Final Reflection MCD Module International Urban Development UK

Erwin Heurkens, Master City Developer, Module 6, Birmingham UK, 1 July 2022

In the last week of June we travelled to London and Birmingham for the Master City Developer MCD module International Urban Development to study and visit UK urban regeneration projects, related to research themes 1) planning in a neoliberal context. 2) private-led public places, and 3) inclusive resilient neighbourhoods.

All in all, UK’s urban regeneration practice gave me the impression that it relies heavily on private sector development and investment decisions, with public planning policy becoming increasingly market-oriented and -driven. The main lessons for the Dutch urban development practice, in my view, are that cities:
1) can benefit from professional real estate actors that go the extra mile, in terms of spatial quality and economic and social impact;
2) also need substantiated public spatial investments that rely less on private value capturing mechanisms, in order to decrease the dependence on changing real estate market circumstances and demand, and thereby improving planning system’s vulnerabilities.

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