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Securing an urban renaissance

Securing an urban renaissance: Crime, community, and British urban policy

Rowland Atkinson
Gesa Helms
Copyright Date: 2007
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  • Book Info
    Securing an urban renaissance
    Book Description:

    This collection adds weight to an emerging argument that suggests that policies in place to make cities better places are inextricably linked to an attempt to civilize, pacify and regulate crime and disorder in urban areas, contributing to a vision of an urban renaissance which is perhaps as much about control as it is about the broader physical and social renewal of our towns and cities. The book has three key themes: the theories, strategies and assumptions underpinning the securing of 'Urban Renaissance'; the agendas of current urban policy in the field of crime control; and, thirdly, the role of communities within these agendas. The book provides focused discussions and engagement with these issues from a range of scholars who examine policy connections that can be traced between social, urban and crime policy and the wider processes of regeneration in British towns and cities. The book also seeks to develop our understanding of policies, theories and practices surrounding contemporary British urban policy where a move from concerns with 'urban renaissance' to those of sustainable communities clearly intersect with issues of community security, policing and disorder. Providing a rare disciplinary crossover between urban studies, criminology and community studies, Securing an Urban Renaissance will be essential reading for academics and students in criminology, social policy and human geography concerned with the future of British cities and the political debates shaping the regulation of conduct, crime and disorder in these spaces.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-247-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  6. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    Rowland Atkinson and Gesa Helms

    For many commentators concerned with the future of British cities, the period since new Labour’s victory in the 1997 General election has been a dynamic one (Amin, Massey, & Thrift, 2000; Imrie & Raco, 2003). The new administration set about addressing the continuing problems of urban Britain: pockets of high unemployment, poor and obsolete housing, low educational achievement, and the ongoing task of urban regeneration, under the banner of urban renewal, or, in its visionary form, anurban renaissance(Urban Task Force, 1999). Throughout this agenda there has been a particular focus on Britain’s older and de–industrialised city–regions,...

  7. Part I: Theories and concepts

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 19-22)

      Renewed interest in urban policy and British cities has been a defining feature of new Labour’s government since coming to power. As detailed in the book’s introduction, this focus on the urban became strongly linked to several major policy strategies, notably the presentation of Lord Rogers’ Urban Task Force report and the subsequent urban White Paper,Our towns and cities(ODPM, 2000). Getting to grips with the intellectual framework for this set of policies, in particular in relation to previous regeneration programmes, presents us with the key theme for the first section in this volume, and forms the backdrop for...

    • TWO Framing the governance of urban space
      (pp. 23-38)
      Kevin Stenson

      Politicians, planners, and academics use terms like ‘sustainability’, ‘security’, and ‘regeneration’ in persuading us that we need to manage the social dislocations and urban decay of late modernity and globalisation. Yet cities have always been a fulcrum of trouble. They grew at points of intersection: crossroads, river fords, and ports where streams of diverse travellers would collide and settle, in pursuit of trade, adventure, excitement, riches, romance, survival, conquest, and intrigue. They were always vulnerable to the ebb and flow of markets, human migration, military competition, and struggles between people divided by clan membership, ‘race’, ethnicity, wealth, religion, and other...

    • THREE The planning, design, and governance of sustainable communities in the UK
      (pp. 39-56)
      Mike Raco

      This chapter examines the Labour government’s recent shift towards the building of sustainable communities in England and assesses the ways in which these new development blueprints define, identify, and tackle questions of security and safety. During the 2000s the discourse of the ‘urban renaissance’ has gradually given way to that of urban sustainability with its emphasis on the construction of sustainable communities or places “where people want to live and work now and in the future … [and which] are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services for all” (ODPM, 2005c,...

    • FOUR Is urban regeneration criminogenic?
      (pp. 57-70)
      Lynn Hancock

      This chapter examines some of the taken–for–granted assumptions in the relationship between urban regeneration and crime and disorder reduction and opens them up to critical scrutiny. Against a backdrop where public—private partnerships are vigorously marketing their localities in efforts to secure inward investment, the place of crime and disorder in these imaginaries are outlined. The chapter comments on the assumptions underpinning neighbourhood regeneration and in particular their relationships with crime and disorder reduction strategies in the contemporary setting. It shows how initiatives, which have the ostensible aim of addressing the problems of social exclusion and urban crime...

  8. Part II: Policies and agendas

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 71-74)

      In this section the focus is on key examples of the kind of policies and practices that mark out the newly criminalised urban policies, operating through a combination of policing, anti-social behaviour strategies, and partnership working by a broad range of agencies and actors. These agencies and actors have the task to work in accordance with new targets, co-working protocols, or broader urban visions in fields that are at least to some extent concerned with urban problems and disorder.

      In the first part of this volume we saw how residential spaces and housing has continued to be central to urban...

    • FIVE New Labour’s ‘broken’ neighbourhoods: liveability, disorder, and discipline?
      (pp. 75-90)
      Craig Johnstone and Gordon MacLeod

      This chapter investigates the approach to urban renewal adopted by Britain’s new Labour government in the early years of the 21st century. We contend that the Labour administration’s initial concern to foster an ‘urban renaissance’, articulated most vividly in its 2000 urban White Paper (DETR, 2000), appears to have at least partly been displaced by an explicit endeavour to create ‘sustainable communities’ (ODPM, 2003). At the heart of the sustainable communities agenda is the acknowledgement that places and neighbourhoods need to be economically viable, effectively governed, and, literally, ‘liveable’. In doing so it recognises that any revitalisation of distressed neighbourhoods...

    • SIX Lockdown! Resilience, resurgence, and the stage-set city
      (pp. 91-106)
      David Murakami Wood, Jon Coaffee, Katy Blareau, Anna Leech, James McAllister Jones and Jonathan Parsons

      For almost a week in February 2005, a large section of the newly regenerated south bank of the River Tyne, in Gateshead, was entirely sectioned off from the rest of the Newcastle–Gateshead conurbation by metal fencing, armed police, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and road closures. The headline in theNewcastle Chroniclewas ‘Lockdown!’ (Smith, 2005), and so it seemed to be. This is an increasingly familiar experience in many British cities: Brighton and Manchester had experienced much the same the year before, Edinburgh would later in the same year. In the former, as in Gateshead, it was the...

    • SEVEN Tackling anti-social behaviour and regenerating neighbourhoods
      (pp. 107-124)
      Andrew Millie

      At the 2005 Labour Party Conference the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke (2005a) stated that the party had to show by the next general election that it had “eliminated the anti–social behaviour and disrespect which still blights the lives of so many”. Beyond the simple observation that no party could ever be expected to achieve such a goal, this statement highlights the political importance that anti–social behaviour (ASB) is currently thought to have. With this being the case, what can be achieved by tackling (if not eliminating) ASB? This chapter critically considers some of the definitional issues relating...

    • EIGHT ‘Problem’ people, ‘problem’ places? New Labour and council estates
      (pp. 125-140)
      Charlie Johnston and Gerry Mooney

      This chapter is concerned with the construction and representation of council estates as ‘problem places’. Council estates have long been represented as posing a ‘problem’, to the local state, for agencies engaged in the delivery of criminal justice, and for a diverse range of organisations involved in the management of welfare and welfare–‘dependent’ populations. In this chapter it is argued that these estates play a symbolically and ideologically important role as a ‘signifier’, a marker of social problems and spatialised ‘dysfunctionality’. In new Labour’s much–heralded ‘urban renaissance’ the council estate is often counterposed against the vision of a...

  9. Part III: Communities in control of (dis)order

    • [Part III Introduction]
      (pp. 141-146)

      In this final section we turn to examine the practice of securing an urban renaissance in its multifaceted forms and effects. Here we gather contributions that throw light on the impacts of these initiatives on the communities they touch, as well as the broader social politics that has emerged around concerns with disorder, policing, anti–social behaviour, and a wider renewal agenda that is so often co–present with these initiatives. The preceding chapters have prepared the ground for this final and most extensive section by exploring the theoretical and conceptual assumptions that lie at the heart of current agendas...

    • NINE Community–police relations: support officers in low-income neighbourhoods
      (pp. 147-164)
      Caroline Paskell

      Local policing levels have been a matter of public concern for decades, but the combination of a move to car-based patrolling, year-on-year declines in police numbers, and the growth of private security provision made the relative absence of street policing a priority issue as Labour took office in 1997. Not only was this lack of visible local policing seen as increasing the risk of crime but also as facilitating problems of anti-social behaviour and environmental disorder. Such ‘lower-level’ issues of noise, vandalism, graffiti, and fly-tipping were gaining public attention as problems that could hamper quality of life and an area’s...

    • TEN New governance of youth disorder: a study of local initiatives
      (pp. 165-182)
      John Flint and Hannah Smithson

      This chapter identifies key characteristics of the evolving governance of youth disorder in the UK, including a focus on youth activities in public space, new legal mechanisms for regulating conduct in residential areas, and reformed models of policing. The chapter provides a comparative evaluation of two local initiatives specifically aimed at reducing antisocial behaviour among groups of young people: a Dispersal Order implemented in Manchester and a social landlord–funded additional policing initiative in Glasgow. The chapter examines the operation of these initiatives, evaluates their impacts on anti–social behaviour and community relations, and explores the perceptions of public agency...

    • ELEVEN The night-time economy: exploring tensions between agents of control
      (pp. 183-202)
      Gavin J.D. Smith

      Town centres are no longer spaces merely restricted to daytime consumption. Indeed, Britain’s night–time economy (NTE) is now worth many millions of pounds annually, and is defined as the attraction of mainly young, upwardly mobile people at night to city centre entertainment ‘hot spots’ such as bars, clubs, restaurants, casinos, pool and snooker halls, cinemas, and cafes to spend significant sums of money on a range of leisure and social activities (Hobbs et al,2003). That said, NTE is centred on excessive alcohol consumption in ‘vertical drinking’ venues with limited seating facilities (Monaghan, 2002; House of Commons and ODPM, 2003)....

    • TWELVE Prostitution, gentrification, and the limits of neighbourhood space
      (pp. 203-218)
      Phil Hubbard, Rosie Campbell, Maggie O’Neill, Jane Pitcher and Jane Scoular

      Conceived as a series of policies intended to bring people back into cities, urban renaissance offers a new vision of environmentally sustainable, socially balanced, and aesthetically inspired urban regeneration. While clearly informed by New Labour’s specific concerns about active citizenship, social inclusion, and community participation, urban renaissance has nonetheless been identified as following a well–tested andglobalmodel of urban regeneration reliant on the rolling out of the ‘gentrification frontier’ (Lees, 2003b; Atkinson, 2004; Atkinson & Bridge, 2005). In essence, the suggestion here is that the Urban Task Force and subsequent urban White Paper promote a model of regeneration...

    • THIRTEEN Urban renaissance and the contested legality of begging in Scotland
      (pp. 219-232)
      Joe Hermer and David MacGregor

      Programmes and visions of urban regeneration and beautification, present in many of the most affluent cities in the world, have raised serious questions about social exclusion, citizenship, and the plight of the urban poor. A common feature of the politics of this movement is a crackdown on so-called ‘aggressive beggars’ and others types of disorderly people. Indeed, demands for removal of people begging from city pavements have become a tired cliche of urban politics today.¹ Unlike in England and Wales and in North American cities such as Toronto or New York, Scottish cities, in forging their own urban renaissance, are...

    • FOURTEEN Conclusion: British urbanism at a crossroads
      (pp. 233-244)
      Gesa Helms and Rowland Atkinson

      We started this volume with the observation that urban policy, like social policy before it, has become criminalised in the processes of viewing regeneration as closely linked to a broader and populist ‘disorder’ agenda. Such specific views on regeneration have been promoted not only by a punitive central government but also at a local level where the neoliberalisation of urban governance, in particular through new models of management and working practices, has been established. As the various chapters have shown, a reading of the criminal justice, anti–social behaviour, and urban agendas and attempts to revitalise neighbourhoods and central cities...

  10. References
    (pp. 245-276)
  11. Index
    (pp. 277-292)