Knowledge Intensive Regeneration versus Sustainable Communities

Knowledge Intensive Regeneration versus Sustainable Communities

Yusuf Arayici (School of the Built Environment, College of Science and Technology, Salford University, Salford, UK) and Zafer Ozturk (School of the Built Environment, College of Science and Technology, Salford University, Salford, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ij3dim.2014010101


Regeneration is deemed as the enabler for societies and nations to transform them from industrial age to knowledge. In this regard, knowledge intensive regeneration is one of the latest models, called as New Century Cities (NCC) to make progress and ultimately achieve the transformation towards knowledge societies, which have the features and characteristics of sustainable communities. However, meeting the key features or characteristics of sustainable communities can be challenging due to its complex and interrelated features such as socio-economic requirement, environmental and physical requirements, which are all correlated to each other. This paper aims to discuss the knowledge intensive regeneration model in relation to the sustainable communities in order to highlight the level of match and conformance between them in order to justify the suitability of knowledge intensive regeneration for the sustainable communities' vision. Research methodology adopted in the paper is the case study approach, which is the Mediacity project, and used literature review, observation and interviews for data collection, while concept mapping was utilised for data analysis. Research findings reflect that the level of conformance is relatively high, social aspects is still weakly addressed in comparison to other dimensions. Therefore, paper proposes the stronger attention and strategic planning at the visioning and masterplanning stages of such projects in order to address this most challenging dimension of regeneration projects.
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1. Introduction

Sustainability is improving the quality of human life within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems (Jones & Evans, 2008). The diagram in Figure 1 shows the complex relations of social, environmental and economic issues that overlap and emerge the concept of sustainability. In this paper, MediaCityUK project is evaluated in terms of social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability. Stearns, (2012) stated sustainability requires a system reflecting the whole-of-life approach, which entails both vertically and horizontally integration. This implies a different thinking and working methodology and effectively implementing sustainable development requires participation and partnerships across all sectors. The most prevalent international sustainable development model is the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ (TBL) model, depicted in Figure 1, which identifies sustainability as the balanced intersection of the social, environmental and economic systems.

Figure 1.

The holistic view of sustainability (Stearns, 2012)


There is a strong evidence of economic and environmental issues of sustainability in MediaCityUK project such as being a media oriented business cluster and integration of renewable energy technologies. When it comes to the social part, in line with the aim of this research, the focus is on the interaction between the “real estate development” and the surrounding local community, which is mainly linked to the topic of “Sustainable Communities”. As stated in The Egan Review - Skills for Sustainable Communities (2004): “Sustainable communities meet the diverse need of existing and future residents’ their children and other users, contribute to a high quality of life and provide opportunity and choice. They achieve this in ways that make effective use of natural resources, enhance the environment, promote social cohesion and inclusion and strengthen economic prosperity.” In line with this definition, The Egan Review identifies seven key components of a sustainable community and derives a framework for delivery which is summarised in Figure 2, Egan Wheel of Sustainable Communities.

Figure 2.

Egan Wheel of Sustainable Communities (Egan Review, 2004)


On the other hand, Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER) draws the attention to the concentration of deprivation in the City Region, which was identified according to the 2007 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) (MIER, 2009).

MIER identified four types of deprived areas:

  • Isolate areas: Neighbourhoods in which the destinations and origins of household movements are similarly, or more, deprived areas;

  • Transit areas: Neighbourhoods in which most in-movers come from less deprived areas and most out-movers go to less deprived areas;

  • Escalator areas: Receive in-movers from equally or more deprived areas whereas out-movers go to less deprived areas;

  • Gentrifier areas: Where the arriving population comes from less deprived areas and the departing population goes to similarly or more deprived areas.

Skills, educational performance, housing areas, economic performance of the surrounding area, and the area demographics are stated as the key drivers affecting area deprivation (Tallon, 2010). Having deprived regions in the surrounding area, the MediaCityUK project should be evaluated in terms of how it performs over the neighbourhood in terms of key drivers affecting deprivation. On the other hand, the UK government defined a strong vision and strategy on sustainability that included:

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