Partnerships in Urban Regeneration
In recent years, partnerships have become something of a buzzword in urban regeneration. An example is the university partnerships in the USA, where the Ministry of Housing has launched a programme called Community Outreach Partnership. The idea is that members of American universities should take a closer look at the areas surrounding their campuses, where they may discover decayed areas with complex social and economic problems.
This programme aims to stimulate an improved basis for planning in these areas. Objectives include improved housing conditions, improved physical health of the local population, and the strengthening of local business activities. These objectives are based on the needs of the local area. University interests are not intended to dominate the partnership. If anything, the opposite is true – universities are encouraged to put their considerable resources of expertise into the service of the surrounding area.
The basis of these partnerships is a contract. The parties to the contract are the Ministry of Housing, the university, and the local community. For the partnership to be viable, at least three faculties in the university must participate. A center is then set up where local residents can obtain free advice and guidance from experts and students involved in the project.
The above is just one example. Comparable partnerships have had considerable successes across the USA, northern Europe, and other parts of the world.
A key idea behind such partnerships is the gathering together of the various stakeholders in the local community in order to generate improvements that will benefit all, and are greater than anyone partner could have achieved alone.
Representatives from the public sector, trade and industry, and the local community meet and set common goals. Initiatives for greater efficiency and better utilization of resources are developed. Members of the partnership gain new perspectives on local issues, and innovative solutions result.
Experience has shown that a great deal can be achieved in this way, especially when local businesses are involved. Results have taken the form of falling unemployment, improvements in education, benefits for local industries, and improvements in local services.
A potential danger of partnerships is that the stronger parties (which are usually businesses, as they tend to possess a much greater share of the material resources) take control. It is therefore important that from the very beginning of the partnership it is clear what power and authority each of the partners will have. Without this measure, there is a risk of local residents feeling that they have no real influence. If the partnership is to be successful, the residents must be fully involved and must have a sense of ownership of the project, and an understanding of how decisions are made.
Based on experiences gained from urban regeneration partnerships around the world, the following conclusions can be drawn.
1. A partnership is simply a means to a common end, and there should be written definitions of objectives and a set of rules. However, formal contracts can be too binding. There should be some element of freedom to allow the development of creative synergy.
2. It is essential that all partners have the same objectives. These should be clearly identified and also prioritized from the outset to prevent possible conflicts regarding the deployment of resources.
3. Public sector institutions such as local councils must undertake to make stable, long-term contributions to the development of the project.
4. The activities of different public sector bodies must be effectively coordinated.
5. The residents must be among the key participants in the project. To facilitate this, if one doesn’t already exist, a local organization must be set up.
6. The number of stakeholders should be kept to a minimum. The interests of partners and powers behind them should be included in the analysis of any proposed partnership.
7. People with appropriate skills and experience should be appointed to the administrative roles created by the new partnership. The main aim of such people should be to facilitate effective collaboration between the partners.
8. As well as long-term strategies, it is a good idea to aim for some short-term and highly visible results. This creates impetus and strengthens the motivation of the people involved.
9. Time and resources should be set aside for celebrating the achievements and milestones of the project. This can be of great importance to the success of a partnership
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
1. In the USA, Community Outreach Partnerships
A. has become a buzzword.
B. is based on a contract.
C. aim to improve local university facilities.
D. can solve most local problems.
2. In Community Outreach Partnerships, local people
A. are invited to attend university classes.
B. give advice to students.
C. are offered jobs in local universities.
D. can get advice from students.
3. Partnership administrators should
A. organize collaboration between partners.
B. aim for immediate results.
C. be kept to a minimum.
D. analyze the partners’ interests.
4. Celebrating the successes of the project
A. is essential for local residents.
B. should not take up too much time.
C. is a good use of resources.
D. should be kept to a minimum.
Choose ONE phrase from the list of phrases A-I below to complete each of the following sentences.
5. Urban regeneration partnerships …
6. Local businesses …
7. Local residents …
8. Public sector institutions …
A. principally benefit students at local universities.
B. must not be allowed to dominate.
C. produce good results by involving all concerned parties in the project.
D. should be given financial incentives to participate.
E. are most successful when they are based on a contract.
F. must provide appropriate support.
G. should not be allowed to participate in the partnership.
H. must fund improvements in local education and services.
I. must feel that they are central to the project.
Complete the notes below. Choose NO MORE THAN FOUR WORDS from Reading Passage 3 for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 9-12 on your answer sheet.
Four benefits of urban regeneration partnerships:
• They can be more efficient, bringing about better 9……………………
• There may be a reduction in 10……………………….
• Partners may develop 11…………………………………on local issues.
• The results can be better than one partner 12…………………………….
Answers for the passage Partnerships in Urban Regeneration
1 . B
2 . D
3 . A
4 . C
5 . C
6 . B
7 . I
8 . F
9 . UTILIZATION OF RESOURCES
10 . UNEMPLOYMENT
11 . NEW PERSPECTIVES
12 . COULD HAVE ACHIEVED ALONE