1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Chris Church <cjchurch@geo2.poptel.org.uk>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 10:07:42 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: The UK experience
As a Long-time UK member of this list, I am glad that the Uk stuf from the
Urban Task Force is attracting some interest. A note of caution: this has
been a remarkably centralised/ top-down programme so far. There are a huge
number of ciommunity-based programmes in such areas which people like Lord
Rogers always find very hard to focus on....

Brown fields is to become a much bigger issue here over the next few years
because of increasing government curbs on building housing on gren field
sites, and there is intense pressure for new housing in the South-east of
England. As one of the reprots pointe dout, there is good housing going
begging in some parts of the north-east and north-west. This is likely to
involve several contentious points, probably all too familiar to people in
the US:
* One developer's 'brown field site' may be the local comunity's informal
green space;
* This is likely to put increased pressure on already over-stretched public
transport and other facilities in urben areas;
* People in brown-field site surrounding areas too often (not always) have
little say in how sich sites should be developed.

There is also the issue (any ideas welcome on this) about the problem areas
where no-one wants to live. The classic line is that create jobs in the
area and people will move in. With increased mobility (people driving fifty
mile or more to work) this is no longer the case.

Regernation programmes have been going on here in such areas for many
years, and the importance of public oparticipation is now being recognised
in the Givernment guidelines for funding. The first programmes tended to
focus on replacing the worst housing, swiftly mving on to bring in jobs.
The lack of s akilled work-force then became veyr clear and training and
skills work is now heavily funded. This has led to research showing an
unfortunate trend:

A training programme is set up in a deprived area;
The people who take the training tend to be actual or potential community
The training empowers them and gives them some control over their lives and
maybe a job;
At that point they look around and say "why am I living in this sh*t-heap?"
amd try to move;
This thus weakens the community since the people who might make a
difference are empowered to move away.......

Community development and community pride are important here, as is crime,
environment and quality of life. Regeneration needs to be genuinely
sustainable development - a key target for our developing Sustainable
Communities Agencies Network.

One aspect where maybe people can help is the issue of community pride.The
Government's recent sustainable development strategy rightly identifies
this as a key issue. It is interesting however that they have been unable
to identofy a clear simple measurable indicator for this, which is an area
which I am working on: is anyone,especially in deprived areas working on
how we assess 'community pride' or anything like it? I'd be interested to
hear from you.

Chris Church
Advisor to the Community Development Foundation

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