Chapter 1: Urban Renewal

In China, urban renewal is a rather recent phenomenon which has been scarcely documented. It is therefore necessary to look at the experience of other countries to evaluate and understand the cur rent process, while keeping in mind that China is culturally, socially, economically and politically unique. Since the current situation in China makes it difficult to classify it as either a "developing" or "developed" country, urban renewal in both First and Third World nations is studied. The literature review concentrates onneighborhood regeneration, or urban renewal at the neighborhood level, fo cusing on the social and physical aspects of this process. Concerns for economic, political, cultural and racial issues are left out of the discussion, since they cannot easily be related to the Chinese context.

1.1. Urban renewal

a) Definition

It is not easy to find a satisfactory definition of urban renewal which embodies the complexity of issues involved in the process. Some of the existing theoretical and ideological disagreements about urban change are thought to come, in part, from the fact that the terms used by different scholars reflect different perceptions of the phenomenon and its significance (Palen and London, 1984). Urban litera ture uses, often without definition, terms such as urban regeneration, urban revitalization, gentrification, neighborhood renewal, rehabilitation, and renovation. In this discussion, the term urban renewal is used to refer to the general process of transforming the urban environment.

Urban renewal is often presented as a natural process through which the urban environment, viewed as a living entity1, undergoes transformation. "As the years pass, transformations take place, allowing the city to constantly rejuvenate itself in a natural and organic way" (Treister, 1987: 57). According to Ahmet Gülgönen and François Laisnet (1977: 10), from the Institut d'études et de re cherche architecturales et urbaines in Paris:

"La ville est un phénomène ouvert, c'est-à-dire qu'elle est dans un processus de transformation continu. La forme urbaine à une époque donnée peut apparaître comme un état transitoire entre un passé et un futur. La ville est le lieu de transformations perpétuelles qui, à l'examen, apparaissent comme un processus continu. De là proviennent les nombreuses interprétations de la ville, "organisme" possédant ses lois de développement."

Experts present at the first International Seminar on Urban Renewal, held in Den Haag in August 1958, agreed that the main purpose of urban renewal is to deliberately change the urban envi ronment and to inject new vitality through planned adjustment of existing areas to respond to present and future requirements for urban living and working (Miller, 1959). For them, the fundamental objec tive of urban renewal is the application of several principles resulting in the revitalization of any or all portions of the urban structure which are not fulfilling the functions for which they were designed (Miller, 1959). Urban renewal generally applies to inner-city areas, centrally located in historical dis tricts including non-residential as well as residential land uses (Grebler, 1964).

b) Brief History of Renewal

Urban renewal has been operative since humans first built permanent settlements. "Following the progress of history and the passage of time, old cities are in a constant process of metamorphosis and unavoidably have to face the necessity of continuous regeneration" (Hou, in Conzen, 1986: 223). However, not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries did relatively coordinated efforts on the part of local governments, reform groups and business interests arise whose intent was to elimi nate the physical manifestations of urban decline (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981).

The renewal of Paris by Haussmann is thought to be the first large scale urban renewal project implemented. However, the United States was among the first countries to develop specific national programs of urban renewal (Grebler, 1964). The problem of deteriorating urban neighborhoods has been recognized in the United States since the mid-nineteenth century and over the years, major efforts have been made to counteract decay and to rejuvenate cities throughout the country (Nelson, 1988).

Urban Renewal in the United States

The first major urban renewal efforts in the United States were the American Park movement and the City Beautiful movement, both in the late nineteenth century, which emerged as responses to the environmental degradation brought about by the conjunction of urbanization and industrialization (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). Both movements placed emphasis on the transformation of urban centers through the creation of urban parks and the construction of monumental public buildings. In the 1930s, the Public Works and Public Housing programs shifted attention to the clearance of slums and blighted areas and the construction of low-income housing, in the form of multistoried apartment complexes (Nelson, 1988).

The first comprehensive move of the federal government towards urban renewal came with the Housing Act of 1949 (Colborn, 1963). Urban renewal was designed to remove slums and blighted conditions by demolishing old buildings and constructing new ones in their stead (Nelson, 1988). According to Colborn (1963: 7), the 1949 Renewal Program defined urban renewal as:

"the diversified efforts by localities, with the assistance of the Federal Govern ment, for the elimination and prevention of slums and blight, whether residential or non-residential, and the removal of the factors that create slums and blighting conditions."

The Renewal Program had three main elements: slum prevention through neighborhood con servation and housing code enforcement; rehabilitation of structures and neighborhoods; and clear ance and redevelopment of structures and neighborhoods (Colborn, 1963). However, private investors were reluctant to participate because of the restrictions which oriented projects towards housing, not the most lucrative investment in the long run, and because projects took many years to complete, tying up capital for long periods. As a result, urban renewal still consisted mainly of slum clearance and redevelopment.

The criticisms of the Urban Renewal Program were many. Its application lead to the destruc tion of the homes and neighborhoods of the poor and minorities, and to the displacement of small businesses and the demolition of inhabitable housing. Also, it directed too much investment to central business districts and not enough to positive actions in the neighborhoods and gave too little attention to social concerns (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). Urban renewal soon earned the reputation of being a "bulldozer approach", demolishing blighted areas to make room for luxury housing (Santiago, 1975). According to Martin Anderson, author of the highly controversial The Federal Bulldozer (1964), the final result of the implementation of the 1949 Act was that more homes were destroyed than were actually built, and that predominantly low-rent dwelling units were demolished to be replaced by high-rent ones. In short, housing conditions were made worse for those whose housing conditions were already bad, while they were improved for those whose housing conditions were best (Anderson, 1964).

The program was revised in 1954 to make profits, not the improvement of slums, the primary goal. Slums and blighted areas adjacent to existing central business districts were cleared and replaced with new land uses for a new class of people, making urban renewal more attractive to private inves tors (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). As the human, social, and economic costs of clearance were slowly recognized, program funds gradually shifted to support rehabilitation more than demolition and reconstruction (Nelson, 1988).

The 1960s brought a gradual acknowledgment that spreading suburbanization might exacerbate city problems and that improving urban conditions required more than physical renewal (Nelson, 1988). Small-scale programs were encouraged to plan more comprehensively for redevelopment (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). The Model Cities program, initiated in 1966, aimed at the provision of housing through physical rebuilding and paid greater attention to social renewal. Low-income residents were to be organized in order to plan for the physical, economic, and social rehabilitation of their own neighborhoods (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981).

Urban Revitalization emerged in the 1970s as the dominant approach to urban renewal. By em phasizing neighborhood preservation and housing rehabilitation, it limited displacement and disrup tion of communities (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). Today, housing rehabilitation has become the dominant activity in urban renewal in the United States (Varady, 1986).

Urban Renewal in Europe

In Europe, the evolution of renewal policies followed a similar pattern. According to Leo Grebler, professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, the need for the modernization of old city centers initiated during the industrial revolution came later to Europe than to the United States. As a result, European countries have often looked at the American experience as a model for urban renewal (Grebler, 1964). However, unlike in the United States, urban renewal in European countries sometimes proceeded without the benefit of national programs specifically designed to assist in this process (Grebler, 1964).

The first example of state involvement in urban renewal was in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century to fight the unsanitary conditions in working-class neighborhoods through slum clearance (Couch, 1990). The renewal of war-damaged cities and towns all over Europe in the 1920s is consid ered the most extensive process of urban renewal in history, compressed into one single generation (Grebler, 1964). Until the 1950s, flats and tenements were considered as a suitable form for replace ment of working class housing.

After World War II, the losses sustained during the war triggered an increased consciousness of the historic continuum embodied in the urban scene of previous eras, and growing attention was given to conservation and rehabilitation of historical towns and city sections (Grebler, 1964). As early as 1954, conservation and rehabilitation became fully accepted parts of urban renewal programs in Eu rope, long before it was in the United States (Grebler, 1964). By the end of the 1960s, most renewal policies began to totally discard large-scale slum clearance, and programs were reoriented towards rehabilitation and area improvement (Couch, 1990). Today, in the western world, most urban renewal actions are based on residential rehabilitation and upgrading.

Urban Renewal in Asia

Hong Kong and Singapore also developed elaborate renewal programs which evolved from large slum clearance schemes to inner-city renewal and redevelopment of public housing estates, under the management of public-private partnerships.

Initially, urban renewal in Hong Kong was dominated by the private sector. The first public intervention into urban renewal in Hong Kong was in 1954, with the large-scale slum clearance scheme which followed the disastrous fire in Shek Kip Mei, one of the largest and most congested squatter areas in North Kowloon, leaving some 53,000 people homeless (Castells et al. 1990). Through this first scheme, squatters were evicted from dangerous slums or sites slated for development and were resettled to public housing estates or to temporary housing 2. Those who conducted private businesses from their home and had to vacate their shops were compensated (HKHA, 1988).

By 1972, a vast program of redevelopment of the resettlement estates built in the 1950s to re house squatters was introduced (Williams, 1979). These emergency housing blocks were either demol ished to make way for the construction of new blocks or were converted into self-contained units. Modern schools and community and recreation facilities were introduced to the redeveloped estates. In 1974, a new approach, that of in situ redevelopment of dilapidated properties in old inner-city districts, was introduced. New apartments produced through the scheme were sold to families who had previ ously lived on the sites at discounted prices, which helped to limit social disruption (Yeh, 1990).

The private sector, motivated by the rapidly increasing land prices and building regulations which allow the replacement of low-rise buildings by high-rise developments, has been actively involved in the redevelopment of existing private sector estates (Yeh, 1990). The problem of multiple ownership of properties in Hong Kong, together with the necessity to acquire all the units in a multi-story building before it can be redeveloped, have resulted in small-scale in situ redevelopment, less profitable for private developers. Such redevelopment approach has led to the displacement of original residents to new towns, at a distance from the city center (Yeh, 1990).

In 1987, a new approach was introduced which promoted public-private partnership in carrying out comprehensive redevelopment in Hong Kong. The Land Development Corporation, an independ ent public body, was made responsible for carrying out redevelopment projects using resources from the private sector. The purpose was to speed up private sector redevelopment in selected areas, to encourage the participation of landowners, to improve the quality and economic benefit of develop ment by assembling larger sites, to ensure equitable treatment of the tenants, and to minimize govern ment subsidies (HKHA, 1988). Tenants are now rehoused in units acquired by the Corporation near the redevelopment site, and mortgages at a low interest rate are offered to the affected people to buy a new home.

In Singapore, urban renewal programs were initiated in the early 1960s, which consisted of systematic large-scale slum clearance and urban redevelopment of inner-ciy areas. In 1964, the Urban Renewal Program for the Central China Town was launched, with the aid of foreign consultants (Lim, 1983). In this public-private partnership, land acquired by the state 3 was cleared and assembled into larger sites then released on a competitive public basis to the private sector for development (Manning in Wong, 1974).

The Urban Renewal Program for the Central China Town resulted in the redevelopment of all colonial neighborhoods, which consisted mainly of two- and three-story century-old shop houses, and in the relocation of all original residents and businesses. The policy that no building can be demolished before alternative accommodations are allocated to its residents greatly reduced the trauma of resettle ment. Affected households were generally rehoused in public apartments under special arrangements and were given priority on the waiting list for public housing. Businessmen were also given compen sation and additional incentives to re-open businesses on the new housing estate (Siew-Eng, 1989).

Today, the central area has been completely redeveloped with shopping complexes, office towers, and apartment blocks, and the new high-rise Singapore has replaced the former colonial city. Only a few affluent colonial residential areas have been preserved. Considerable emphasis has recently been placed upon upgrading the physical environment of old inner-city neighborhoods (Castells et al., 1990).

Urban Renewal in Developing Countries

In developing countries, the process of urban renewal is still relatively new. Efforts are gener ally concentrated on solving the problems of urban slums, where from 30 to 60% of the urban popula tion resides and which are considered the fastest growing portion of Third World cities (Hardoy & Satterthwaite in CHF, 1990). Before the 1980s, the main approach to urban renewal in developing countries was in the form of squatter eradication and relocation of the population to low-cost housing projects (Laquian, 1984).

In the late 1970s, a series of unconventional strategies, such as slum and squatter upgrading and sites and services , began to replace the previous clearance policies (Schmit-Kallert, 1990). Most governments started to acknowledge the socio-economic impacts of slum demolition, while substand ard housing, including squatter shanties, was recognized as part of the housing stock. Community upgrading appeared as a way of improving living conditions in informal settlements (Laquian, 1984).

By the 1980s, many developing countries adopted an official policy of slum upgrading, realiz ing the potential for existing squatter settlements to be viable urban communities (Van Nostrand, 1982) (Faerstein, 1989). Basic services were introduced on the sites and house improvement works were undertaken by the residents themselves (Laquian, 1984). Settlements were upgraded by improving the infrastructure and legalizing land tenure (Faerstein, 1989). Today, upgrading remains the most sensible approach to resolving the problems of informal settlements in Third World cities, although clearance is still commonly used.

In summary, it can be observed that, both in developing and developed countries, the evolution of policies regarding urban renewal followed a similar pattern, gradually evolving from a demolition and reconstruction approach to a softer, more socially-oriented approach, which concentrates on the renovation of existing structures. The following section summarizes the possible approaches to urban renewal in residential areas, based on this brief review of urban renewal policies around the world.

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1.2. Main approaches to renewal

At the first International Seminar on Urban Renewal, in August 1958, the three principles of urban renewal were identified asredevelopment, consisting of demolition and reconstruction; rehabili tation, improvement of the original structures, and conservation,preservation of historical monuments, and generally not with residential areas (Miller, 1959). Claude H. Boistière, of the French Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing, identified the different approaches to urban renewal as rehabilitation, complete demolition and rebuilding, and a combination of both, considering conservation to be a form of rehabilitation (Boistière in Miller, 1959). These approaches to urban renewal correspond to those identified by Colborn in 1963. For him, urban renewal projects could be implemented in three different ways: first, they could involve acquiring and clearing a slum or blighted area and disposing of the land for redevelopment in accordance with planned uses; second, they could consist in the rehabilitation and conservation of structures in such an area by property owners, accompanied by improvement of community facilities by the local government; and, third, they could follow any combination of both. The possible approaches to neighborhood regeneration can therefore be identified as:redevelopment, wherein a neighborhood is rebuilt anew; rehabilitation, wherein the existing structures are preserved and upgraded; and integration, a combination of the first two approaches. Each approach can involve the rehousing of the population on the original site or its relocation to another part of the city. The three different approaches are presented here in more detail.

a) Redevelopment

Redevelopment consists of the removal of existing buildings and the re-use of cleared land for the implementation of new projects (Miller, 1959). This approach is applicable to areas in which build ings are in seriously deteriorated condition and have no preservation value, or in which the arrange ment of buildings are such that the area cannot provide satisfactory living conditions (Miller, 1959). In such cases, demolition and reconstruction, of whole blocks or of small sections, is often thought to be the only solution to ensure future comfort and safety of the residents.

For developers, redevelopment represents maximum profit through the sale of new centrally -located units. For local governments, this approach represents maximum use of land, higher floor area ratio, and has the advantage of introducing higher income groups and commercial activities to the city center, which increase tax revenues. It also leads to higher population density and improved services and infrastructures, which is highly desirable for modernizing inner-city areas (Zhu Zixuan, 1989).

However, this approach may carry heavy social and environmental costs. The demolition of architectural environments is probably the most serious consequence of the redevelopment approach (Kazemian, 1991). It can bring about the sacrifice of a community's cultural heritage and the destruc tion of viable neighborhoods, depriving people of valuable housing resources which in many cases still serve a useful function (Frieden, 1964). Redevelopment generally involves the relocation of the original population to another part of the city. Even when the residents are rehoused on the same site after its redevelopment, the transformation of the neighborhood beyond recognition has inevitable psycho logical impacts upon the community. In his book The Future of Old Neighborhoods, Bernard J. Frieden (1964: 123) summarizes the social costs of redevelopment in these terms:

"For tenants, owners, and businessmen alike, the destruction of the neighborhood exacted social and psychological losses. The clearance destroyed not only old build ings, but a functioning social system. The scattering of families and friends was espe cially harmful to the many older people."

Redevelopment leads to the destruction of badly needed housing units and it does not prevent slums from reappearing in other parts of the city. It also contributes to the impoverishment of the original residents by reduction of job opportunities, as resettlement areas are usually located outside of the city proper (Mirbod, 1984).

In the majority of western countries, redevelopment has been discarded as a way to rejuvenate old city centers. However, in many developing countries, redevelopment through slum clearance and reconstruction is still regarded as the only viable way to improve housing conditions and to modernize inner-city areas.

b) Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation, often termed conservation or preservation, can be defined as the opposite of redevelopment. It is based on preserving, repairing, and restoring the natural and man-made environ ments of existing neighborhoods. Rehabilitation is applicable to areas where buildings are generally in structurally sound condition but have deteriorated because of neglected maintenance (Miller, 1959). It takes advantage of the existing housing stock as a valuable resource and adapts old houses to present -day life and acceptable standards by providing modern facilities (Zhu Zixuan, 1989).

Citizen participation is a recurring theme throughout all phases of the rehabilitation process. People organize themselves into neighborhood associations which lobby local governments to provide technical and financial assistance and improve public services, and to encourage other residents to fix up their housing (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). Laquian (1984) considers security of tenure and homeownership to be essential ways to encourage self-help and community-based upgrading efforts.

Rehabilitation recognizes that the limited availability of funds for new construction and the serious housing shortage make the option of destroying already-existing housing appear both unaffordable and imprudent. It recognizes the value of old neighborhoods and, by preserving what is unique, ancient, and specifically local, it can also contribute to the development of the tourism indus try and stimulate the economy. From the standpoint of time and cost, rehabilitation is a sensible solution to the problem of neighborhood regeneration 4(Mirbod, 1984).

Concerning the impacts on the population, residential rehabilitation can take place in two dis tinct ways: gentrification5 andincumbent upgrading (Clay, 1979). Gentrification is defined as the process by which middle- and upper-class people move to a neighborhood, attracted by its proximity to central business districts and replace the previous working-class inhabitants (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981) (Varady, 1986).

Through the process of incumbent upgrading, the residents remain in place and invest in their own time, money, and energy into refurbishing their housing and improving their social conditions (Varady, 1986). In developing countries, upgrading generally refers to a comprehensive developmental approach wherein the original population remains on the site and incrementally upgrades the neighborhood, with or without public assistance. By treating the resident population as an active force in the housing process, this approach generates a greater pride in the neighborhood and halts the im pending deterioration caused by a lack of investment and environmental concern (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). It also respects the social links that have formed within and among the communi ties over the years.

However, many people do not consider rehabilitation to be a realistic approach because of the technical difficulties and the amount of work and research involved. Rehabilitation is often perceived as a complex and time-consuming process which is more difficult to implement than redevelopment. It requires a high degree of social organization and social responsibility, as well as a total reorganization of the housing process. It is sometimes resisted by developers, who see it as an infringement on free enterprise and a barrier to large-scale redevelopment (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). In many in stances, old houses are so dilapidated and their original character lost after so many years that it is unrealistic to attempt to upgrade them and to raise their conditions to appropriate standards. The introduction of new infrastructure to old and dense neighborhoods can also be a difficult task.

c) Integration

The third approach to neighborhood regeneration, referred to as integration, views rehabilitation and redevelopment as complementary forces and combines the best aspects of both approaches. It consists of rehabilitation of what can realistically be saved, combined with reconstruction of new buildings in place of those beyond the reach of feasible rehabilitation (Yu Qingkang, 1988).

Integration is considered today to be the most acceptable way to regenerate old neighborhoods. It allows for flexible project implementation which can preserve the traditional urban environment and its human scale while achieving respectable densities. It respects the social order of the community by rehousing the majority of the original residents on the site and invites mass participation. Integration results in the creation of rich environments through the integration of new buildings within the exist ing neighborhoods and allows for the development of a new form of contemporary architecture with local characteristics, enriching the appearance of the old city while maintaining its identity. However, for many developers and local authorities, integration remains a time-consuming process, less profitable than redevelopment with mass housing.

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1.3. Critical issues

Urban renewal can affect the urban environment at many levels. The preservation of the city's identity, community, local culture and natural and built environments, must be given special attention in the process of renewal.

a) Urban Identity

A frequent challenge faced in the sensitive reshaping of an already-existing environment is discovering and preserving its own visible structure and drawing out its inherent image and identity. Urban renewal modifies not only the physical form of the urban environment but also transforms the way in which it is perceived and experienced, and the psychological and emotional relationships be tween humans and urban places (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). Among the most important ele ments cited in the literature regarding the definition of the urban environment are: diversity, and con tinuity (Mumford, 1956) (Lynch, 1960) (Jacobs, 1961).

Diversity, at all levels, is essential for the creation of a lively urban environment, and should be encouraged through urban renewal. According to Jane Jacobs (1961), one of the greatest assets of a city is its wholeness in bringing together an unpredictable mix of people with communities of inter ests. For her, big cities, with their intricate mingling of uses and complex interweaving of paths, are natural generators of diversity and prolific incubators of new enterprises and ideas of all kind (Jacobs, 1961). For Marcia Nozick (1992), form the Canadian Council on Social Development, diversity is essential for city life to work decently and constructively, and for the people to sustain and further develop their society and civilization.

Kevin Lynch (1960) considers that, although diversity is an essential characteristic of the urban environment, the complexity of the modern city also calls for continuity. He defines the city as :"... an area of homogeneous character recognized by clues which are continuous throughout the district and discontinuous elsewhere" (Lynch, 1960: 103). For Holcomb and Beauregard (1981), the sense of continuity of place is necessary to people's sense of reality, and the city should apprehended over time as a pattern of high continuity with many distinctive parts which are clearly interconnected. It is there fore important to maintain the city's homogeneity and continuity even after its renewal. According to Lynch (1981), local continuity should be a key aim in reshaping settlements. For him, the aim of renewal should be " to maintain continuity , both of the community itself and the image of history and of nature that is held by its members" (Lynch, 1981: 260).

Diversity and continuity appear to be essential components of the urban environment which must be preserved in the process of urban renewal. However, in recent years, the emergence of a global model has been threatening local identity, integrity and authenticity, and cities around the world have become increasingly uniform (Nozick, 1992). Respecting the city's own identity through urban re newal will help rescue cities from the "placelessness" of contemporary international architecture and the homogeneous values of the mass culture (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981) (Nozick, 1992).

b) Environmental Concerns

The preservation of natural and man-made environments is another important issue which should not be overlooked in the process of renewal. Old buildings, monuments, parks, and neighborhoods, as well as the old pattern of the city which gives the city its unique character are necessary to maintain the city's vitality (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981)(Van der Ryn & Calthorpe, 1986).

The preservation of the historic core, which provides future generations with stimulating ideas from their cultural heritage, is essential for the development of modern cities (Wang, 1992). Cervellatti 6 considers the historic core of a city as the "collective memory of the population", and, even with its internal contradictions, as the only truly modern, authentically livable part of the city (Cervellatti, in Hatch, 1984).

Present, past, and future history are all equally important in the making of a modern city (Van der Ryn & Calthorpe, 1986). According to Lewis Mumford (1956: 156):

"No adequate image of the emerging city can be formed without reference both to the most enduring and valuable features of historic cities as well as to the fresh departure and fresh opportunities that our modern age, with its immense store of knowl edge, wealth and power has opened up."

Over the last few years, there has been a heightened appreciation of the value of preserving old sections of the urban fabric. For more than one-hundred years, writers on architecture have returned to the pre-industrial town for models for a saner, more organic society. The historic core has become the point of reference for planners and architects. Some even consider the historic core to represent the design model that will ultimately be used to transform the remainder of the city (Cervellatti, in Hatch, 1984).

However, preservation must be handled with caution, and it requires a deep understanding of the nature of the city. A misinterpretation of the process by which cities evolve through time can lead to the creation of sanitized environments, or the reconstruction of an imaginary and more acceptable past (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). For Lewis Mumford (1961: 3):

"If we would lay a new foundation for urban life, we must understand the historic nature of the city, and distinguish between its original functions, those that have emerged from it, and those that may still be called forth."

c) Social Concerns

Concerns for the physical and psychological well-being of the individual and the community are essential for sensitive renewal. Urban renewal can either involve re-accommodation of the original population on the site after its renewal or its transfer to another part of the city through relocation. According to Kazemian (1991), relocation generally occurs in large-scale housing projects built in isolated environments and far from the city center, where access to facilities like schools and health services, is limited.

For the population, displacement carries not only financial costs, but social and emotional costs as well. Urban renewal often leads to the dissolution of urban communities and the loss of prox imity to friends and relatives. People need to know that their communities will continue to exist and be able to provide for the present and future needs of themselves and their children (Nozick, 1992). In general, new social links are not easily formed in large-scale mass-housing projects (Nozick, 1992).

It is generally recognized that displacement from familiar locations translates into drastic changes in lifestyle and requires long-term readjustment which can cause serious psychological trauma, espe cially for the most vulnerable portion of the population, i.e. young children and the elderly 7 (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). The loss of contact with a familiar environment to which people have devel oped strong emotional attachments may occurs both when residents are displaced and when familiar environments are radically altered by revitalizing activities (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). Jane Jacobs (1961, 279) explains this attachment as "the security of the home base, being, in part, a literal security from physical fear" (Jacobs, 1961: 279). However, little is written about the psychological costs of the destruction of an environment to which one is emotionally attached.

The high economic, social and emotional costs paid by evicted residents have generally been written off as an unavoidable by-product of "progress" and a necessary consequence of moderni zation (Kazemian, 1991). While the governments can intervene to compensate victims for part of the economic costs of displacement, the psychological costs are less easily mitigated. Relocation therefore remains an important aspect of the process of renewal and should be given special attention.

d) Cultural Concerns

The preservation of a unique urban culture is another critical issue in the process of urban renewal. Culture has been defined as the whole social mode of life, or the mode of life of the people in general (Azevedo, in Teixeira, 1990), and as the collective expression of shared history, traditions, values and ways of life (Nozick, 1992). The continuity of a culture is carried in its architecture, urban design, and planning, as well as in its community life (Van der Ryn, 1986). Urban culture can therefore be said to be closely related to the evolution of the relationship between the urban built environment and its social structure. The disappearance of the physical and social manifestations of a particular culture would lead to the decline of this culture.

The changes brought to the social, natural and build environment of the city through urban renewal can have a serious impact on the flourishing of urban culture. Just as much as the preservation of the environment and community can be important for that of the local culture, culture is itself essential in their development. It is often the local culture which defines what is special and unique about a group of people or a place, giving them their identity and making them last over generations (Nozick, 1992). It is therefore important to ensure that in the process of renewal, the urban culture is not destroyed, but stimulated and promoted through a conscious transformation of the urban environ ment.

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1.4. Summary: Urban Renewal As A Multi-Faceted Process

Urban renewal can be defined as a social and technical partnership based on the unification of the vision of politicians and designers and on the wide acceptance of the same by the community. It is thus a multi-faceted and complex process which should not be viewed merely as a physical and finan cial proposition, but as a sociological, cultural, economical and political matter as well (Couch, 1990). Past experience has demonstrated the need to view neighborhood regeneration as a comprehensive and integrated process. According to Lewis Mumford (1956; 43), "an organic conception of city planning, dealing with all the phases of life as well as all the functions of a community, is essential to create a truly livable environment."

It therefore appears that a realistic renewal program must approach regeneration in a holistic way and be based upon a multi-disciplinary understanding of the social and economic forces affecting urban areas and the physical nature of towns and cities. It thus requires variety and subtlety in policy responses (Couch, 1990). Nearly one century ago, Patrick Geddes (1968 (1915): 205) drew critical conclusions about planning approaches, which can be related to urban renewal:

"...town planning is not something which can be done from above, on general principles easily laid down, which can be learned in one place and imitated in another... It is the development of a local life, a regional character, a civic spirit, a unique indi viduality, capable of course of growth and expansion, of improvement and develop ment in many ways, of profiting too by the example and criticism of others, yet always in its own way and upon its own foundations."

The many facets of neighborhood life should be analyzed in the process of developing an urban renewal program (Colborn, 1963). The fundamental prerequisite to the success of any program of development or renewal is the complete integration of these programs with the general plan of the urban area (Miller, 1959).

This chapter gave an overview of the phenomenon of urban renewal and neighborhood regen eration in a global perspective. The following chapter familiarizes the reader with the Chinese context and provides background information on planning and housing issues in China.

1 The notion that a city may be thought of as an organism developed after the rise of biology in the 18th and 19th centuries and is still the most prevalent normative model among planning professionals today (Lynch, 1981).

2 The eligibility for squatters to be relocated as permanent tenants in public estates was based upon surveys of desig nated squatter areas. Squatters whose dwelling did not appear on the surveys were relocated to temporary housing until they were eligible for public housing. Initially, temporary housing was in the form of a sites and services scheme. Lots were equipped with water and electricity, and with communal toilets dispersed in the area. The sites were also provided with community services and daily facilities. More recently, the temporary housing has consisted of long and narrow two-story structures with fully built units with kitchen/shower rooms (HKHA, 1988).

3 The 1966 Land Acquisition Act gave the state increased powers to acquire land, allowing it to purchase land speedily and at reasonable costs for public purposes. As a result, the state acquired over 70% of the land on the island, which greatly simplified the urban renewal process (Castells et al. 1990).

4 Experts do not agree on the actual costs of rehabilitation compared with reconstruction. In China the cost of rehabili tation is evaluated at about 50% of the cost of new buildings (McQuillan, 1985). According to UNCHS, some countries consider that if the cost of rehabilitation exceeds 1/6 of the cost or rebuilding, rebuilding is favored. In the United Kingdom, however, it is argued that it is worth spending up to 75% of the cost of rebuilding owing to the reduced loss to the housing stock (UNCHS, 1982).

5 The term gentrification is attributed to Ruth Glass, who described a phenomenon occurring in London in the early 1960's. Shabby, working class mews were acquired by middle-class people, who converted them to elegant and expensive homes. Because the wordgentry implies a land-owning aristocracy, gentrification may be etymologically inappropriate. Nevertheless, it has acquired widespread and popular acceptance. Gentrification occurs when there is a substantial replace ment of a neighborhood's residents with newcomers who are of higher income and who, having acquired homes cheaply, renovate them and upgrade the neighborhood (Holcomb and Beauregard, 1981). The term gentrification is commonly used to refer to changes in the composition of the neighborhood population, resulting in new social organizational patterns (Palen and London, 1984).

6 Mr Cervellatti was the chief architect for the historical preservation of the old city of Bologna

7 Studies have demonstrated that when the fundamental form of a living unit is changed, behavior is radically affected (Mann, 1984). Problems derived from breakdown from traditional family values and disorientation include violence, van dalism, and other forms of behavior, not uncommon among people living in large collections that are not communities (Chatfield-Taylor, 1981).

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