The logic of urban development corporations: State intervention during economic recession

King, S. Anthony (1981) The logic of urban development corporations: State intervention during economic recession. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

From a review of inner city policy, Michael Heseltine proposed in September 1979 the establishment of urban development corporations (UDC's), based on the new town development corporation model, to regenerate the areas of greatest dereliction, London Docklands and the "Merseyside Dock Area" were to get UDC's and the proposal was later extended to include the East End of Glasgow, The initiative was, however, greeted with substantial opposition, particularly in London, and the Glasgow proposal was withdrawn after initial reaction from the local authorities. Nevertheless, the Government has maintained the UDC proposals for Liverpool and London Docklands despite the countervailing arguments that UDC's will not help regenerate their areas. The aim of this dissertation is to discover why the Government has steadfastly supported the UDC proposals; to determine the logic of UDC's. Identification of an approach to understanding UDC's is sought through a review of central state intervention in inner cities. The inner city policy experience appears somewhat perverse; a catalogue of initiatives which, to the surprise of few, have not lived up to their promises. To explain the course of inner city policy, and to understand UDC's, an understanding of the role of the central state is required and the two principal positions on this are stated. One sees the state as essentially neutral whereas the other sees the state as playing a positive role which is biased toward certain groups in society. Accordingly, the two interpretations of the role of the state prescribe different approaches toward gaining an understanding of UDC's. The first suggests an explanation can be found in the nature of the problems in the inner areas while the second suggests an examination of the problems of central state intervention would be more fruitful. Paced with two alternative approaches, the former and orthodox approach is adopted to see if it can provide an adequate explanation of UDC's, The strategies and problems of urban regeneration in the three areas subject to a UDC proposal are examined in detail; an inner city partnership in Liverpool, an inner city partnership plus statutory joint committee in London Docklands, and the Glasgow East Area Renewal (GEAR) project. Despite many differences between the cases, common elements are identified and set out in terms of the requirements of urban regeneration. The nature of UDC's is then established and an assessment made of their likelihood of meeting these requirements better than the arrangements they would replace. It is suggested that UDC's would have only limited advantages, several disadvantages, and, further, that there existed superior alternatives available. GEAR, having been retained in preference to a UDC is looked at closely in this respect. The search for the logic of UDC's is then led to an examination of the course of the proposal since its inception to see how it was justified by the Government in the face of opposition. It transpires that, rather than justify the UDC initiative, the Government made every effort to defend the proposal by preventing its consideration. This exploratory search provides no satisfactory rationale for UDC's; it can only suggest that UDC's are a mis-informed policy, albeit one which was defended with great commitment. Turning to the second perspective on state intervention, the coincidence is noted between the requirements of state intervention which it suggests and the requirements for urban regeneration which were identified from the three case studies. Although this approach was not pursued, it appears to offer a greater prospect of uncovering the logic of UDC's , based on the exercising of the priorities of state intervention during economic recession. The way in which this perspective can explain the, otherwise seemingly illogical and contradictory, issue of UDC's is outlined.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Sheila McDonald
Keywords: Urban planning
Date of Award: 1981
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1981-74130
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/74130

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