It has been a little more than a decade since URC emerged in the UK, and it seems that is has worked pretty for well for cities like Manchester with its New East Manchester initiative.
With its trail of post-industrial cities, the UK should be a natural leader for such initiatives. While I don’t have the time to explore this right now, I highly encourage you to check out annual reports to see for yourselves. What I found interesting is that these private legal entities look like the french SÉM (société d’économie mixte, something like a semi-public entity for economic and social planning) but are much more business oriented at every scale – citizen, investors, tourists. When I compare with Montreal, I feel that we need a similar broader understanding of revitalization: for instance Montreal International is mainly concerned with attracting new businesses to Montreal, but this public entity has little interaction with BIAs and planning organs from the City.
As for design, Architecture and Design Scotland, the body responsible for producing the policy framework for the Scottish URCs has decided to focus its next intervention on the Quality of Place, with some great case studies to support their progress.
Planning for revitalization is one thing, but where do you decide to set the boundaries of your framework? It is especially the nature of your framework – whether the responsible body will be, public, private, or the extent of outreach and stakeholder identification – which greatly affects a program’s efficiency, outreach and, ultimately, benefit.