, the new suburban developments were not accompanied by investments in the public transport infrastructure, making the new housing dependent on the use of private cars. Suburbanisation also had a negative financial effect on the core city. The demographic shift towards the suburbs involved mostly middle-class households and therefore caused a reduction in the tax base. Another problem for the core city is the undermining of its central city functions through retail competition from new shopping malls on the periphery.

Housing crisis A specific feature of the urban crisis in East German cities is the housing crisis characterised by a housing stock in urgent need of renovation and high vacancy rates. Due to this situation, almost 30,000 housing units were already vacant in 1989 (Stadt Leipzig, 2006). The vacancy rate rose sharply during the 1990s. The peak was reached in 2000, with approximately 62,500 vacant housing units, or 20 per cent of the existing stock (Fig. 13). In Leipzig, housing problems were usually concentrated in the pre-1918 segment of the housing stock and from the mid-1990s also in the large socialist estates of the post-war period. Due to its large share of the overall housing stock however, almost 60 per cent of the population were still occupying pre-1918 housing units in the 1990s (Stadt Leipzig, 2006). Slightly over 30 per cent of inhabitants lived in the socialist housing estates, half of whom or 75,000 in Grünau, East Germany’s second largest Plattenbau estate (Fig. 15).

As Leipzig was bombed less than other cities during World War II, it still has a relatively large pre-1918 housing stock from the Gründerzeit period. During the socialist era the main emphasis of the GDR housing policy was
1 on the construction of mass-built estates , often located on the periphery of the cities. These estates were built

on a huge scale from the early 1970s. The population usually favoured them over the derelict older stock because of higher housing standards. The older inner-city housing stock, on the other hand, was largely neglected. Only limited efforts were put into its renovation. Therefore most of it was in a very bad physical condition by 1990 (Fig. 14). According to estimates, three quarters of the 258,000 housing units required renovation in 1990 (Stadt Leipzig, 2005). While 13 per cent of the housing stock was in a very bad condition, 9 per cent were labelled as uninhabitable. 58 per cent of the housing still used coal stoves for heating and 19 per cent did not have a proper bath.

In East Germany these estates are usually called Plattenbau because of their characteristic construction technique using prefabricated units (concrete slabs).


Fig. 13: Share of vacant housing stock in Leipzig (2000-2005)
70,000 post-1990 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 2000
Source: Stadt Leipzig (2006).

1949-1990 1918-1948 pre-1918



Fig. 14: Housing problem I: Decaying pre-1918 housing stock (East Leipzig)

Fig. 15: Housing problem II: mass-built estates on the periphery (Grünau)

Overburdened public administration Along with these problems, as elsewhere in Germany, the public administration of the City of Leipzig had more and more difficulty maintaining a balanced budget. While the local tax base fell due to the reduced population and closure of companies, the city struggled to meet the demand for public services. A characteristic problem of ‘shrinking cities’ is that they are equipped with an obsolete and oversized public infrastructure (technical and transport), which requires maintenance while being used by fewer people. The increasing numbers of households dependent on social welfare put pressure on strained urban budgets. The problematic situation in the housing sector described above also demanded urgent action. Yet, because of fiscal pressures, the Leipzig administration had only limited flexibility to confront its problems and design long-term regeneration policies.





Strategy change: from pro-growth to adjustment

At the beginning of the transformation period resulting from German reunification 2 , the German economy was expanding. Alongside the positive political mood in Germany, there was strong belief that East Germany would quickly catch up with West German standards. For this reason, pro-growth strategies were adopted throughout East Germany in the 1990s. East Germans had great expectations that living conditions would rapidly improve. This was particularly true in Leipzig where the population had played such a decisive role in the transformation and where surveys gave evidence of the widespread feeling of elation and confidence. Leipzig became known as a ‘boom town’, mainly due to the manifold construction activities (Heinker, 2004).

But it was soon realised that the ‘blossoming landscapes’ which Chancellor Kohl had promised for East Germany in 1990 would not materialise quickly. It became increasingly obvious that the pro-growth strategies adopted by the German government were far too optimistic and generally failed all over East Germany. The weak economic base, population losses, rising unemployment and collapsing public services became too serious to ignore. It was also more and more recognised that almost all cities were actually shrinking rather than growing.

In the second half of the 1990s, driven by strong city leadership, Leipzig was the first major East German city to recognise the need to adopt more realistic approaches to urban development and to develop a strategy that would target its specific problems and challenges. The actions advocated in this new approach can be summarised under two broader headings: • ‘Fix the problems’: There was a need to identify the problems and develop a strategy to fix them. This strand was mostly aimed at strengthening the inner-city to increase its attractiveness and enable it to compete with the suburbs, both in residential and commercial uses. The actions under this strand had a strong urban renewal focus. • ‘Think big’: In contrast to the more responsive first strand of fixing problems, this second strand of the recovery strategy aimed to position Leipzig firmly as a recognised and established economic and cultural centre in the emerging European city network. This included major efforts to attract large companies to the city on the one hand and the promotion of large-scale events and developments on the other hand.


In Germany, this period is usually called Wende, which refers to the abrupt change of path for East Germany.



Urban Renewal

The particular problems of becoming a ‘shrinking city’ put housing high on the political agenda. With rising vacancy rates in inner-city neighbourhoods, the housing market had become increasingly dysfunctional. Urban renewal was seen as essential in the fight against population loss. Competing with the attractive job markets in West German cities was difficult. Nonetheless, it was argued that the city could compete with its own suburbia by fostering a supply of attractive inner-city housing and other urban amenities. Here, the structure of the existing housing stock proved favourable as Leipzig has a relatively large stock of decayed but potentially attractive pre-1918 buildings. In order to recreate a functioning housing market with incentives for owners to invest in their properties, it was thought necessary to target urban renewal carefully by demolishing the most extreme areas of abandonment. By concentrating limited resources strategically, the city gradually re-marketed the inner-city as an attractive place to live.

Debates about the urban future (since 1998) From 1998, the City Council convened several Stadtwerkstatt, an occasional urban roundtable, to bring together important urban thinkers and actors to discuss specific problems. Some of these roundtables have been relevant for the formulation of urban strategies in Leipzig (M. Döhler-Behzadi, interview). One landmark was the 1998 workshop where urban experts discussed the future of the ‘last third’ of the housing stock, which had not yet been renovated (Fig. 16). This meeting was informed by dominant themes such as demographic decline and the lack of public resources. The resulting position paper enunciated three major principles on how to deal with the situation (S. Gabi, interview): • • • to enhance the attractions of the inner-city, in order to compete with suburban developments; to accept that insufficient public funds made investment in all areas impossible; and to enhance the necessity for some demolition. Limited demolition of the least attractive segments of the existing housing stock would have a positive effect on the urban environment, such as lower densities, more individual housing options, more green areas and more public spaces).

Fig. 16: Characteristic patchwork of renovated and derelict buildings in Leipzig’s inner neighbourhoods:


Strategic Urban Development Plan (2000) In 2000, the city published an Urban Development Plan that specifically targeted housing and urban renewal. It defined a joint strategy for the older housing stock, the large estates and new construction. The main aims were to increase the competitiveness of well-equipped inner-city neighbourhoods and to consolidate the housing market. In order to achieve these aims, the city decided to support the renewal of selected areas as well as aiming to demolish between 15,000 and 20,000 properties by 2010 (Stadt Leipzig, 2002).

This process was accompanied by the planning department’s development of a micro-level urban monitoring system. This was used to understand and evaluate urban development trends and to help decision-making and in designing future policies. Leipzig was one of the first East German cities to use such a tool. It was based on a similar tool used in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and was supported by federal research funds (S. Heinig, interview).

Given the restricted resources, it was decided to allocate the available funds in three large areas of the city that were identified as particularly needy (O. Weigel, interview): The two areas of East and West Leipzig are dominated by pre-1918 housing and Grünau is dominated by large-scale socialist housing. While the older neighbourhoods were already characterised by several problems such as physical decay, lack of renovation and high vacancy rates, the large estate increasingly began to show signs of decline from the second half of the 1990s.

In addition to its own activities, the City was able to draw on several external funding streams. Several interviewees mentioned the particular success of the Department of Urban Renewal and Housing in accessing these external funds. From 1997 to 2003 on average 30 to 40 million Euros from local, regional, federal and EU
3 governments were available (Stadt Leipzig, 2006). Following the principles set out in the strategic Urban

Development Plan, these funds were then allocated to the identified areas. East Leipzig, which showed the highest levels of deprivation, was assisted through funds from the Soziale Stadt neighbourhood renewal programme, funded equally by the federal and regional governments. 4 EU Regional funding (Objective 1) was also used. In West Leipzig a considerable part of the funding for urban renewal came from the EU URBAN II programme. This area, counting a population of 31,000, received 20 million Euros between 2000 and 2006 (URBAN documentation). Figure 17 shows the current

Housing Vacancy Commission and demolition programme Stadtumbau Ost As a result of the increasing problems with housing vacancies in East Germany, an interdisciplinary expert commission bringing together leading urban experts and thinkers was formed in 2000. The fact that Leipzig’s former mayor Lehmann-Grube chaired the commission can be taken as a sign that early recognition of the problems of ‘shrinking’ gave Leipzig a head-start over other cities, and a leading role in expressing the specific needs of East Germany. Officially called the ‘Expert Commission on the Restructuring of the Housing Market in East Germany’, it also became known as the ‘Vacancy Commission’. The commission was asked to delineate
3 4

Until 2006, East Germany as a whole (excluding Berlin) had EU Objective 1 status. Full translation of the official title: ‘Neighbourhoods with specific needs - the socially integrative city’. See also our Bremen City Report.


viable solutions to the problem. According to their report, almost one million housing units were vacant in East Germany by the late 1990s (Expertenkommission, 2000). Given the demographic trends and the economic situation this number was expected to rise. The recommendation was to demolish between 300,000 and 400,000 units over the next ten years. The report initiated a significant shift in thinking on urban development in East Germany.

As a result of the Commission’s findings, the Federal Government launched a major programme, Stadtumbau Ost, in 2002. The aim was to help East German cities overcome their housing market crisis. While the term Stadtumbau translates literally into ‘urban conversion’, in practice it is associated with demolition. Thus, alongside new construction and renovation, demolition became the third pillar of federal urban policy in Germany. The programme has 2.7 billion Euros of funding shared equally between regional and federal supports. The funding is covering the period from 2002 to 2009, but will probably continue afterwards, albeit with lower funding. 5 It has taken on board the commission’s recommendation to demolish approximately one third of the vacant housing in East Germany.

Since 2001, 9,200 units have been demolished in Leipzig. Two thirds of the demolition was carried out in large housing estates, mostly in Grünau. The remainder was predominantly demolition of pre-1918 units in inner-city neighbourhoods. The cost of demolition over this period totalled 15.1 million Euros and was mostly funded through the Stadtumbau Ost programme. 6 The municipal housing company Leipziger Wohn- und Baugesellschaft (LWB) alone demolished 5,700 units until 2005 (LWB, online). In 2005, the LWB owned almost 44,000 housing units, of which about 17,000 were not yet refurbished and almost 4,000 earmarked for further demolition (ibid.).

Urban renewal instruments While demolition was one major intervention, other parts of the urban renewal strategy were based on improving the quality of life and housing choices in inner-city neighbourhoods in order to attract people back into the city. We can distinguish two main elements of this strategy: • • to bring middle-class households back into the city; and to develop an integrated approach for the most deprived areas.

There was little information about how other cities sought to tackle similar problems. Leipzig therefore became a pioneer in designing policies relevant to the specific situation of East Germany. In order to achieve the aims mentioned above, the City came up with a number of innovative ideas. The following box contains an overview of the main tools and programmes it developed.

5 6

Although with reduced funding, the programme was also extended to selected West German cities (see our Bremen City Report). Before the Stadtumbau Ost funds became available in 2002, demolition was financed through a special programme by the state of Saxony.



Progress of urban renewal

Interventions in the field of urban renewal were central to Leipzig’s recovery strategy. The particular problems associated with ‘shrinking cities’ required many cities confronted with broad decline to take specific approaches. Leipzig was the first East German city to recognise the problem and to develop its own urban strategy to adapt to its urban crisis. It therefore designed and implemented a number of special programmes and instruments, many of them highly innovative and later copied by other cities with similar problems. As a result of its early awareness, Leipzig now shows advanced signs of physical recovery.

Successes in urban renewal, such as the provision of renovated inner-city housing, were key in the ‘fight against suburbia’. By the end of the 1990s, three quarters of the remaining pre-1918 housing had been refurbished. The numbers living in pre-1918 housing rose from 260,000 in 1998 to 300,000 in 2005, despite overall population losses and demolition (Stadt Leipzig, 2006). The total vacancy rate dropped from 20 per cent or 62,500 housing units in 2000 to 14 per cent or 45,000 units at the end of 2005 (Fig. 13). Gentrification is evident in the most desired inner-city locations (Wiest and Zischner, 2006).

The implementation of urban renewal was, however, contested. In particular, demolition under the Stadtumbau Ost programmes attracted substantial criticism (for example, Stadtforum Leipzig, 2006). One of the drivers of decline in outer estates was that substantial funds were made available somewhat too late – at a time when urban decline, physical decay and population losses to the suburbs were already being reversed by a process of re-urbanisation. The urban development policy in Leipzig has also been criticised for focussing too much on reinstating a functioning property market and continuing with unnecessary demolition (Stadtforum, 2006). The property market showed signs of recovery even before the ‘demolition-machinery’ went into motion. As W. Günther (interview) argued, ‘Stadtumbau Ost is not a perfect programme. Demolition is destructive and not economical. Although for many other East German cities the programme brings benefits, the situation is different in Leipzig.’ Meanwhile, changes in the inner city areas to the west and east of the centre have delivered many improvements, although many social and physical challenges remain.

Fig. 35: Grünau housing estate: refurbished blocks


Although funding was concentrated in the neediest residential areas, they require further investment: • East Leipzig still shows the highest levels of deprivation in the city (Stadt Leipzig, 2006). It has high vacancy rates (~32 per cent) although some reduction is occurring as demolition continues. The area is characterised by high levels of welfare dependency and unemployment, low incomes, low educational levels, many one-parent households, all issues reflected in high levels of political frustration. It also has a less attractive public sphere. On the other hand, the influx of immigrants to this area may partly compensate for ongoing population losses. • • West Leipzig recovered more strongly than East Leipzig; the proximity of high-quality green spaces and an overflow of demand from the already-gentrified Südvorstadt have helped. With increasingly available and attractive housing options in the older neighbourhoods, and with the introduction of Western consumption and lifestyle patterns, housing problems shifted to the housing estates built during the GDR regime. Although massive investments went into the renovation of the housing stock (Fig. 35), Grünau alone lost 37 per cent of its population in only ten years, from 76,000 in 1996 to 48,000 in 2005 (Stadt Leipzig, 2006). The sustainability of the neighbourhood is severely threatened and even according to optimistic projections it may only stabilise on a much smaller than the original scale (M. Döhler-Behzadi, S. Gabi, interviews).

A real asset of Leipzig is the high quality of life. While housing prices and rents are still low compared to West German cities, the city also offers abundant and attractive green spaces close to the inner city (Fig. 36)

Fig. 36: Large green public spaces close to city centre


Leipzig City Report: Leipzig’s Municipal Job Agency Center for Analysis of Social Exclusion, 2008 By Joerg Ploeger Here, Ploeger outlines the economic and business development strategy undertaken by Leipzig city officials to attract major companies and manufacturers to the area. They succeeded in attracting BMW, DHL, and Amazon, and Porsche, by making efficient bureaucratic decisions, adopting efficacious means by which to make land easily available to incoming business, and, importantly, establishing a municipal job agency that worked to meet the workforce needs of those companies.


2. The aims of the new economic approach: focus on attracting new companies
Among other areas such as housing and urban renewal, economic development was seen as a key factor in the recovery in Leipzig. The City Department of Economic Development and the Economic Initiative Mitteldeutschland, a lobby group representing large regional employers, designed a cluster strategy based on five economic areas: • • • • • car production and automotive components media, telecoms and IT; healthcare and biotech; energy and environmental engineering; and enabling technologies and services.

As there was no significant grouping of local companies, attracting major employers became a core task within the economic development policy. The city council was determined to ‘go the extra mile’. In order to achieve its objective in the context of increased competition for investment on regional, national and international levels, Leipzig designed several business services and reorganised its own structure. This included four main ingredients: • • • • effective land supply policy; quick, non-bureaucratic implementation of decisions; cross-departmental cooperation; and additional services to potential investors, e.g. the municipal job agency PUUL (see below).

Leipzig has been impressively successful in attracting major companies, especially in the logistics sector (DHL, Quelle, Amazon) and car manufacturing (BMW, Porsche). These two sectors alone led to the creation of an estimated 5,000 and 6,000 new jobs respectively.

The logistics sector was attracted by the proximity to the Leipzig-Halle airport, the only German airport without flight prohibition during the night. The airport was modernised through public funds (€660 million). Twenty-four hour flight access was central to the decision of DHL to open one of only 3 international logistics centres in the world. DHL plans to employ 3,500 staff when fully operational in 2010, and an estimated 7,000 jobs are expected to be created indirectly (see Fig. 4).


Fig. 4: Logistics Park close to Leipzig-Halle regional airport, including new DHL hub (on the right)

Source: GVZ Entwicklungsgesellschaft

BMW chose Leipzig for its new manufacturing site out of 250 applicant cities. Production began in 2005. BMW’s investment of €1.3 billion was supplemented by €360 million in state subsidies. For BMW, the significance of the Leipzig site is symbolised by the company commissioning the internationally renowned architect Zaha Hadid to design the complex. As a BMW spokesperson said, the employers were attracted to locate in Leipzig because of: • • • • the availability of sufficient and conveniently located land; lower labour costs (approximately 23% below West German levels); longer working hours and lower security of labour in Eastern Germany; and the efforts made by the City of Leipzig to help companies with the logistics of setting up in Eastern Germany.


3. Methods: the municipal job agency PUUL
One of the most significant moves by the city was the creation of the municipal job agency PUUL (Personal support for companies in Leipzig); crucial to its creation in 2001 was the decision by BMW to build its new plant in Leipzig. The job agency has the following characteristics: • • a subsidiary company of the City of Leipzig; created by the Department of Economic Development; and a company responsive remit: offering special services to companies that plan to locate or expand in and around Leipzig. Its main fields of activity are finding and pre-selecting the necessary workforce for these companies; providing companies with information about the structure of the local/regional labour market (e.g. skills, credit levels, etc.) and running its own job data base (Jobimpuls). In joint cooperation with regional and federal labour agencies and companies, PUUL started the project Poleposition in 2002. Funding to 2004 amounted to €870,000. Its aim was to prepare unemployed jobseekers for future job openings and to make them compatible with the new labour market as it emerged.

With the City of Leipzig as the main shareholder, PUUL is required to integrate as many jobless as possible into the labour market. Nevertheless, the agency is not thought of as part of the city’s social policy but as part of economic development. In this it is like Sheffield. This job agency is still a virtually unique case in Germany. To our knowledge, no other city has made a similar commitment until now.

Funding Between 2001-2005, initial funding of €1.7 million came from the City of Leipzig supplemented by additional external funding of €0.8 million from federal and European sources. Since 2006, the agency has funded itself independently because the City of Leipzig is no longer providing funds. Sixty percent of the funding now comes from the public sector, mainly the federal and regional labour agencies and some additional funds from European Social Fund (EU). Forty percent is made up of private investment from companies in the region that have an interest in the provision of such a service.

Outcomes The agency channelled more than 3,000 applicants into new jobs, approximately 1,500 of whom were formerly unemployed: • approximately one-third of the jobs went to jobseekers from each of Leipzig, the inner commuting zone and the wider commuting zone. As Leipzig is located in a structurally weak region, unemployed residents of surrounding communities and nearby cities like Halle also come to Leipzig looking for work. • Jobs were mainly created in two dominant economic sectors: o o
2 automotive such as BMW (approx. 2,000 jobs), suppliers to BMW (approx. 350) ; and

logistics: DHL (approx. 400), Amazon (approx. 400)


BMW received 109,000 job applications (!)


The previously unemployed could more readily be placed in the logistics sector which required a lower skills base. Here, approximately 90% of jobs went to formerly unemployed workers, in the case of Amazon up to 100% (!).

Halle (the closest city in the region with even higher unemployment) has evolved as an important location for call centres; spillover benefits in further call-centre jobs are expected for Leipzig in the near future.

465 participants who attended courses funded through the Poleposition project run by PUUL managed to get permanent jobs at the BMW plant.

4. Challenges and Responses

Challenges Securing inward investment, attracting major companies Preparing the unemployed for work Making the city more attractive to investors Shifting the economy from planned Soviet style to Western market basis Stopping the leakage of population away from the city

Responses City went out of its way to make everything easy for the big companies (good cross-departmental cooperation, cutting down on bureaucratic procedures, offering special additional services) Training application process and support (e.g. through Poleposition programme run by job agency PUUL) Major renovation and some demolition of older housing stock Adaptation of skills, system change, leadership

Making it an attractive place to work while re-expanding job opportunities

5. Overall lessons and results
• • • • Courting large companies in order to rebuild an economic base and close the huge employment gap is helped by investment in regeneration. Designing and implementing a long-term strategy about how to achieve urban recovery steered the city through years when outsiders lost confidence. The need to offer a broad range of services in order to ‘win’ new companies was taken seriously by Leipzig. Adopting an innovative approach to urban renewal greatly helped in restoring confidence in Leipzig as a place (see our City Reports).


6. Concluding thoughts
This case study illustrates the lengths to which the city council went to rebuild an economic base after the dramatic restructuring of the entire East German system. Skills are key to the success of this approach. This investment based programme aims to aid city recovery through: • • providing new employers with a suitable workforce; and chanelling the unemployed into employment.

Any sustainable approach to economic recovery must focus on these issues, and Leipzig has been spectacularly successful in defying predictions of population and economic collapse through a determined drive to attract inward investors and link their population to the new opportunities.


City of Leipzig Urban Development: Residential Space, Urban Renewal, and the Economy City of Leipzig This overview comes from the City of Leipzig’s website and details the city’s plan to consolidate residential areas and stabilize the housing market. The second section covers the city’s economic development strategy.


Urban development Residential Space und Urban Renewal
Surpluses in residential space caused by migration and excessive housing development and their repercussions for the economic, social and urban development in the affected districts poses a central challenge for the cities of former East Germany. Therefore, the City of Leipzig - based on the Urban Development Plan for Housing and Urban Renewal (STEP W+S) - is pursuing a consolidation strategy for its housing market coupled with an urban redevelopment strategy for all segments of the housing market to improve the competitiveness of inner-city districts with a well-developed infrastructure. The approach is based on a close combination of redevelopment and conservation strategies.

Introduction population and households While Leipzig was among the five largest cities in Germany in 1933, boasting a population of 713,000, the city's number of inhabitants has steadily declined since. Between 1989 and 1998 alone, Leipzig lost almost 100,000 of its former 530,000 inhabitants. The redrawing of communal administrative boundaries in 1999/2000, however, assigned Population development in an additional 60,000 inhabitants to the city, a number of Leipzig since 1989 [+] whom were among the population lost in the preceding years. Since 2002, Leipzig's population has increased from approximately 495,000 to 504,000 today. This steady, slight population growth has been estimated to continue until 2020. For the time being, a continuing increase in the number of households is also assumed.


Strategic Priorities and Development Targets In 1990, the City of Leipzig was faced with a difficult inheritance: the quality and quantity of apartments offered on the housing market were unacceptable – 25,000 apartments were uninhabitable. While the region witnessed large-scale housing development, the renovation of old properties was impeded by the complicated legal situation regarding property ownership and restitution claims in the wake of German reunification. From the very start, Leipzig's urban development strategy aimed at the conservation of the many buildings and quarters dating from the "Gruenderzeit" (a period of rapid industrial expansion after 1871), which are a major constituent of the overall appearance of the city. More than 85,000 apartments Building of Gruenderzeit from that era have been fully or partially refurbished and unfurbished/refurbished renovated since 1991. Consequently, only about one fifth of the 19th-century architectural fabric is in need of refurbishment or partially at risk today. Meanwhile, an "overlap" of developmental and social issues is promoting the development of less-favoured districts while refurbished "Gruenderzeit" quarters are enjoying increasing popularity as attractive residential areas. STEP W+S In 2000, the urban development plan STEP W+S was passed. It matches spatial and structural development strategies to create a transparent frame of reference for municipal activities to boost the competitiveness of the existing residential space. The city council's strategy aims at Strategy of competitiveness promoting the existing potential while ensuring high quality STEP W+S [+] levels for each of the market segments: old refurbished buildings, large housing estates and single-family dwellings. For market consolidation purposes a reduction of the existing residential space by an estimated 30,000 residential units will be required by 2010. Apart from discontinuation, conversion and consolidation of 10,000 apartments, the structurally agreeable deconstruction of approximately 20,000 residential units has been planned. The use of subsidies from different development programmes will as far as possible be controlled via the target categories of STEP W+S.

Rietzschke Brook Green Belt


Less-favoured districts

Area (conceptual district plan of Leipzig's East) [+]

For the less-favoured districts in the eastern and western parts of the city, which require special urban development and renovation strategies, "conceptual district plans" have been created on the basis of STEP W+S. Some of these plans have a visionary quality regarding the districts' development prospects in the medium and long term. Take the idea of the "Rietzschke Brook Green Belt Area", where a new urban landscape with a much larger percentage of open spaces will be created by 2020 by means of concentrated deconstruction and a variety of land improvement measures. Instruments Classic land use planning plays only a subordinate role in the process of urban redevelopment. Far more important are an extensive cooperation between public authorities and private initiatives, the development of flexible concepts and means and the controlled use of public resources. Innovative approaches illustrate that there is room for creativity alongside traditional land use planning, and that this must be made use of. In Leipzig, such approaches include Townhouses - owneroccupied properties in the inner-city area of Leipzig [+]

intensive municipal public works, property counselling for owner-occupied properties in the innercity area, utilisation agreements between city council and owners for the creation of temporary public green areas on privately owned open spaces, and an "Alliance of Reason" between building cooperatives and the city council for the large housing estate of blocks of flats in Gruenau.


Urban development Economy
Leipzig's transition into a service centre with a stable foundation in industry and trade is supported by an extensive infrastructural development and the enhancement of Leipzig's immaterial location factors. Based on the Urban Development Plan Industrial Spaces ("STEP Gewerbliche Bauflächen") the City of Leipzig provides an extensive supply of business space by means of an on-demand development of new industrial estates and an improvement of existing commercial spaces. Moreover, the city council focuses its activities aimed at the enhancement of the city's location image while extending its inter-communal cooperation in order to strengthen the whole economic region.

General conditions of Economy and Infrastructure Though associated with the image of a city of trade and trade fairs, in 1989 Leipzig was first and foremost an industrial city. Since 1989, Leipzig's economy has been confronted by farreaching changes, the repercussions of which are still visible Employees of industrial sector in its structure and in the labour market: a massive loss of jobs in the secondary sector (80% by the mid-1990s) and an since 1989 [+] increase in unused inner-city spaces. The decisions by Porsche and BMW in favour of Leipzig as their new business location in 2000/2001 gave a fresh impetus to a positive reorientation of the city's economy. From 2005, the new BMW plant, which, with investments of approximately 1.3 billion Euros was one of the greatest single investments in all the states of the former East Germany, will be Leipzig's largest employer with 5,000 staff. BMW plant 2006, Photo: M. Several areas, such as suppliers, company-related services, Klindtworth [-> BMW] but also the housing and labour markets, expect a fresh impetus from this development, which will also boost growth as a centre of business and trade.


The extensive overhaul and development of the city's traffic infrastructure, including public transport, provided an important part of the foundation for the positive trends of recent years. Leipzig’s northern region continues to be of central importance in the infrastructural development of the city. The Trimodal traffic centre existing concentration of an intercontinental airport, Schkeuditzer Kreuz [-> GVZ] motorways, major interstate roads, regional and long-distance railway connections and the GVZ freight distribution centre has already benefited from complementary development. In 2003, the most important inner-city traffic development project of the next few years startet with the construction of the City Tunnel, Leipzig's first underground line. There have been positive developments in the service industry and trade for which the New Leipzig Fair continues to provide the most important image. By being the TV broadcasting and administrative centre of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR), Leipzig ranks second (after Berlin!) among the most important media locations in the states of the former East Germany. Furthermore, it has been possible to New Trade Fair Leipzig [+] develop successfully the areas of research and innovation, for example, with the establishment of BioCity Leipzig and Fraunhofer-Institut. In 2004 and 2006, the Leipzig region was chosen by DHL und Amazon [DE] as the location for its new international hub in Europe resp. new fulfillment center. Moreover, the city's improved quality of housing and standard of living and the wide range of cultural, sports and recreational facilities have become additional important location factors. Nevertheless, the current situation in the labour market continues to be a cause for concern. The unemployment rate remains high, as it has not been possible to compensate for the great loss of jobs, especially in the early 1990s by a matching creation of jobs in the service industry. Urban Development Plan Industrial Spaces In 1996, the Urban Development Plan Industrial Spaces was developed with the aim of improving existing commercial spaces and gearing the development of new locations to requirements. Area IDs and the "business location information system" database (GEFIS) were introduced as marketing tools for business locations.

New recreational area Südraum Leipzig [+]


The current revision of the Urban Development Plan Industrial Spaces states that Leipzig possesses large supplies of high-quality industrial spaces which are quickly disposable. With the redrawing of communal administrative boundaries the rate of space that has been made available after 1990 increased to nearly 50 %. All in all Leipzig 2.250 ha of industrial space are available. In addition there are another 545 ha als middle- and longterm reserve ("development spaces").

GVZ freight distribution centre/Porsche, traditional inner-city industrial space, new building of a Mail-order business (Amazon) on a brownfield. Instruments The classic instruments of urban development and land use have lost their importance for the development of commercial sites. At the same time, cooperation between public and private players has become increasingly important. Therefore, Urban Development Plan Industrial Spaces controls the spatial focus and the location-related marketing of the Economic Development Office to foster such cooperation and, among other things, direct the flow of still in-dispensable subsidies.


Soziale Stadt Program Summary Published by the German Federal Ministry on Transport, Building, and Urban Affairs Berlin, July 2008 The Soziale Stadt, or “Social City” program is one of the more significant federal funding programs in Germany that has been used to address the needs of severely distressed neighborhoods. This summary outlines the main goals of the Soziale Stadt program, which is implemented on a neighborhood scale with the significant participation of neighborhood residents and local authorities. In Leipzig, Soziale Stadt programming, along with the Stadtumbau Ost funds, constitute a significant portion of the federal financing used for revitalization projects. Program monies are directed in large part at housing and urban renewal efforts but are also allocated to improve local education, immigrant integration programs, and workforce development.



The Programme “Social City” (Soziale Stadt)
The urban development programme “Social City” was launched in 1999 by the Fed­ eral Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS) with the aim of counter­ acting growing socio-spatial polarization in German cities and upgrading and stabi­ lizing deprived neighbourhoods. In addition to investing in the renovation and redevelopment of buildings and the living environment, the programme aimed from the outset to improve the living situation of neighbourhood residents. To this end, the Social City programme investment is to be pooled with funding from other departments. As part of the Social City programme, some 500 neighbourhoods in around 320 cities and communities were allocated funding of more than €2 billion in the period up to 2007. The federal government finances a third of the yearly programme; the Länder and municipalities bear the remaining two-thirds. Each year, some 50 new neigh­ bourhoods become programme areas. Since 2006 pilot projects in the fields of education, local economy and integration of migrants have also been eligible for Social City funding. In addition, supplemen­ tary labour market programmes such as the ESF Federal Programme “Social City – Neighbourhood Training, Economy and Work (BIWAQ)”, managed by the BMVBS, and “Local Social Capital (LOS)”, a project of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, are being implemented in the programme areas. Fur­ thermore, health promotion and sports initiatives have been launched for the first time against the backdrop of Social City programme areas. The programme works on the premise of area-based, socio-spatial action and active resident participation. This also represents a new challenge for local authorities which often believe this will entail little more than a “minor local government reform”. Thus, it was not without reason that the Social City was understood from the outset as a “learning programme” at all levels – federal, Länder, municipal, neigh­ bourhood level – which had to be open to change. And this still applies today. Since the programme was launched nine years ago, the Social City has not only established a name for itself in professional circles, but also among local players – first and foremost, residents in the deprived neighbourhoods which receive funding. Surveys, evaluation reports and, not least, the diverse experiences of field workers confirm that much has changed for the better in the programme areas. This applies particularly to how residents perceive the situation in their neighbourhood. There has been a range of feedback, including the assertion that much has been accom­ plished in improving the living environment in the neighbourhood (projects concern­ ing modernization of housing and improvement of the physical environment, among other issues, have made a visible, profound impact), and the conviction that quality of life and the prevailing mood in the neighbourhood has improved, and that it has been integrated into the city as a whole. The Social City is a successful programme. Despite its inability to solve overriding structural problems such as unemployment and the resulting low income, which can hardly be expected of a micro-spatial approach, the programme has enhanced the



The Programme “Social City” (Soziale Stadt)

living environment and set important benchmarks for training, education and par­ ticipation of neighbourhood residents. The Social City programme serves as a key point of reference for the future of national and international urban development. The “National Urban Development Policy Initiative” and the “Leipzig Charter”, adopted during the German presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2007, stress the importance of the approaches employed by the programme which comprise integrated urban development in con­ junction with interdepartmental cooperation and pooling of resources.

Strategic Approaches in the Social City Programme
Key to the implementation of the Social City programme are the strategic approaches of personnel and financial resource pooling, empowerment and partic ipation, as well as the creation of suitable organizational structures required in city government and in neighbourhoods. The framework for this comprises a clear area based focus and the resulting integrated development concepts. Furthermore, suc­ cessful programme implementation is dependent on monitoring systems, which accompany processes and feedback from evaluations. Overall, socio-spatially oriented activities on all steering and implementation levels can be observed in the Social City programme. Cooperation between the Federal Ministries of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, of Labour and Social Affairs as well as of Health is an indication of progress concerning resource pooling at federal level. Numerous success stories have already been reported at municipal and neighbourhood level. In the neighbourhoods, there is still room for improvement, above all in the field of mobilizing outreach, target-group oriented work. There are very few systematic and comparative findings concerning the qualitative design of neighbourhood manage­ ment. The same applies to the question of which players designate and delineate programme areas and what criteria they apply to do this. Whereas evaluations have been conducted or are in progress in many programme areas, there are relatively few monitoring systems in place.

Fields of Activity in Focus
Housing and urban regeneration
From the outset the field of activity “Housing and urban regeneration” has been a core element of programme implementation. Numerous other fields of activity are linked to these structural and urban development measures. The central strategic fields of activity include modernization of buildings, enhancing living environments, measures promoting social stability and homeownership, and diversification of serv­ ices. It has been noted that measures are being implemented primarily in the area of


Fields of Activity in Focus


living environment and public space, while projects concerning housing provision and the housing industry often assume a relatively minor role in the programme. Investment measures are increasingly being supplemented by projects concerning social issues, above all in areas where large housing companies are key players in neighbourhood development. In the last few years, sale of urban housing has been on the increase. When drawing up contracts, particular attention must be paid to securing municipal and resident interests in the long term.

School and education
In the course of implementing the Social City programme, the field of activity “School and education” has continually grown in importance in conjunction with issues concerning social and labour market integration. Several factors play a key role here, including schools’ openness to new teaching methods and possible ways to provide individual support for pupils, and the opening up of schools to neighbour­ hoods and their residents (premises, services). Issues such as “Transition from educa­ tion to professional life” can only be elaborated if extended cooperative forms are established with other players involved in neighbourhood development. The ideal solution would be to create a district based “educational management” body.

Integration of immigrants
In the last few years, the integration of immigrants has become a core area of pro­ gramme implementation. It received a considerable boost with the National Inte­ gration Plan, a federal government initiative, which was elaborated in 2007 with the broad participation of all social groups. A core theme of this joint integration strat­ egy is “local integration ”. Integration strategies in neighbourhoods include promo­ tion of language learning and education, fostering the ethnic economy, improving opportunities for immigrants to participate and contribute, and heightening the intercultural awareness of local government and social facilities. In general, it is eas­ ier to achieve results concerning local integration if neighbourhood projects are supported by a coherent, city-wide integration policy. However, such a policy is lack­ ing in many places. There is also room for improvement regarding utilization of neighbourhood managers with immigrant backgrounds.

Health promotion
Despite playing a subordinate role in programme implementation, the issue of health promotion is gaining importance in the Social City. This is due to various fac­ tors, including the cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Health, which began in 2007. Estab­



Fields of Activity in Focus

lished district based health promotion strategies include the creation of health­ related networks, the development of low-threshold and target-group related health promotion services and creation of infrastructural roots for these measures in the form of health care centres, health shops and health clubs. In order to strengthen this field of action, it is particularly important to improve ways of incorporating players from health authorities in the implementation process of the programme.

Local economy
Local economic strategies aim to combat the most acute problems in deprived urban areas, namely unemployment, reliance on government transfer payments, poverty and declining local business and trade structures. Strategies include supporting cor­ porate development and business start-ups, developing measures to promote employment and training and strengthening the economy of the local community. During programme implementation, however, it has become apparent that despite gaining in importance, strategies and actions in the field of local economy are rela­ tively difficult to implement in the Social City programme areas. Problems which arise at supra-local level can rarely be solved in a neighbourhood context and, up until now, it has proved difficult to contact private businesses within the scope of neighbourhood development. It is therefore necessary to intensify local business development, promote targeted participation of local entrepreneurs, strengthen the ethnic economy and make provisions for the regional contexts of economic growth.

Employment promotion
The Social City’s key objectives comprise creating access to training and the labour market, particularly for the long-term unemployed and young people, boosting the local economy with a view to creating new training positions and jobs, and fostering a sense of community and civil society structures. The special programme “Local employment, education and participation” was launched in 2006 and followed by the ESF Federal Programme “Social City – Neighbourhood Training, Economy and Work (BIWAQ)” in 2008 to pursue these goals. For the first time, these programmes are enabling socio-spatially oriented promotion of labour market projects in the Social City programme areas. In terms of content, the projects exhibit similarities in terms of their integrated development concepts, utilize investment in construction measures provided by the Social City programme, such as district and neighbour­ hood centres, and are implemented in consultation with relevant local players. The BIWAQ programme is expected to run between 2008 and 2015 in two stages. Each funding period will last a maximum of four years. A total of €60 million has been pro­ vided by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS), and €104 million by the European Social Fund (ESF).


Impact of the Social City Programme


Impact of the Social City Programme
The Social City programme has triggered positive changes, in particular with regards to the design of living environments, quality of housing and provision of socio-cultural infrastructure. It has also succeeded in improving the quality of community life in many areas, often improving the neighbourhood image at the same time. The programme’s further achievements include expanding opportunities for participation and empowerment of residents and other central players. However, a more differentiated picture emerges with regard to the fields of activity which have proved pivotal for programme implementation. While considerable progress and improvements have been reported in the areas of school and education and the integration of immigrants, much still needs to be done to reach objectives set in the field of local economy. A wide range of positive results have been noted in the political-administrative and strategic fields of programme implementation. These include the programme’s capacity to motivate local government to function in a more cooperative manner, successful pooling of Social City programme funds with those designated for nonstructural measures and advances in the networking of local players, institutions and initiatives. There is, however, room for improvement concerning the spatial orientation of several municipal departments and the accessibility of various segments of the population and groups of stakeholders, such as immigrants, businesses and house-owners. Since 2006 BMVBS has also enabled financing of pilot projects and initiatives in the fields of local economy and employment policy, youth and educational policy and the integration of immigrants within the Social City programme, several hundred pilot projects had already been launched by 2008. In doing so, the federal government is making a considerable contribution to resource pooling activities. In the majority of Länder this funding is authorized within the scope of competitions or similar competitive selection procedures. “Viable partnerships”, among other criteria, play a key role here. It is still too early to conduct an impact analysis of these initiatives due to their short implementation period. They have, however, helped the Social City programme considerably expand its networks and pooling of resources. The introduction of the pilot initiatives and the ESF programme has given a considerable boost to the Social City’s socio-political orientation.

The limited duration of the Social City programme and the requirement to gradually reduce apportionment of expenditures – as is stipulated in Article 104b of the Basic Law concerning financial assistance provided by the federal government – makes implementing sustainment strategies in programme areas and at the administrative level increasingly important. The task at hand is twofold: to maintain important projects, uphold configurations of stakeholders and networks in the neighbourhoods after termination of the special support period, and to ensure that the integrated




approach is permanently rooted at the administrative level. In reality, however, it has become apparent that developing sustainment strategies has yet to feature on the agenda of all Länder. In areas where such approaches are being tested, many players encounter, above all, problems securing the necessary long-term financial foundations. In general, the integrated approach without the additional incentive of Social City funding has proved a suitable strategy for the development of (not only) deprived neighbourhoods in only a handful of municipalities. More extensive experience sharing and more intensive research into this topic, among other solutions, can help develop sustainment strategies and measures.

Recommendations for the Continued Development of the Social City Programme
Federal and Länder level
1. The Social City programme has already succeeded in considerably improving physical and social living conditions in the programme areas. Furthermore, in many places it has led to the creation of sustainable networks and partnerships between various players from politics, administration, business, institutions and the local citizens. However, the number of new areas adopted by the programme each year is evidence alone that there is still much to be done before the Social City programme has reached all deprived neighbourhoods. It is therefore essential to continue the programme and to account for its financial requirements. 2. Interdepartmental cooperation and coordination should be strengthened further at both federal and Länder level. In doing so, particular efforts must be made to continue work in the fields of school and education, integration of immigrants, health promotion and local economy. The relevant departments should endeavour to create further ‘partner programmes’ to accompany the Social City programme. Furthermore, in the case of relevant specialized programmes at federal and Länder level, the responsible departments should identify priority areas in deprived urban neighbourhoods. 3. Despite evidence of considerable advances in the harmonization of federal, federal-Länder and Länder programmes, there is still much room for improvement. This applies to compatibility in terms of content, funding periods, application procedures and contact persons, inter alia. Furthermore, provision of comprehensive information concerning the possibilities of pooling various (funding) resources remains a desirable objective within the scope of a relevant website with an online database, for example, or in the shape of one stop agencies at Länder level. 4. Some areas of the Social City programme still lack integrated development concepts. In addition, many concepts exhibit deficiencies in terms of content. The Länder, as the programme initiating authority, should, therefore, make greater efforts within the scope of their monitoring and decision-making capacity to


Making Shrinking Cities Future-Proof: Urban Redevelopment in East and West Germany Published by the Goethe Institute, March 2009 By Wolfram Wallraf, translation by Jo Beckett This article provides an overview of another major source of federal funding for the redevelopment of East German cities (including Leipzig): the Stadtumbau Ost program. The Stadtumbau Ost program was created in 2002 to stabilize the existing housing market though targeted demolition of vacant residential properties and subsequent redevelopment of the land. The program also includes requirements for “integrated planning” across local government departments and was launched with an initial “competition” in 2001, in which Leipzig won second prize among cities with a population over 100,000 for its integrated plan for housing and urban renewal.


Making Shrinking Cities Future-Proof: Urban Redevelopment in East and West
Since cities have existed they have been undergoing redevelopment. Continual physical adaptation to constant changes is an inseparable part of the city as an existence form. In Germany this process has been urban development funding for

accompanied by decades.

The Bund-Länder (national-regional) programmes Stadtumbau Ost and Stadtumbau West (Urban Redevelopment East/West) react to particularly extreme economic, social and demographic upheavals that have been radically changing the general conditions of urban development in many East German regions and some West German ones since the beginning of the 1990s. Typical phenomena of such extreme problem clusters are deindustrialisation and rapid population decline, suburbanisation and erosion of city centres, growth in area and perforation of the urban structure, as well as functional deterioration and the infrastructure becoming more expensive. The role of urban redevelopment is limiting the structure and functionality of the urban population to a reduced level with regard to housing, businesses and infrastructure, but at the same time taking into account the demands on urban life and public services which are increasing in a qualitative sense and becoming more diverse. The shrinking city is to be made future-proof. The instruments of urban redevelopment are: Devising theoretical functional and physical concepts for the sustainable development of the whole city and its individual districts Demolition of superfluous housing stock, commercial premises and infrastructure facilities in line with an urban planning concept agreed with the owners Upgrading city centres and future-proof districts, including public areas, technical and social infrastructure as well as housing stock


Maintaining or reclaiming a compact city by means of land use management, channelling investments towards inner-city sites, prevention of further suburbanisation Stadtumbau Ost The Bund-Länder programme Stadtumbau Ost was finalised on 15th August 2001 and was scheduled to run from 2002 until 2009. The budget volume of the programme totalled 2.56 thousand million Euro. Financial aid from the government (Bund) amounted to 1.02 thousand million Euro. The new Länder were to put up complementary funding to at least the same value as the government. Local authorities were charged one-third of the costs for upgrade measures within the framework of the development scheme. The Bund-Länder agreement for the programme stated that at least half of the funding had to be used for deconstruction or demolition of housing. This ruling was made more precise with the 2007 administration agreement, to the effect that the states were to use at least 50 per cent of the government funding provided for upgrading districts. Demolition of housing The government guarantees a subsidy of up to 30 Euro per square metre of living area for deconstruction or demolition of unoccupied housing, which is topped up to the same value by the Länder. The local authorities do not carry any of these costs. A condition of the funding is that demolition is carried out in an area listed as eligible for funding and complies with the urban planning objectives of that city’s development concept. As of 2007/2008, demolition of old buildings as well as locally typical or listed structures is no longer eligible for funding. Landlords whose existence is at risk are also compensated at a rate of 70 Euro per square metre towards outstanding debts on demolished accommodation. The cost of this totals 1.1 thousand million Euro. Before the programme finishes, a total of 350 000 houses are to be taken out of the market. Between the start of 2002 and the end of 2007, 220 000 houses had been demolished already. With the demolition volume achieved, they have at least succeeded in halting the growth of unoccupied stock, which stabilises the housing market as a whole and has improved the general conditions for private investment in housing stock somewhat. In the new Länder (without Berlin) the number of unoccupied houses fell from 824 000 to 780 000 between 2002 and 2007 (minus 5 per cent). However simply in quantity there has so far only been demolition of the excess that ended up on the market as a result of the development schemes in the 1990s (asset depreciation in new multi-storey buildings, renovation of old buildings, grants for privately-owned homes). The actual adaptation to the demographic change is still pending. All predictions assume that further slumps in housing requirement will come from 2010 onwards, because the number of households in all the former East German


states will shrink significantly. Between 2007 and 2020 a reduction of at least 2.5 per cent is expected. That results in a loss of 210 000 households and is approximately on the same scale as the number of houses that have been demolished so far. Because of this, the steering group for evaluating the Stadtumbau Ost programme has come to the conclusion that at least a further 347 000 houses have to be demolished between 2008 and 2016, 217 000 of which after the programme year 2009. Upgrading districts and modernising living conditions The Stadtumbau Ost upgrade programme includes measures for adaptation of the urban infrastructure, modernisation or demolition of public buildings, subsequent use of demolition sites, urban redevelopment planning as well as subsidies for modernising living conditions. On principle these measures are paid for one-third each by the government, Länder and local authority. Financing the local authority share is often a problem. The greater the structural upheaval and therefore the pressure for action in a city, the more complicated the budgeting situation usually is, and the more the financial capacity to act is reduced. For this reason the local authority contribution for financially weak cities in budget consolidation can be reduced to 10 per cent as of 2007. In total the government has spent a good 320 million Euro on funding upgrade measures in urban redevelopment between 2002 and 2007 (including infrastructure adaptation and structural safety measures). Approximately the same sum was contributed by the Länder. The upgrade measures concentrate on city centres and social infrastructure. In combination with other instruments of urban development (renovation areas, monument protection etc.) they have made a significant contribution towards revitalisation and increasing attractiveness in many historic town centres or city centres. However the big differences between the city structures, problem households and influential groups in individual cities have resulted in a noticeable differentiation between “winners” and “losers” in urban redevelopment. “Intelligent shrinking” has not been a great success everywhere. What causes particular problems are large estates of industrial housing, where modernisation and demolition frequently happen with little coordination, and original residential districts in large cities with fragmented ownership structures, where the Stadtumbau instruments have so far not taken hold sufficiently. Stadtumbau West A research area on the subject of urban redevelopment in the West was set up back in 2002 within the framework of “Experimenteller


Wohnungs- und Städtebau” (Experimental Housing and Urban Development) (ExWoSt), in which 16 pilot cities took part. The duration of the programme was 6 years. For this the government provided funding to the value of 30 million Euro, which was topped up again by the Länder and local authorities involved. The Bund-Länder programme Stadtumbau West started in 2004. It is financed one-third each by the government, Länder and local authorities. Between 2004 and 2008 a total of 738 million Euro was put into Stadtumbau West. In the year 2009 the government will spend a further 76 million Euro. At the moment around 300 local authorities are taking part in the programme. The objective is along the lines of Stadtumbau Ost, in that it provides support for local authorities in managing economic, demographic and social change. The idea is to create sustainable urban structures on the basis of urban development concepts. Creating new urban qualities Cities that are most eligible for funding are those that suffer most from the economic structural change and/or are struggling with building inoccupancy and poor social conditions caused by low housing demand and different expectations of housing quality. Among others, this affects the former coal and steel cities, but also some medium-sized and small towns that have lost their main employer after the only large factory or military base has closed. The programme incorporates the following key points: Formulation and adjustment of integrated urban development concepts as a planning basis for sustainable urban redevelopment Upgrading urban areas affected by economic and military structural change, among other things by re-using or converting brownfield sites Adapting residential areas from the 1950s to the 1970s to current requirements, creating future-proof, family-friendly living conditions that will span across the generations Avoiding unoccupied stock by modernising and regenerating, reduction of unoccupied structural stock by demolition Similarly to Stadtumbau Ost the aim is to achieve parity of fund allocation for upgrade and deconstruction projects. The focal points of investment are upgrading the city centres (particularly the central old town districts and cityscapes that give places their identity), as well as (re)vitalisation of underused or disused industrial sites.


The future of Stadtumbau Ost and Stadtumbau West With regard to housing construction, the action priority is matching supply with demand by redeveloping and modernising housing stock. As well as clearing housing that is not market-viable, the priority is to create new urban qualities and attractive living conditions that are appropriate to the demographic change and ecological challenges. In this respect, many Stadtumbau West projects should serve as models of sustainable housing and urban planning in public-private partnership, under the label “Quality offensive for housing stock”. The Stadtumbau Ost programme is set to continue until 2016. The Stadtumbau West programme is not subject to a time limit. In the mid-term it would be more efficient, more effective and ultimately fairer to continue both programmes nationwide as special urban development funding for local authorities with particularly extreme structural problems. A perspective like this will come about for the time after 2016, when the Solidarity Pact II that was agreed between the Länder and the government to reduce extra expenses resulting from German reunion will have expired, by means of the Länderfinanzausgleich (financial equalisation scheme between the Federal Government and the Länder). Literature Viewpoint and recommendations of the steering group with regard to evaluation of the Bund-Länder programme Stadtumbau Ost – für lebenswerte Städte und attraktives Wohnen (for cities worth living in and attractive living) and for continuation of the programme beyond 2009, May 2008 Dr. rer. pol. habil. Wolfram Wallraf is a freelance urban researcher and planner. He focuses on urban development concepts, district planning as well as project control and moderation in urban regeneration. He has lectured in Berlin, Salzburg, Potsdam and Nagoya. Translation: Jo Beckett Copyright: Goethe-Institut e.V., Online-Redaktion March 2009


Interim Use: Opportunity for New Open Space Quality in the Inner City- The Example of Leipzig From the German Journal of Urban Studies, Vol. 46, 2007 No.1 By Astrid Heck and Heike Will This piece reflects on some of Leipzig’s innovations related to reuse of vacant land. One of the more interesting approaches to vacant property re-use detailed in the article involves contractual arrangements between private landowners and the city that allow for interim uses on vacant land for the term of the contract. The city generally creates new green spaces on the land as part of a revitalization strategy , while the owner is relieved of property taxes. The owner maintains his right to redevelop the property after the term of the contract.


German Journal of Urban Studies Vol. 46 (2007), No. 1 - Interim Use: Opportunity for New Open-SpaceQuality in the Inner City The Example of Leipzig
Astrid Heck and Heike Will

Interim Use: Opportunity for New Open-SpaceQuality in the Inner City - The Example of Leipzig
Abstract: Too few residents, too many dwellings, and too much land – after years of growth, the densely populated Gründerzeit districts in West and East Leipzig, as well as the large housing estate Grünau are having to cope with vacancies and infill sites. Unused land often conveys a negative image, weakening the competitiveness of the districts concerned. But this redundant land also offers opportunities for the enduring improvement of residential quality in the neighbourhood and for tackling urban structural problems anew. The temporary use of sites is an approach which keeps all development options open for property owners and local authorities while improving the situation in the short term. Leipzig has gained a wide range of experience in this experimental field over recent years, from which it has learned a great deal.

1. Introduction
The loss of physical, societal and social density generates new patterns of urban space and its use. The “compact city” with short distances and highly frequented squares is becoming a sporadic phenomenon, and urbanity as we know it is giving way to a lifestyle determined by more space and new time budgets. Only in flexible and innovative structures can existing sites, niches, and spaces be creatively conquered and appropriated. The potential offered by the newly won open spaces for greater individuality and an enhanced sense of life has to be realised against the constraints imposed by economics, the infrastructure, and the housing industry. Surprising local developments confirm the rule, demonstrating the impossibility of conclusive control over urban development. The actual amount of surplus land cannot be accurately predicted. Ready-made, inflexible notions of city cannot therefore do justice to the newly emerging, “relaxed” urban structures. Quality and quantity must define corridors of focal activity and development areas for the future. In this context, interim land use is becoming more and more important. The authorization agreement (Gestattungsvereinbarung) has been developed as a tool for the temporary activation


and planting of vacant building land. This is now seen as an innovative and market-appropriate “transitional solution” of advantage to both the city (new exploitable green areas, neighbourhood improvement, locational consolidation, private follow-up investment) and property owners (clearing and preparation of sites, securing building rights, relief from property tax, less vandalism). By enhancing the quality of housing and life, the city can improve its experience value and its reputation as a good place to live. Backed by consistent urban policy, lively, central neighbourhoods develop with a successful mix of uses, surrounded by attractive green belts and open spaces, which, because of their flexible basic structures can easily adapt to economic changes. Whether this vision becomes reality depends essentially on developments in the coming years, on whether the necessary adjustments can be made, especially in the economic field, in the property market, in building law, and in the social field.

2. Shrinkage as a Challenge for Urban Development in Leipzig
“More greenery, less density” is one of the mottos of Leipzig urban redevelopment strategy in search of a new approach to dealing with the loss of almost 100,000 inhabitants, 45,000 vacant dwellings, and 2,000 infill sites. More than almost any other city, the Leipzig cityscape is determined by Gründerzeit development from the late 19 th century. Some 80 per cent of old housing stock has been rehabilitated since 1990, so that the city’s hallmark development has been saved from further decay. Over the same period, demographic and economic developments have, however, caused considerable population losses with serious consequences for urban development. Despite slight gains in population since 2001, too many dwellings are still vacant in Leipzig. Even were the population to continue to grow, it would take decades to rehabilitate and reoccupy all buildings. In the light of current conditions and development forecasts, this cannot be expected. With the help of the urban development plan Housing Construction and Urban Renewal (STEP W+S), the Gründerzeit building stock was intensively inspected in 2000 and assigned to target categories on the basis of various assessment parameters. For the purpose of boosting urban cores, conceptual framework plans – embedded in an experimental field with a wide range of use and design structures – have been elaborated for focal STEP W+S activities in keeping with the “strengthening strengths – weakening weaknesses” principle. Taking the city as a whole, Leipzig has a great deal of space to offer and is hence well equipped for a range of development scenarios. Shrinkage and demographic overageing are doubtless challenges for future urban development. But what this means in practice, and how further developments can be dealt with remain to be seen. No patent recipes have been found to date, so that only innovative procedures can generate functioning and promising approaches for the city


of tomorrow. As difficulties and the concomitant imponderables grow, the need for planning and action increases, for shrinkage is more difficult to control than growth. The indispensable consolidation of the housing market through demolitions, closures or combinations requires the counterweight of positive development prospects for neighbourhoods if residential quality is to improve and residents continue to identify themselves with the area. For this reason the “classical” urban renewal process must not be allowed to stagnate. Existing, formal planning tools (preparatory land-use plan, landscape plan, binding land-use plan, etc.) and strategies (e.g., neighbourhood improvement areas, Urban Redevelopment East, building protection programmes, or land management) must be further developed to provide scope for action in urban renewal. Existing planning and models must be examined and rethought in the light of shrinking cities. But how does a city put such measures into practical effect where “classical” control tools find only limited application? In the past, Leipzig has tried out a range of tools and assessed their suitability. Particular attention has been given to the open-space related revitalisation of infill and redundant sites and vacant buildings.

3. "New Edges in the City:" Revitalising Vacant Land as Open Space
Can a new type of city, less dense, with more greenery and greater individuality be created on the basis of growing open space? Today Leipzig has innumerable infill and vacant sites, from Gründerzeit plots to abandoned industrial sites, mostly given over to no recognisable use. Then there are developed sites where the structural fabric is acutely endangered, so that the number of infill sites is unlikely to diminish significantly even in the medium term, for example through the construction of town houses or commercial and industrial development, despite revitalisation. Unused sites often convey a negative image, weakening the competitiveness of the districts concerned vis-à-vis alternative locations. But these land resources also offer opportunities for taking a new approach to existing urban structural problems under completely changed conditions. In many Gründerzeit neighbourhoods, new, hitherto unsuspected qualities are emerging in the residential environment. Room is being created for parks, gardens, playgrounds, art, and culture. Forms of housing become possible that have so far been conceivable only on the urban fringe. Low rents and property prices permit individual accommodation in generous living space surrounded by abundant greenery and open spaces. “New edges” emerge in the city, markedly enhancing its attractiveness and vitality.

4. The Authorization Agreement
Ensuring that land is available is an important precondition for purposive action on the part of the municipality, for over 80 per cent of unused sites in Leipzig are in private ownership and are not automatically available for revitalisation purposes. Only in special cases can the Leipzig municipality acquire properties for the creation of open spaces, not least of all owing to the city’s precarious financial situation.


Figure 1: Former loading station in West Leipzig before conversion.

Picture: Stadt Leipzig, Amt für Stadterneuerung und Wohnungswesen. Figure 2: The new Henriette Park in West Leipzig

Picture: Stadt Leipzig, Amt für Stadterneuerung und Wohnungswesen.


In order to exploit the development potential of existing vacant land and infill sites in spite of this situation, the Leipzig municipality developed a new, informal tool in 1999, the authorization agreement (Gestattungsvereinbarung). Such agreements regulate the beneficial, limited-term public use of vacant private properties without detriment to existing building rights, and is concluded between the municipality and private owners. This allows measures to be taken against the negative impact of desolate, disorderly sites, generating a dynamic system of open spaces. In principle, every undeveloped site could be temporarily planted with the aid of an authorization agreement. However, to ensure that the available resources are put to reasonable use, a marked spatial concentration is practised. Sites are short-listed on the basis of conceptual district plans within focal areas. The selection criteria for negotiating and concluding agreements include the site’s urban development importance and its impact on the environs, as well as the cooperative will of the owner. Owners make their property available for public use for a period of at least ten years. The municipality contributes to planning and implementation costs within areas designated as eligible for support (e.g., neighbourhood improvement areas, Socially Integrative City areas) and coordinates the realisation of the measures. Since planting is temporary, minimal costs are imposed: simple gardening measures have to suffice to create nevertheless high-quality open spaces. The authorization agreement involves rights and duties for both contracting parties, although the advantages for all concerned predominate: Advantages for the city Enhancement of the attractiveness of inner-city locations compared with surrounding areas, Neighbourhood improvement for an attractive investment climate (e.g., home ownership), Creation of additional open spaces for public use, Remedying the lack of greenery and activation of vacant open spaces, Duty of the owner to ensure maintenance and traffic security. Advantages for the owner: Subsidised clearance of derelict sites (“building land improvement”), Real property tax relief for the term of the agreement, Reduction of running costs (sewage, vandalism, etc.), Safeguarding and provision of building sites.


As a rule, site clearance is paid for with the aid of grants, minimising risks and preventing further deterioration. The dwelling environment and impact on the public space are enhanced, with positive consequences for the entire residential area. The authorization agreement also provides for property tax relief for the contractual term, which can be applied for by the owner without formality. The statutory basis is Section 32 (1) no. 2 of the Real Property Tax Act: “Relief from real property tax is to be granted for public green spaces, playgrounds and sports grounds if the annual costs generally exceed the gross return.” In the event of renewed development of the site, newly plant trees can be transplanted or felled. There is no obstacle to the building development of the site in conformity with urban development objectives. Where an authorization agreement is involved, and hence temporary planting, this is taken into account in applying the tree protection ordinance to overcome any barrier the ordinance may provide to interim planting measures. The situation is similar with regard to the impact mitigation rules applicable in the outer zone. Authorization agreements concluded to date have concerned land located in the inner zone (builtup area) – Section 34 of the Federal Building Code. In this area, sites can generally be developed without restrictions and without any impact mitigation obligation, even where there are trees.

5. Functions of Temporarily Planted Land
Temporarily planted sites can perform various functions, depending on their location and size. Interlinking Open SpacesBy integrating private land into open-space development, a lack of overall interconnection between open spaces can be remedied. Depending on their location, even single sites can suffice to establish continuous open spaces. The average size of the green “stepping stones” is between 400 and 600 square metres. With the “Dark Wood,” for example, the Conceptual District Plan for East Leipzig provides for the demolition of dilapidated building stock and the generation of a “green edge” to the south of an arterial road with a link to a neighbouring allotment garden area. In various places in the district, a link-up between sites can thus be established at low cost and by unconventional means, satisfying not only functional needs but also ecological requirements. Neighbourhood Green SpacesAuthorization agreements help not only to improve interconnections between open spaces but also in creating neighbourhood green spaces. Former industrial sites are suitable for this purpose, as are larger, continuous areas. A basic spatialfunction concept satisfies the requirements for a usable open space and can be elaborated further for the particular location, depending on the site’s significance for urban development and the ownership and financial situation. The open spaces thus created considerably upgrade the district, ensuring a positive image, and, owing to their nature and impact, often attract attention beyond the bounds of the district. One successful example is the redesign of a former industrial site in Leipzig-Kleinzschocher. After demolition of the ruined industrial buildings, a new open space has come into being offering new opportunities for activities by various age groups. Improvement of the Residential EnvironmentThe design and upgrading of isolated infill sites makes an important contribution to improving the residential environment. Unlike


neighbourhood-related green spaces, the focus in this case is on the direct improvement of dwelling environs with an immediate impact on adjacent properties. Nearby greenery upgrades existing housing and makes it easier to let. Seating, tenant gardens, or open meadowland provide for attractive appearance and form a “green buffer” until the infill lot can eventually be redeveloped. In ideal cases, infill sites are used and maintained directly by abutting neighbours for recreational purposes. Figure 3: Temporarily planted former industrial site in Leipzig-Kleinzschocher

Picture: Astrid Heck, Leipzig. Taking StockSo far, 130 authorization agreements have been concluded for 250 plots, and some 160,000 square metres of large and small, striking and unspectacular green and open spaces have come into being, graphically demonstrating the many possibilities of temporary planting measures. Interim planting projects have succeeded in considerably supplementing and upgrading the stock of permanent green and open spaces. In keeping with conceptual framework planning, various open spaces have been established with “little money and a big impact,” making an important contribution to consolidating and strengthening the inner city, and which constitute a new type of open space pointing the way to successful urban redevelopment. Many interim uses have meanwhile taken on an increasingly permanent character. Only two authorization agreements have so far been terminated before the end of the contractual period,


whereas the first agreements to run out are currently being extended. This development, too, shows that interim planting is to be regarded as a permanent factor in urban development. Owing to tighter local authority funding, however, the implementation of further authorization agreements in Leipzig is declining, even though property owners have signalled steadily growing interest. In many cases, unfortunately, the discrepancy between clearance and production costs and municipal funding resources is now so great that the motivation for interim planting in the classical sense is suffering, calling for new development perspectives (see also section 7).

6. Administrative Control of the Urban Redevelopment Process
If the process of urban redevelopment is to succeed, new strategies for action and greater administrative flexibility are needed in addition to classical control tools. The temporary use of sites is an approach that keeps all development options open for property owners and local authorities while improving the situation in the short term. This is made possible by the temporal and substantive flexibility of interim planting, which allows local authorities and owners to design and activate existing sites in an uncomplicated fashion. However, this development can be controlled only to a certain extent, because renewed building development is possible at any time. Whether use is ever made of building rights depends on many, ultimately imponderable factors. Interim planting projects are, however, coordinated before realisation with the overall open-space concept of the city to avoid the “random factor interimness” thwarting rather than enriching established development concepts and thus enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of Gründerzeit neighbourhoods. This aspect also justifies property tax relief for the interim planting period. The Leipzig municipality waives tax revenue despite enormous financial difficulties. But designed temporary planting has a positive impact on the environs, remedying the lack of greenery in neighbourhoods. As a result, the population has risen slightly, bringing the city higher tax revenues and helping to balance the books.

7. Interim Planting and Civic Engagement
For years now, the supply of land available for public use in Leipzig has been increasing, and the interest in interim planting has not abated. However, two major factors will prevent the authorities from pursuing this development to the full. Firstly, the municipal budgetary situation leaves no room for carrying on as in the past. The funding is not available. Secondly, the conditions for concluding agreements are being more strictly interpreted. The Saxon Urban Development Regulation (VwV Stadtentwicklung) governs, among other things, the conditions for grants under authorization agreements. The far-reaching changes in urban development have necessitated revision of these conditions. As a result, minimum periods for interim planting and security in rem to be recorded in the land register have been imposed as minimum requirements.


In this situation, it is urgently necessary to strengthen private engagement in activating and revitalising available building sites and to safeguard the sustainable impact of the action taken. Strategies and concepts must accordingly be developed to integrate sponsorship and volunteer activities profitably into the process. One example is the initiative “Open Spaces for Residents’ Dreams” – Leipzig municipal land procurement. Initiative “Open Spaces for Residents’ Dreams”In order to improve support for private engagement, the Leipzig Office for Urban Renewal and Housing Construction Promotion (ASW) set up a contact point for property owners and users in 2005 in the context of the initiative “Open Spaces for Residents’ Dreams.” In cooperation with other municipal authorities, the ASW performs a coordinating and consultative function, bringing together potential users and property owners, issuing recommendations on private contracts, mediating and assisting in the conclusion of agreements, and, together with Local Agenda 21, is establishing a network of local actors and owners. The procurement of physical and financial resources from foundations and local business and promotion (press, posters, district presence) are further focal concerns of the project. The ASW issues information material and recommendations to answer frequently asked questions from owners and users on such subjects as liability, insurance, protection against accidents, and the conclusion of contracts. Figure 4: Land procurement network


Source: Own presentation On the basis of a private-law agreement, the property owner and the user settle all rights and duties involved in the revitalisation of a vacant site. They include: The subject matter and type of use, The period of use and, where appropriate, compensation for use, The state/transfer of the site and arrangements for possible fixtures and structures, Liability, encumbrances, and traffic safety. The model for such agreements include tenancy and leasehold agreements and contracts of loan (commodatum). Unlike the authorization agreement with subsequent public use, the focus in these cases is on mediating and promoting volunteer activities and neighbourhood interests in the use of the property. In the context of the initiative, people not only become involved in the process; they are encouraged to participate actively. The municipality promotes private activities by prospecting for, procuring, and placing sites. In some cases a financial grant can be provided to prepare sites. Space is thus created for putting creative ideas into effect. Neighbourhood Gardens in Leipzig-LindenauSince 2004, the Lindenau District Association has been running “neighbourhood gardens” on some 7,000 square metres in Leipzig-Lindenau. The idea developed from the Rossmarktstraße 30 family-friendly housing project, in which dwellings with a big garden were much in demand. A great deal has since been accomplished on the site round about Josephstraße: big and small garden plots, fireplaces, and sandpits, a clay oven, mains water supply, and a small toilette, a bicycle inventor workshop and woodwork shop. Owing to the continued high demand, the gradual extension of the neighbourhood gardens onto the adjacent vacant sites is planned. The long-term aim is to develop the block into a familyfriendly place to live with low physical density and an attractive, green living environment ( Meißner Straße Community GardenAnother example of civic engagement is the “Meißner Straße Community Garden,” a project of the Neustädter Markt Civic Association. After the demolition of ruined buildings, the building sites at 41-54 Meißner Straße became more and more neglected, throwing an adverse light on the entire surrounding area. After five years of patient work with various owners, local actors, and the Leipzig municipality, the first section of the garden (nos. 42-46) was ready for occupation in May 2005. Among other things, it accommodates the school garden of the Wilhelm Wander School. With the aid of use agreements, the neighbouring vacant sites are to be integrated into the garden.


Figure 5: Meeting point Meißner Straße Community Garden

Picture: Astrid Heck, Leipzig. First Successes:In addition to establishing working structures, taking stock of and updating existing tools for action, the “Opens Spaces for Residents’ Dreams” Initiative can, just over two years after its launch, report first successes in site procurement. A register currently lists over 175 sites within the bounds of the city. 25 have already been placed, and negotiations are underway on 15 further sites. Another 50 are now immediately available for placing. The Leipzig-Lindenau Neighbourhood Gardens and the Meißner Straße Community Garden in East Leipzig are good advertisements to attract further interested parties, for the supply of land available is much greater than prospective demand. This is because of the limited financial support available for preparing sites, the lack of infrastructure, and the generally short contract periods, which curb users’ willingness to invest.

8. Prospects
The redevelopment of vacant sites by means of interim planting is beginning to have clearly perceptible effects. Large areas of the city have meanwhile become interesting residential locations. The population is growing.


This successful strategy is being continued, and the steady development of property brokerage will remain a function in urban development. The aim is to generate additional use potential and interest in existing infill sites in the city, particularly by activating private engagement. However, despite positive developments, the planned activities and measures leave a multitude of questions unanswered. Owing to the extremely tight local government budgetary situation, less and less money is available for activating vacant land. With declining resources and a growing amount of land to be dealt with, existing parks, squares, and paths can no longer be maintained at the same level and standard as in the past. Methods and ideas need to be developed to advance the strategies of “less density,” “more greenery,” and “greater individuality” as the urban vision of the future. There are not inconsiderable indications that this is succeeding in Leipzig.

Fieseler, Hans-Georg (2004): Gestattungsvereinbarung zur befristeten Nutzung von Baulücken, in: VSR Verlag Satz und Repro GmbH (Hrsg.): Sanierungsratgeber Leipzig 2004. Leipzig, 38– 40. Gormsen, Nils/Kühne, Armin (2000): Leipzig. Den Wandel zeigen, Leipzig. Liebmann, Heike/Robischon, Tobias (2003): Städtische Kreativität – Potenzial für den Stadtumbau, Erkner und Darmstadt. Lütke-Daldrup, Engelbert/Doehler-Behzadi, Marta (2004): PlusMinus Leipzig 2030, Wuppertal. Stadt Leipzig (2005): Monitoringbericht 2005, Leipzig. Stadt Leipzig (2005): Stadterneuerung und Stadtumbau in Leipzig gestern – heute – morgen, Leipzig (Beiträge zur Stadtentwicklung, No. 43). Stadt Leipzig (2003): Stadtentwicklungsplan Wohnungsbau und Stadterneuerung (STEP W+S), Fassung 2003, Leipzig. Verwaltungsvorschrift des Sächsischen Staatsministeriums des Innern über die Vorbereitung, Durchführung und Förderung von Maßnahmen der Städtebaulichen Erneuerung im Freistaat Sachsen (VwV-StBauE) vom 29.11.2002.


Appendix: Shrinking Cities in the United States How to shrink a city By Drake Bennett Boston Globe September 5, 2010


How to shrink a city
Not every great metropolis is going to make a comeback. Planners consider some radical ways to embrace decline.
By Drake Bennett | September 5, 2010 Since cities first got big enough to require urban planning, its practitioners have focused on growth. From imperial Rome to 19th-century Paris and Chicago and up through modern-day Beijing, the duty of city planners and administrators has been to impose order as people flowed in, buildings rose up, and the city limits extended outward into the hinterlands. But cities don’t always grow. Sometimes they shrink, and sometimes they shrink drastically. Over the last 50 years, the city of Detroit has lost more than half its population. So has Cleveland. They’re not alone: Eight of the 10 largest cities in the United States in 1950, including Boston, have since lost at least 20 percent of their population. But while Boston has recouped some of that loss in recent years and made itself into the anchor of a thriving white-collar economy, the far more drastic losses of cities like Detroit or Youngstown, Ohio, or Flint, Mich. — losses of people, jobs, money, and social ties — show no signs of turning around. The housing crisis has only accelerated the process. Now a few planners and politicians are starting to try something new: embracing shrinking. Frankly admitting that these cities are not going to return to their former population size anytime soon, planners and activists and officials are starting to talk about what it might mean to shrink well. After decades of worrying about smart growth, they’re starting to think about smart shrinking, about how to create cities that are healthier because they are smaller. Losing size, in this line of thought, isn’t just a byproduct of economic malaise, but a strategy. The resulting cities may need to look and feel very different — different, perhaps, from the common understanding of what a modern American city is. Rather than trying to lure back residents or entice businesses to build on vacant lots, cities may be better off finding totally new uses for land: large-scale urban farms, or wind turbines or geothermal wells, or letting large patches revert to nature. Instead of merely tolerating the artist communities that often spring up in marginal neighborhoods, cities might actively encourage them to colonize and reshape whole swaths of the urban landscape. Or they might consider selling off portions to private companies to manage. A few of these ideas are actually starting to be tried. In Detroit, a city that now has more than 40 square miles of vacant land, Mayor Dave Bing has committed himself to finding a way to move more of the city’s residents into its remaining vibrant neighborhoods and figuring out something else to do with what remains. A growing number of cities and counties are creating “land banks” to enable them to clear the administrative hurdles that previously prevented them from taking control of blighted blocks of abandoned homes. The idea remains controversial. Mayor Bing’s proposal has been fiercely criticized in Detroit, and some planners — along with many of the residents of blighted neighborhoods — argue that planned shrinkage is simply an excuse to stop helping the people in the worst-hit neighborhoods, and will only compound the pain that industrial decline and the housing collapse have had on the lives of poor and working-class residents. But to the proponents of the idea, it’s a recognition of reality, and, more than that, an opportunity to free struggling cities from a paralyzing preoccupation with past glories. At its most ambitious, smart shrinking offers an opportunity to rethink what makes a city a city: Some planners envision a landscape that isn’t


recognizably urban, suburban, or rural, but some combination of the three, with multistory apartment buildings next to working farms, and public transit lines extending through neighborhoods where most households have ample space to park their cars. “This is an area where five years ago basically nobody except a couple of academics and oddball planners were talking about it, and now it’s pretty widely accepted. You’ve got just a lot of land and a lot of buildings for which there is no quote redevelopment potential,” says Alan Mallach, an urban planning expert at the Brookings Institution. “Part of what you have to do is think about ways to use land that help improve the quality of life but don’t involve actual building.” The golden age of growth for the American city stretched from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. As immigrants from rural America and abroad flooded in, cities expanded outward, annexing more and more of the surrounding land. By the 1920s, however, suburbs in many parts of the country began to incorporate and to assert home rule, hemming cities in. At the same time, the middle class began to migrate to the suburbs, leaving the cities to the poor. That meant less tax revenue and higher social services costs, and the process of outmigration fed on itself. As the manufacturing industries that had driven the original growth moved abroad or died out in the decades after World War II, cities from St. Louis to Chicago to Baltimore stopped growing in population and began to dwindle. Some forms of shrinking are more destructive than others. In Boston, for example, much of the population loss came from a reduction in family size, with the number of households remaining roughly the same. In Detroit and Cleveland, however, the decline left large portions of the city barely populated at all. And the recent nationwide collapse in housing prices has only exacerbated the trend, taking a process that had been occurring gradually and sharply accelerating it. “For the first time, places like Detroit and Youngstown are realizing that they are not going to regain the population that they lost,” says Daniel D’Oca, an urban planner and partner at the planning and architecture firm Interboro Partners who has studied Detroit’s abandoned lot problem. Cities like Detroit have suffered from a collapse in tax revenue. They have to deal with block upon block of buildings that have been left to the elements and a frayed urban fabric where the last holdouts from once-bustling neighborhoods now are isolated among vacant homes and lots. As a result, simply providing basic services like garbage collection, electricity, policing, and firefighting becomes more expensive and more difficult. Today whole sections of Detroit and Cleveland and Youngstown look like ghost towns: boarded-up houses everywhere, boarded-up office buildings, schools, even hospitals and train stations alongside vacant lots, with wild animals creeping back in. But though the trend is decades old, urban planners have only recently begun to think about shrinking not as a setback on the path to future growth but as a condition to be actively managed. It’s a radical shift. “It’s so contrary to what most planners do, it’s contrary to what we spend our time teaching students, [which is] all about how do you manage growth and accommodate growth,” says Joseph Schilling, who teaches urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech University and helped launch the National Vacant Properties Campaign. “The challenge for planning is how do you adapt existing tools and planning strategies to deal with an economy and market that is either totally dysfunctional or will have maybe slow, modest growth at best.” Part of the difficulty planners face in thinking about the problem is that there are no real case studies of managed urban shrinking in the United States. There is, however, some precedent abroad. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany, the former East Germany experienced a massive emptying, with waves of residents from cities like Leipzig, Dresden, and Jena leaving for the more prosperous west. Leipzig’s government in particular realized its diminished size would be a permanent condition and


responded accordingly. According to Tamar Shapiro, the director of the comparative domestic policy program at the German Marshall Fund, city officials set out to address the problems created by all of the empty homes abandoned by those who had left. Unmaintained, they were an eyesore, and as they fell apart, a danger. They dragged down the value of the surrounding properties and left hollowed-out neighborhoods that attracted squatters and crime. But since eminent domain was all but unheard of in Germany and the city couldn’t afford to buy out the remaining landowners in the largely abandoned neighborhoods, officials came up with something else, a new kind of land-use contract in which private owners signed over control to the city for a period of several years in exchange for not having to pay property taxes. The government was free to do what it wanted with the space — which was usually tearing down the buildings to create parks and other green spaces — and if the city’s population were to begin to grow again, the owner would be able to develop the land again when the contract ended. Planners and city and state officials are beginning to look at similar ideas here in the United States. Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and several other cities have multiple nonprofits dedicated to turning vacant lots and blocks into parks. Many of the plots are tended in some way, some are left to return to nature, perhaps with a trail or two through them. The aim is partly aesthetic, but also an attempt to increase the value of neighboring homes and neighborhoods by replacing vacant houses or other signs of blight with greenery. Other organizations are looking to turn vacant lots to more straightforwardly productive uses. Urban farms, for example, are spreading in several cities. These are not just community gardens, but largerscale operations meant to be viable commercial enterprises. One of the most successful is the Ohio City Farm, a 6-acre plot behind a large housing development across the Cuyahoga River from downtown Cleveland. The farm, still in its first growing season, produces over 100 varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables, and is worked by a few young entrepreneur farmers, residents of the housing development, and, thanks to a local nonprofit, refugees who have resettled in the area. The abundance of vacant land is also providing a better way to deal with storm water runoff, a serious problem for large cities. Because rainwater and sewage typically flow into the same pipes, large storms overload urban sewage systems, causing raw sewage to be dumped into surrounding waterways. Soil, of course, absorbs water much better than concrete. Cleveland and Philadelphia are now dotted with vacant lots that have been landscaped into so-called bioswales, patches of land with a slight gradient, loose soil, and vegetation, that collect storm water and filter out the pollutants it picks up as it flows over city streets — relieving some of the pressure on the sewage system. Some areas are being targeted as sites for green energy production. Lackawanna, N.Y., a former steel town just south of Buffalo, has a wind farm built over the ruins of a decrepit Bethlehem Steel plant. Terry Schwarz, a planner who heads the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and has worked extensively with the city to repurpose vacant lots, believes that some of the land could make good sites for landintensive energy sources like solar cells, or for geothermal wells to power adjacent buildings. Schwarz’s larger vision is of a city with a reduced ecological footprint. “We’re trying to take advantage of this moment to put a more sustainable pattern of urban development in place,” she says. “We want to delineate parts of the city where development probably shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.” One idea she and others are pushing is opening up the many creeks paved over during the construction of Cleveland. Doing so would leave the city braided with waterways, making it more pleasant and restoring a more natural water flow into the Cuyahoga River. Schwarz and other planners involved in these efforts argue that some of the lessons they’re learning about how to use open land as a form of green infrastructure could apply in cities that aren’t facing the


same population decline. “How you unearth a creek in the city, how you separate storm water and sanitation water, it’s part of thinking more productively about landscapes, about a more ecological urban form,” says Dan Pitera, an architect at the University of Detroit Mercy. All of these proposals, of course, merely shrink a city’s supply of inhabited land. Edward Glaeser, an urban economist at Harvard, argues that cities like Detroit might think of shrinking in a more fundamental way, selling off parts of the city to private entities. Those companies would then manage their parts of the city the way the holders of private charters governed colonies in the early days of North American settlement. Glaeser concedes that the idea is politically improbable. Still, he points out that recent decades have seen the rise of privately owned and managed housing developments throughout the suburbs — he’s just proposing trying it in the city. “You could think about the city shrinking not just in terms of the number of occupied homes, but that the city’s own political footprint would shrink, in the same sense that it expanded like crazy in the 19th century,” he says. Shrinking, as a strategy, certainly has its critics, who see it as a continuation of decades of coercive urban renewal strategies. Rather than trying to revitalize dying neighborhoods, shrinking simply gives up on them. “I’ve yet to be shown a city or a community that has been revived through shrinkage,” says Roberta Brandes Gratz, an urban critic and the author of the recently published “Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.” Proponents of shrinking readily agree that forcing people to move should, whenever possible, be avoided. But the larger issue, they argue, is that talking about shrinking or not shrinking is somewhat beside the point; these cities have already shrunk, and they need to reconcile their new population with a built environment meant for many more people. It’s a problem even the fastest-growing cities may someday face. “One hundred years ago, Cleveland wouldn’t have expected to be in the situation it is today,” Schwarz says, “but all cities grow and all cities decline and I think there are lessons that we can about how to manage decline that apply to all cities.” Drake Bennett is the staff writer for Ideas. E-mail
© Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company


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