The Role and Function of Temporary Use in Urban Regeneration: The Case of England’s Core Cities

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Michael Martin

Abstract

This thesis discusses the role and function of the temporary use of urban space within the context of the development process and urban regeneration across the core cities of England. The research utilises the concept of gaps in the cycle of utilisation in land and property to develop a single structured analytical framework to assess the relationship between disuse, interim development as a means to alleviate vacancy and the property development industry. In doing so it attempts to extend existing efforts to interpret temporary urban development by exploring what the thesis comes to define as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘ordinary’ forms of short-term reuse. An exploratory, mixed method and multi-scalar approach is used to discuss this dichotomy. Research findings, through a national landscape of the phenomenon of temporary development in the core cities, highlight the characteristics of high profile compared to everyday temporary solutions. In doing so, it exposes the limited frequency of landmark interim solutions in comparison to their more mundane counterparts over a fifteen year period (2000-15). Set against this contextual and temporal backdrop, extraordinary temporary uses are demonstrated to be a marginal but emerging practice of land and property re-use, associated in particular with the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-08. Subsequent testing of the spatial distribution and patterning of temporary uses in two selected cities – Bristol and Liverpool – revealed that landmark interim solutions were more commonly centralised in cities than everyday versions, with disproportionately large shares in principal regeneration areas. Through a programme of interviews with key regeneration and development actors, connectivity to urban renewal was shown to be dependent on how the shape and form of local development processes evolve and how regeneration actors’ outlooks on temporary use vary over time, as institutional agendas shift and urban economic circumstances change. The thesis explores this shift in the function and emphasis of temporary development in England’s second tier cities, from ordinary, everyday forms toward cultural-creative, extraordinary solutions, to discuss the implications of employing high profile short-term uses as mechanisms to incentivise regeneration. Here, the use gap framework developed in this research is shown to be a useful method for conceptualising the rationale behind the variation in stakeholder perspective on temporary development. The model highlights how fluctuating externalities and the interrelating variables of risk, value and time can affect responses taken toward temporary development by the development industry, elucidating a more complete understanding of the role and function of temporary urbanism amongst the wider (re)development process. Ultimately, this thesis argues that while the consensus on temporary use is that it is an effective tactic to assist in the continuation of regeneration, it can also leave some temporary users exposed to the vicissitudes of the market. Extraordinary users bear a disproportionate share of the potential risks associated with development, often without commensurate reward. This illustrates how temporary use can engender opportunity for creativity and innovation as part of the regeneration process, but also, demonstrates how risk-shifting rationalities in the development industry can mean that economic, social and political costs accrue inordinately for temporary users. The research specifies that recognition of the locally specific and multi-dimensional nature of the development process and appreciation of the complexity of the interrelationships between the actors involved are of critical importance in any attempt to understand the role and function of temporary use. It concludes that by understanding the evolution of local structures and actions, over time and across space, the nature and form of temporary development can be better appreciated and strategies to successfully manage it developed.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Iain Deas (Supervisor)
  • Stephen Hincks (Supervisor)
Award date1 Aug 2018