The Retreat of the State: The Challenges Faced by Regeneration Managers in a Climate of Austerity

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Civil Society, Social Movements and Crises for Public Management: Looking for Consensus: Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management, 2013, 2 pp. 59 - 85
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Abstract Purpose of this chapter A climate of austerity has gripped the politico-economic philosophy of many nation states across Europe and beyond as governments seek to rebalance budget deficits. This presents unique challenges for those engaged in purposeful acts aiming to regenerate communities of places – the regeneration managers. Design/methodology/approach England provides an interesting case study to examine some of the prime challenges facing regeneration managers by focusing on the ideologies that have informed successive UK governments’ policy responses and spatial strategies. The main body of research, including interviews, was carried out between 2010 and 2012, and was subsequently updated in early 2013. Findings Tracing an apparent transmutation of urban regeneration policy, the chapter helps to unmask a spatially unjust neoliberal toolkit, albeit pierced by some socially motivated actually existing regeneration initiatives. The transmutation of regeneration that has taken place is often concealed by de facto austerity measures and austerity politics. Research limitations The programme of interviews remains ongoing, as the research continues to track the shifting contours of state-led regeneration policy. Analysis is therefore provisional and explorative, with more detailed research reports and publications subject to follow. Practical implications The chapter explores emerging new agendas and sets out to identify some of the primary challenges that regeneration managers must face. Social implications ‘Regeneration’ as a state-led policy objective and political concern has been virtually expunged from the Coalition lexicon. The present policy preference is to target public resources in ‘value-added’ schemes that favour private oriented objectives in a highly unbalanced way. What is original/value of paper The curtailment of broader regeneration debates has framed discussions limited to the depth of cuts, the speed of implementation and the spatial distribution of such measures. The result is that regeneration, understood as a capitalist policy instrument intended to respond to and assuage the outcomes produced by capitalist frameworks, is no more.
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