Town Planning Review

Parkinson, Michael, Foley, Bernard and Judd, Dennis, "Regenerating the Cities: The" UK "Crisis and the" US "Experience" (Book Review)

Town Planning Review (1992), 63, (1), 87


92 BOOK REVIEWS tant to monetary and economic union, regional policy should be viewed as 'compensatory' in its purpose or an instrument of 'convergence'. These issues serve also as reference points for the authors' assessment of the 1989 reform of the Community's Structural Funds-seen essentially as a progression from earlier developments. Finally in this chapter the urban theme returns, 'the potential for regional response' being identified as 'primarily an urban one' (p. 300). Six of the authors contribute to the third perspective study which probes some of the likely consequences of the Single Market together with closer monetary and economic union. Interactions between these and forces making for concentration and decentralisation, including information technology, lead the authors to expect, in general. further advantage to be gained by city regions already well placed, while older, non-metropolitan, industrial areas seem destined to suffer further. Speculation on the relative position of Europe's 'world cities' follows fairly familiar lines: an assessment of the future for Berlin and Vienna, given changes in Eastern Europe, does, however, provide the reader with an up-to-date perspective. Sazanami's 'postscript' turns out to be far from an afterthought. In a clear and direct exposition he records a number of the successes and failures in efforts to disperse economic activity from Japan's three major metropolitan regions of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Some success in halting the net migration in favour of those regions was achieved by use of a combination of infrastructure and tax policies and the setting up of a development corporation to pursue the objectives of a comprehensive development plan. Subsequently the 'grow first, distribute later' syndrome seems to have held more sway, encouraging private capital towards the 'low risk' major metropolitan regions. The typically vigorous response has been, among other measures, to establish 25 technopolises. While many have had some success, it is clear to Sazanami that a more effective response requires concentration on a smaller number of regional metropolises. That, however, would not only demand closer coordination of government policies, but also changes in local government structure, not to mention some tough political decisions. The relevance to at least some parts of Western Europe is too obvious to need further comment from the reviewer. UNCRD and the authors are to be congratulated. This book provides not only its own comparative analysis, but also both a source for more and an inspiration for others to follow. D C STROUD Department of the Environment Copyright © 2010 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Copyright © Liverpool University Press. Regenerating the Cities: The UK Crisis and the US Experience, Michael Parkinson, Bernard Foley and Dennis Judd, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1991. x + 181 pp., £10.95 Regenerating the Cities, published in 1988 and now issued in paperback, contains papers presented at a Fulbright Colloquium at the University of Liverpool in September 1986. Since then we have had two elections, and on both occasions a Conservative Government has been re-elected. The Tories belatedly discovered the importance of the inner city after the 1987 election, with Mrs Thatcher announcing that they would be the next concern. As a result, we had Action for Cities which, if nothing else, improved the glossiness of the packaging of the Government's policies for the inner cities. More to the point, in giving some credibility to the Government's aims for a greater involvement. by the private sector, we have had a property boom, but now that has burst and the property industry is in the depths of its worst recession since the 1970s. More fundamentally, we are now in a severe economic recession, with little sign of a swift recovery. Mrs Thatcher has gone and Michael Heseltine is once more the Secretary of State for the Environment, once again announcing new packages of aid to Liverpool. among other cities. So what have we to learn from these papers of five years ago? The five papers by British authors have little that is new to tell us. Goldsmith, in a scenesetting paper, discusses the major social. economic and political trends within which inner city policies were working. Boyle provides a useful, brief summary of the evolution of the Scottish Development Agency in its attempts to involve the private sector in urban regeneration, reminding us once more of the very real differences in political culture between Scotland and England. Boddy analyses the processes of economic change in Bristol. Two papers are devoted to Liverpool. Parkinson gives a detailed account of the fiscal and political crisis of that City, a crisis still continuing today. Ben-Tovim notes the lack of an effective racial dimension to the policies of central and local government in Liverpool. However, it must be said that much of this material is covered more fully by the authors in more substantial books. It was a pity, too, that space could not have been found for examples from other cities such as Birmingham or Newcastle, where the experience has been different. Thus, for British readers, the more interesting and usefu I papers are those on the American experience. And that is just as well. since one of the aims of the colloquium was to benefit from that experience. Two points can be made straight away. Most of the American case studies were concerned much more

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Author details

Davies, H. W. E.