An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Urban Redevelopment: Birmingham Eastside as a National and International Demonstrator

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Town and Regional Planning

Abstract

The aim of the Sustainable Eastside Project is to explore how sustainability is addressed in the regeneration decision-making process, and to assess the sustainability performance of completed development schemes in Birmingham Eastside against stated sustainability credentials and aspirations. The incorporation of sustainability into an urban regeneration program, such as Birmingham Eastside, appears best conceptualised as a complex decision-making process carried out by stakeholders who are embedded within the development process. The barriers to and enablers of sustainability (as identified in Phase I of this project) appear at various moments or locations within this complex. The timing and context of decisions are critical (examined in Phase II), and can cause path-dependency which then limits how sustainability features in final development plans. In Phases I & II, the research set in place a framework of cross-disciplinary knowledge and key partnerships; highlighted the importance of coherent integration of the three pillars of sustainability to enable the complexity of achieving urban sustainability to be sufficiently grappled with; gained access to key decision-making forums in Eastside; built strong links with key stakeholders in the area; and firmly integrated into the policy agenda for Eastside. In addition, researchers are working to establish a cross-cutting baseline dataset of developments in Eastside rigorously to measure change over time and the impact of particular decisions on the sustainability of the overall urban regeneration programme. In so doing the foundations for a zonal urban regeneration case study site are being established, augmented by the creation of a study facility, with library and hot desking, now available for researchers from SUE / IEP consortia, to study the application of research to practice. The emerging findings of Phase II have allowed researchers to develop a series of hypotheses about the timing of decisions for sustainability in a range of decision-making forums, and the extent to which path-dependency becomes problematic. In Phase III, a suite of innovative analytical tools will be employed to elucidate further the complexities and interactions of the key elements of the sustainability vision for Eastside. First, a Development Timeline Framework (DTF), a multi-disciplinary tool that makes explicit the path dependency of decisions toward achieving sustainability goals, and the conflicts and synergies between different sustainability objectives, will be used as the basis for further research. Second, a cross-cutting Sustainability Checklist (SC) applied to the DTF will allow each researcher to analyse the impact of timing and context of decisions for each sustainability element (e.g. biodiversity, public participation, space utilisation, local sourcing, and recycling). Third, an Industrial Ecology (IE) analysis will follow particular resources (e.g. water, aggregates) thus highlighting their interdependence, while a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) approach will enable assessment of the socio-cultural aspects of sustainability (not covered by the IE approach). This suite of tools underpins the delivery of the work package aims. This analysis will be undertaken on a case history site basis, using development sites within Eastside that are all currently 'live,' each site representing a different conceptualisation of sustainability. This provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the specific impact of early thinking about sustainability in the planning and design stages, and the impact of this timing and path-dependency on sustainability performance in the final built form.

Publications


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Porter L (2007) Planning the Cultural Quarter in Birmingham's Eastside in European Planning Studies
 
Description Sustainable regeneration is a noble policy aspiration, but difficult to achieve in practice. This is due to a range of barriers that often prevent urban development practitioners from pursuing options that represent greater impact in social and environmental sustainability outcomes. Questions of language, power and path dependence are often overlooked in analyses of sustainable urban regeneration.
Exploitation Route Further studies of sustainable urban regeneration programmes. Policy and practice initiatives can be draw out of the research that would positively influence outcomes in terms of retention of existing resident populations, local employment and economic activity, and active transport options.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice
 
Description Advantage West Midlands 
Organisation Advantage West Midlands
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2007
 
Description BCSD (UK) 
Organisation UK Business Council for Sustained Development (BCSD)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2007
 
Description BRE 
Organisation Building Research Establishment (BRE)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Birmingham City Council 
Organisation Birmingham City Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provided advice and research findings
Collaborator Contribution Participated on steering committee
Impact None
 
Description Government Office West Midlands 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Government Offices for the English Regions
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2007
 
Description ISIS 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Isis Innovation
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided advice and research findings
Collaborator Contribution Participated on steering committee
Impact None
 
Description MADE 
Organisation IRADA (Institute for Research and Action on Development Alternatives)
Country India, Republic of 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2007
 
Description MARTINEAU JOHNSON 
Organisation Martineau Johnson
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Ove Arup & Partners Ltd 
Organisation Arup Group
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Royal Institute of British Architects 
Organisation RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Learned Society 
Start Year 2007
 
Description The Carbon Trust 
Organisation Carbon Trust
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2007
 
Description UK Water Industry Research Ltd 
Organisation UK Water Industry Research Ltd
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description WILDLIFE TRUST FOR BIRMINGHAM 
Organisation Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provided advice and research findings
Collaborator Contribution Participated on steering committee.
Impact None