Looking at urban renaissance, I think about previous lectures and lessons where we discussed and looked at the renaissance period in Italy and Rome and what it meant at that period of time as it related to art and start of a new era and a time of reform and where new ways of doing things began to emerge. This brings relating and corresponding topics such as Regeneration, as it relates to urban regeneration schemes that began to take place in major cities and the difficulties that arose in the process of conceiving new urban generation In this reflective piece, I intend to focus on certain cities such as Boston, Liverpool, and London to give a better understanding of the effort of regeneration that took place in those cities. These examples will be used to show the different regeneration schemes, the reason and also to make it noticeable of the period of time, how it began to have a great impact on the city itself and its residences.
As previously stated, the renaissance was a time of reform in Europe, and connect the topics of this reflective, ill say a form of regeneration of that period began to take place to solidify a place in the history books. Looking at what regeneration is in its broadest terms is the renewal of a system or body but in this case the renewal of a place. And in this regeneration, urban planning had a role to play.
To better understand this, I referred to the book by Stephen V. Ward “ Planning and Urban Change” where in the first chapter he begins to define that town planning by nature, is essentially concerned with shaping the future. Reading that first sentence and looking at the topic at hand, I was in complete agreement with it because of what governing bodies intentions were, in the cases of Boston, Liverpool, and London through their regeneration schemes.
The first example is Boston, in 1949, when the government invested funds for the conversion of old buildings that were affected after World War 2. This they tried to do constructing massive infrastructures and public facilities, and by doing this would require them to relocate residences, who were at a lower class in the income category, at which they got a lot of bad press as a lot of persons would be put out of their homes and their land taken from them.
Now the genesis of town planning was about radical ideas changing and improving the city. Which is why Liverpool decided to take steps and measures in regenerating their city as well as they felt it was declining in many aspects, such as popularity, jobs, residents and so on. Being the Most bombed cities in England, Liverpool and London, they began efforts to rebuild, maybe a bit quickly and cheaply, but what pushed development in Liverpool is them having a bad reputation for lacking inspiration, and sense of uniqueness within their city, and this pushed them to team up with private investors to fix this by designing a massive city center to accommodate residents, attract business and tourist. But in doing this, they require more land, which they acquired by buying it from persons that already owned them willingly and unwillingly and a lot of issues arose from the conception of this new project such as development agreement, Financing, where it began to cost more than what was estimated and that would inevitably create an increase in tax, and there was an overall lack of accountability. These are issues that develop in both Liverpool and London developments. Another concern in these developments was, in the case of East London, was not the lack of jobs that arose from the introduction of this project but of commuters being hired for them.
What I noticed is that in most cases, the destruction of a place serves as a catalyst for its growth. The same can be said for Liverpool, London and Paris, all places that went through a process of regeneration after wars that laid waste to their cities. From this we see, regeneration becomes a way to ensure and promote stability and strength of place and also in creating proper living environment for its residents.
• Boston Redevelopment Authority, “Planning, Overview”, Online, http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/planning/urban-renewal/overview, Accessed March 6,2016.
• Ward, Stephen V., (2004), “Planning and Urban Change”, Paul Chapman, London.
• Littlefield, David, (2012), “(Re)generation: Place, Memory, Identity”, Architectural Design (AD), Vol. 82 Issue 1, p8-13, 6p, John Willey & Sons Inc.