Governments around Australia are spending significant amounts of public funds on sponsoring redevelopment
and renewal projects. Given this level of investment, it is important that the redevelopment process itself
maximises local and regional economic development opportunities.
Experience suggests three requirements for successful renewal projects:
• The effective combination of ‘physical' (hard) and ‘community' (soft infrastructure) renewal;
• The early and ongoing ‘involvement' of the relevant community; and
• The effective integration of government support programs (i.e. a whole of government approach).
It was insights from UK commentators such as Hull (refer Figure 1), Welling, and Carley which drew
policymakers' attention to the need to integrate community and physical renewal, community involvement
and joined up-government. These researchers firmly believe that the scope of the urban renewal process
and the involvement of the different human services and employment and training agencies determine
the effectiveness of achieving long term employment opportunities for residents. Although benefits can be
derived from improvements to housing amenity and local environments (1) physical interventions should be
supported by wider and coordinated socio-economic interventions.
Figure 1. Successful English regeneration efforts
Hull reviewed the social outcomes of the urban regeneration activities undertaken in England
Space allocation in masterplanning can also be used to promote resident employment outcomes. There
should be sufficient space set aside in a master planned renewal area to house micro-businesses should
they develop as a result of other community development activities (e.g. business development,
entrepreneurship training). There should also be adequate space allocated to facilitate the development of
mixed uses, encouraging on-site employment in population dependent industries such as retail,
construction services, light manufacturing, transport services, recreation, health and other community services.
However, such ‘land use' approaches are more likely to succeed in areas where the socio-demographic mix is
similar to the ‘average' rather than in areas where high concentrations of disadvantage exist.
Strategies in highly disadvantaged communities
In highly disadvantaged communities the key challenge in creating real and on-going employment opportunities
is to ‘mainstream' the ‘employability' of residents. This can most effectively be undertaken by leveraging the
immediately available employment opportunities, associated with the renewal process, into longer-term
employment outcomes. For example, immediate opportunities that arise in construction and administrative
activities associated with renewal tasks could, with careful management, translate into skills that allow
participating residents to compete for jobs in the non-assisted mainstream.
Experience suggests that the challenge of breaking the cycle of long term unemployment in communities
requires firstly, an effective ‘incorporation of formal training' and certification associated with available
employment opportunities in the renewal process. Secondly, ‘continuity of employment' throughout a renewal
project and/or related mainstream projects also needs to be provided.
In terms of this continuity of employment, a central agency for coordinating employment and training needs
with relevant project work opportunities and funding sources is most beneficial. A trade-off can exist between
the ability of the ‘on-site' coordinating agency to link site-specific employment opportunities with others
available elsewhere in the wider region. Moreover, on-site coordinating agencies, if not connected via a wider
organisational framework, may find it difficult to identify relevant regional skills shortfalls, which might serve
as opportunities for resident employment once some work experience is gained. On the other hand, ‘off site'
coordinating agencies might miss some of the immediate work opportunities on the ground and may fail to
comprehend the particular nuances of the subject community. In short, a one size fits all model is not available,
as specific renewal projects and their host regions vary considerably.
Another key strategy is the delivery of accredited, or at least, formal training programs in areas that:
• Address known skills shortages in the wider community/ region (obviously related to identified wider area
• Are of significant interest to youth; and
• Are of direct relevance to immediate community renewal goals, i.e. in the health / community services /
1. Residents may benefit from a change in stigmas associated with their place of residence, and may have
their confidence, self-esteem and motivation boosted, leading to renewed job-seeking efforts and improved
prospects for longer term job satisfaction (Dean & Hastings 2000)