Critical success factors in urban brownfield regeneration: bringing ‘hardcore’ sites in Manchester and Osaka back into use
The recent global economic recession has placed many urban regeneration policies under threat not only in the UK but also elsewhere, including the rest of Europe and South East Asia. As a result, cities (and their neighbourhoods) have had to plan both for short-term pressures and longer-term changes to aid recovery, and will need to cope with complex social and economic changes brought about by the recession. The economic recession has also thrown the viability of more marginal brownfield sites into doubt in many cities. Such sites, which are referred to as ‘hardcore’, are relatively small sites that have suffered long term dereliction and vacancy, and may also suffer from contamination. Indeed, some commentators have suggested that the current recession (as of 2012) may continue to impact on wider land and property markets in Europe and America for some time to come, in much the same way as the ‘lost decade’ of Japan during the 1990s. Based on previous research conducted by the authors, this chapter compares the approaches for bringing back hardcore brownfield sites into use in England and Japan by focusing on case studies in Manchester and Osaka, comparing relevant regeneration policies in England and Japan. Both cities are major ‘hotspots’ for hardcore sites within their own countries, and the parallels between the two conurbations are substantive. Manchester is historically notable for being the world’s first industrialised city and for the vital role it played during the Industrial Revolution, and is the UK’s ‘third city’. Osaka also followed a similar rapid growth trajectory industrially, and during the 1930s earned the name ‘Manchester of Japan’ or ‘Manchester of the Orient’. Both cities therefore have similar identities and a shared sense of history. The experience of Japan may, in fact, hold lessons for other countries, not only in terms of the impact of recession on urban regeneration and city com - petitiveness during the 1990s, but also in terms of Japan’s success in dealing with environmental impact during a time of rapid economic growth. Indeed, the Japanese legislative regime for dealing with contaminated land has also been influenced by experience in both England and the USA, although it is relatively inexperienced in tackling contaminated brownfield sites in comparison with England.