Success and the city: learning from international urban policies

Document type
Leunig, Tim; Swaffield, James
Policy Exchange
Date of publication
29 February 2008
Community Development and Regeneration
Social welfare
Material type

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What are the successes and failures of urban regeneration policies in other developed countries? Which urban regeneration policies work? And why?  This paper conducts an in-depth examination of six different city-regions in five countries – Vancouver, Amsterdam, the Ruhr Area, Warsaw and Lodz, and Hong Kong. The authors use interviews with policy makers, local government officials, representatives of civil society, academics and ordinary citizens, in conjunction with quantitative data, to find out which urban regeneration policies are most effective.  The report looks for common themes that can inform the debate in Britain. Four key factors are identified:

  • Size matters: it helps to be the largest in the area, or at least the hub of the area.
  • Flexibility is important: where local areas are given more autonomy, regeneration appears easier.
  • Success requires knowledge, as well as freedom: local authorities need to be able to think for themselves, to develop and adapt, and to be both effective and accountable.
  • Location matters: geographic features and climate have an impact on success.

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