The Misalignment of Policy and Practice in Sustainable Urban Design

  • Michael CrillyEmail author
  • Mark Lemon


The urban renaissance that took place in major UK cities during the late 1990’s was seen as a response to counter-urbanisation and inner city decline. This chapter will argue that there has been an implementation gap between the intent of urban design policy and its impact on the ground. Drawing upon the experiences of the lead author as an urban designer in the North-East of England over this period, the text will present examples of the unforeseen consequences that have accompanied the policy trajectory of sustainability and quality within the built environment, specifically looking at a move towards community-led development away from centralisation, by passing local government in the process. The chapter will examine how this urban renaissance has emerged through policies focused on the renewal of the housing market and more sustainable communities (e.g. HMR Pathfinder) to the creation of the Big Society with devolved services and funding, initiatives aimed at individual households (e.g. the Green Deal) and stakeholder engagement. In analysing this policy journey the chapter will consider why demolition and new build invariably occurred instead of refurbishment and community development; why the accepted need for evidence largely ignored qualitative and anecdotal insight from local communities and why end state planning was pursued in preference to the need for a more adaptive and dynamic process.


urban renaissance Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder Northern Way Northern Powerhouse sustainable urban design 


  1. Ambrose, P., & MacDonald, D. (2001). For richer, for poorer? Counting the costs of regeneration in Stepney. University of Brighton: Health and Social Policy Research Centre.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, A., & Pattison, B. (2012). Delivering effective regeneration: Learning from bridging NewcastleGateshead. Coalville: Building and Social Housing Foundation.Google Scholar
  3. Barrie, D. (2009). Regeneration as social innovation, not a war game. Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, 3(1), 77–91.Google Scholar
  4. Beecham, J. (1992). City challenge: A sceptical view. Policy Studies, 14(2), 15–22.Google Scholar
  5. BKW Tenants & Residents Association. (2000) ‘Save Our Streets – Save Our Community’ A report by Kenilworth, Beechgrove and Warrington Road Tenants and Residents. Unpublished report for West City Community Project, Cruddas Park Shopping Centre: Newcastle upon Tyne.Google Scholar
  6. Blackman, D. (2001) “Newcastle West End”. Urban Environment Today, 13th September 12–13.Google Scholar
  7. Boyle, D. (2012). What the social value bill means for planning. Town and Country Planning, 81(3), 161–162.Google Scholar
  8. Byrne, D. (2000). Newcastle’s going for growth: Governance and planning in a Postindustrial metropolis. Northern Economic Review, 30, 3–16.Google Scholar
  9. CABE Tees Valley. (2007). Carbon-footprinting housing regeneration: Scoping study. Newcastle: Ove Arup & Partners.Google Scholar
  10. Callcutt, J. (2007). The Callcutt review of housebuilding delivery. Wetherby: Department of Communities and Local Government.Google Scholar
  11. Cameron, S. (2003). Gentrification, housing redifferentiation and urban regeneration: Going for growth in Newcastle upon Tyne. Urban Studies, 40(12), 2367–2382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Charles, D., & Benneworth, P. (2001). Situating the north east in the European space economy. In J. Tomaney & N. Ward (Eds.), A region in transition: North East England at the millennium (pp. 24–51). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  13. Chesterton. (1998). City Centre living in the north: A study of residential development within the City centres of northern England. Leeds: Chesterton.Google Scholar
  14. CITB. (2003). Construction skills foresight report. King’s Lynn: CITB.Google Scholar
  15. Communities and Local Government. (2012). National Planning Policy Framework. London: Department for Communities and Local Government.Google Scholar
  16. Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, English Heritage, Sustainable Development Commission. (2008). Housing market renewal: Action plan for delivering successful places. London: Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.Google Scholar
  17. Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. (2003) “Housing market renewal: ‘One chance to get it right’, say five government advisors”. Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment Press Release on behalf of English Heritage, Commission for Integrated Transport, Sustainable Development Commission, Environment Agency, 19th June.Google Scholar
  18. Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, English Heritage, Commission for Integrated Transport, Sustainable Development Commission, & Environment Agency. (2003). Building sustainable communities: Actions for housing market renewal. London: Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.Google Scholar
  19. Chanan, G., West, A., Garratt, C., & Humm, J. (1999). Regeneration and sustainable communities. London: Community Development Foundation.Google Scholar
  20. Chapman, J. (2004). The housing market renewal process. Urban Design, 92, 32–33.Google Scholar
  21. Coaffee, J. (2004). Re-scaling regeneration: Experiences of merging area-based and city-wide partnerships in urban policy. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 17(5), 443–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cole, I., Kane, S., & Robinson, D. (1999). Changing demand, changing neighbourhoods: The response of social landlords. Sheffield: Centre for Regional Economic and Social.Google Scholar
  23. Crilly, M., Charge, R., Townshend, T., Simpson, N., & Brocklebank, C. (2004). NE1 want to live here? Shaping attitudes to urban living and housing options in Newcastle Gateshead. Newcastle upon Tyne: Newcastle Gateshead Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder.Google Scholar
  24. Dean, J., & Hastings, A. (2000). Challenging images: Housing Estates, stigma and regeneration. Bristol: The Policy Press and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  25. Department of Communities and Local Government and Homes & Communities Agency. (2011). HMR transition funding – DCLG/HCA bidding guidance 1st June. London: Department of Communities and Local Government / Homes and Communities Agency.Google Scholar
  26. Department of Communities and Local Government. (2011) “£71 million to end the legacy of England's Ghost Streets” November 24th. Available online (Accessed 3rd Jan 2012).
  27. Department for Communities and Local Government. (2007). Homes for the future: More affordable, more sustainable. Cm7191. Norwich: HMSO.Google Scholar
  28. Gateway Pathfinder. (2006) “Quality streets and much more with design guide”. Pathfinder Progress: The magazine for partners in Hull and East Riding’s housing Pathfinder, Summer 3.Google Scholar
  29. Hebbert, M. (2010). Manchester: Making it happen’ pp 51–67. In J. Punter (Ed.), Urban Design and the British Urban Renaissance. Abingdon Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Hetherington, P. (2005) “MPs warn against plan to demolish 200,000 homes”. The Guardian, April 5th p. 6.Google Scholar
  31. HM Government. (2016). Northern powerhouse strategy. London: HM Treasury.Google Scholar
  32. HM Government. (2010) Public Bodies Reform – Proposals for Change. Available online: (Accessed 16th Sep 2017).
  33. House of Commons. (2005). Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee HC 295–1. InEmpty Homes and Low–demand Pathfinders Eighth Report of Session 2004–05 Volume I Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  34. House of Commons. (2003). Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee HC 76–1. InThe Effectiveness of Government Regeneration Initiatives: Seventh report of Session 2002–03 Volume 1. London: Stationary Office.Google Scholar
  35. McHardy, A. (2001) “Moving tale of poverty”. Guardian Society, July 4th p. 4.Google Scholar
  36. Middlesbrough Council. (2005a) Executive report: Building sustainable communities in inner Middlesbrough. Option Development Stage Report by Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Culture and Director of Regeneration, 19th April.Google Scholar
  37. Middlesbrough Council. (2005b). New vision for older housing: Issue 2. Middlesbrough: Middlesbrough Council.Google Scholar
  38. MORI, URBED, School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol. (1999). But would you live there? Shaping attitudes to urban living. London: Urban Task Force.Google Scholar
  39. Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners. (2004). A housing vision for central Middlesbrough: Housing market assessment 2004. Report for Middlesbrough council. Newcastle upon Tyne: Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners.Google Scholar
  40. National Archives. (2011) Available online at: (Accessed 3 Feb 2014).
  41. National Audit Office. (2007a). Department for Communities and Local Government Housing market renewal: Report by the comptroller and auditor general | HC 20 session 2007–2008 | 9 November 2007. London: Stationary Office.Google Scholar
  42. National Audit Office. (2007b). Homebuilding: Measuring construction performance. London: National Audit Office.Google Scholar
  43. Newcastle City Council. (2001). Newcastle going for growth regeneration plan west end – Delivering an urban renaissance for Newcastle. City of Newcastle upon Tyne: Newcastle City Council.Google Scholar
  44. Newcastle Unison. (2002). Our City is not for sale: Newcastle unison report. Newcastle upon Tyne: Unison.Google Scholar
  45. O’Brian, D., & Matthews, P. (2015). After urban regeneration: Communities, policy and practice. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2005). Delivering sustainable communities: The role of local authorities in the delivery of new quality housing. Wetherby: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  47. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2004a). The Egan review: Skills for sustainable communities. London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  48. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2004b). Making it happen: The northern way. London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  49. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2003a) Statement by the deputy prime minister to the house of commons, Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future: Wednesday 5th February.Google Scholar
  50. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2003b). Sustainable communities: Building for the future. London: ODPM.Google Scholar
  51. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2002). Community involvement: The roots of renaissance? London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  52. Polley, L. (2010). To hell, utopia and back again: Reflections on the urban landscape of Middlesbrough. In T. Faulkner, H. Berry, & J. Gregory (Eds.), (2010) northern landscapes: Representations and realities of north-East England (pp. 225–246). Woodbridge: Boydell.Google Scholar
  53. Power, A., & Mumford, K. (1999). The slow death of great cities? Urban abandonment or urban renaissance. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  54. Power, A., & Tunstall, R. (1995). Swimming against the tide: Polarisation or progress on 20 unpopular council estates, 1980–1995. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  55. RIBA. (2015). Design quality and performance: Initial report on call for evidence. London: RIBA.Google Scholar
  56. Robinson, F. (1997). The City challenge experience: A review of the development and implementation of Newcastle City challenge. Durham: Department of Sociology and Social Policy University of Durham.Google Scholar
  57. Rodgers, R. (2017). A place for all people: Life, architecture and social responsibility. Edinburgh: Canongate.Google Scholar
  58. Sayle, A. (2012) “How all politicians have made a mess of my beloved Merseyside” The Observer, 1st January p. 30.Google Scholar
  59. Seyfang, G. (2010). Community action for sustainable housing: Building a low-carbon future. Energy Policy, 38, 7624–7633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Shaw, K. (2000). Promoting urban renaissance in an English City: Going for growth in Newcastle upon Tyne. Business Review North East, 12(3), 18–30.Google Scholar
  61. Smith, J., Blake, J., Grove-White, R., Kashefi, E., Madden, S., & Percy, S. (1999). Social learning and sustainable communities: An interim assessment of research into sustainable communities projects in the UK. Local Environment, 4(2), 195–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sustainable Development Commission. (2005). Sustainable buildings: The challenge of the existing stock: A technical working paper. London: Sustainable Development Commission.Google Scholar
  63. Townshend, T. (2006). From inner city to inner suburb? Addressing housing aspirations in low demand areas in NewcastleGateshead, UK. Housing Studies, 21(4), 501–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Urban Task Force. (1999). Towards an urban renaissance. London: E&FN Spon.Google Scholar
  65. Waite, R. (2012). Shapps under fire over return to pathfinder. Architects’ Journal 14 th, (June).Google Scholar
  66. Walker, B. (2002). Unions blast Newcastle strategy. Regeneration and Renewal 11 th, (October).Google Scholar
  67. Wates, N., & Knevitt, C. (1987). Community architecture: How people are creating their own environment. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  68. Weaver, M. (2005) “Market renewal homes sent back to the drawing board” SocietyGuardian, 23rd August.Google Scholar
  69. Webb, D. (2010). Rethinking the role of Markets in Urban Renewal: The housing market renewal initiative in England. Housing, Theory and Society, 27(4), 313–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wilks-Heeg, S. (2000). Mainstreaming regeneration: A review of policy over the last thirty years. London: Local Government Association.Google Scholar
  71. Young, P., Dickinson, P. (2000) “The Battle for Scotswood: Residents pledge to fight plans for revamp”. Evening Chronicle, Thursday June 8th 8–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Studio Urban Area LLPNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

Personalised recommendations