Track 2: Regenerating the City

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Urban infrastructures require constant renewal and regeneration as city-regions seek to arrest decline and compete for economic advantage.

In the past, the creation of great city regions has been characterised by a rapid expansion of wealth and poverty, splendour and squalor. Is it possible in the twenty first century for cities to combine ambitious programmes of urban regeneration with forms of planning and governance that seek social justice?

East London’s recent history encompasses transitions from industrial to de-industrial and, most recently, to the post-industrial. It has experienced extensive public and private sector investment via a series of major regeneration projects and its culturally diverse population is projected to increase significantly over the next two decades. The regeneration of London’s Docklands, including the creation of a new centre for London’s international finance and business sectors at Canary Wharf, generated a dynamic and culturally diverse sub-region that remained socially polarized. The hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 was designed to achieve a legacy that seeks to address these underlying social, cultural and economic issues. East London richly illustrates different and divergent modes of regeneration catalysed by the market, the state and the mega-event.

This track draws upon insights from a global city whose recent experience provides practical lessons for all engaged in the complex task of constructing socially inclusive urban spaces.