chapter  13
Regenerating what? The politics and geographies of actually existing regeneration
ByUgo Rossi, Alberto Vanolo
Pages 9

According to the Oxford Universal Dictionary ‘regeneration’, in a literal sense, refers to the ‘formation of new animal tissue and the reproduction of lost parts of organs’, but in figurative and religious senses it refers to the ‘revival, renascence, the process or fact of being born again spiritually’. In other words, regeneration means bringing new life to something that is in a more or less advanced state of decay, withering, with a lack of vitality and energy. In urban studies the latter state is commonly defined in terms of decline or crisis. When a spatial entity such as a city or a neighbourhood becomes regenerated, this entails a process of return to a state of vitality from a previous condition of decline or crisis, which prefigured a state of ‘death’. See the chapter by Kang in Part 5 for an examination of the impacts of spatial stigmatization in the Taiwanese context. The common wisdom attributes to the notion of ‘regeneration’, as well as to related terms such as urban ‘renewal’, ‘renovation’ and ‘revitalization’, generally positive connotations. When we speak of regeneration and its opposite terms, decline or crisis, therefore, we are in one way or another grappling with metaphors and realities of life and death of cities and a variety of urban settings, including residential neighbourhoods, manufacturing sites, commercial precincts, areas devoted to office space or logistic functions. While the conventional wisdom looks at urban regeneration in a positive light, urban scholars are more cautious when it comes to judging the merits and faults of regeneration processes (McCarthy 2007; Jones and Evans 2008). What is viewed by some

as decay, decline and death of cities in relation to the condition of some urban spaces could be viewed rightly by others in different ways.