Partnerships in Two European Cities
Regeneration partnerships in European cities in the 1990s are more complex and embrace wider goals than a decade ago. They have evolved with the benefit of a growing bank of experience, changing circumstances, and demands. Two cities that illustrate this trend especially well are Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Both have been among the most innovative in regeneration for two decades and were founding members of Euro-cities, which has become the voice of big European cities.
A brief introduction follows for each city—economic background, government, and regeneration experience—and then two partnership case studies in context. The city council emerges as the dominant partner and facilitator but, in the Birmingham case, the city council is more financially stressed and therefore has to be more resourceful than in the 1980s.
What is happening in Birmingham is of local significance but is especially interesting as a case study in that it involves the transfer of some decision making about resource allocation to local residents. At the same time, the council acts as the enabling body in a joint venture of public and private interests to develop a major site in the area.
The Rotterdam case study focuses on the Kop van Zuid, a highly ambitious project to build virtually a small city in an almost derelict dock area south of the river. This is one of the largest property development ventures in European regeneration and demands sensitive handling relative to disadvantaged adjacent neighborhoods.