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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Urban Regeneration: The Key to Reviving Cities

Urban Regeneration: The Key to Reviving Cities

PARK Kang-Ah

Aug. 2, 2012

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Urbanization is the sine qua non of economic development, and rapid development in emerging economies has moved half the world into new and growing cities. Growth in these fast growing metros will only continue, putting urbanites at 60 percent of the global population by 2030. For established cities, however, signs of decline are starting to appear, suggesting that the time has come to rejuvenate existing urban neighborhoods. Maintaining the attractiveness of these cities as places to live necessitates "urban regeneration." A unique renewal process is needed to renew western cities that have experienced a collapse in their manufacturing sector, even as other cities suffer from overpopulation and regional disparities in income.

Urban regeneration infuses a city with vitality, restores its functions, and has positive effects on urban residents. Improvements in the outdated environment and decrepit infrastructure can enhance quality of life and create jobs. In the past, urban regeneration was carried out by administrative authorities through total demolition and reconstruction, but changes in approach have arrived. The past focus on "hardware aspects" like reconstruction and redevelopment placed greater emphasis on the improvement of urban functions and speed of administration, while often being inflexible in the selection of target areas. Lately however, the focus has shifted to "software aspects." Urban regeneration now emphasizes "revitalization" and "reinvention," and can be summarized with three keywords: sensibility, DIY and pop-up. In other words, elements like culture, arts and history are actively exploited as attraction factors for populations and industries; the scope and role of resident participation is expanded; and "pop-up" style development that appears temporarily and then disappears quickly is encouraged to reuse vacant spaces within urban areas.

To this end, more attention must be paid to the actual process of working together on urban regeneration, rather than looking for favorable short-term results. Along with local administrative authorities and residents, it is critically important for private companies to join in the renewal process, to maintain smooth communication with those primary actors. Throughout the renewal process, private-sector participants should keep an eye out for increasing demand for the improvement of decaying infrastructure. Construction-related companies in particular can enhance marketability by making the best use of keywords like "sensibility," "DIY" and "pop-up" when setting up complexes or architectural structures.

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