AbstractThe 1980s saw a dramatic increase in the number and size of urban renewal schemes in the U.K. The methods used to implement urban renewal were seen has having a considerable impact on local industries. The effect on the construction industry in regions of large scale urban renewal was the most obvious. A number of high profile innovations made by building companies to take advantage of urban renewal were documented. These included the formation of consortia both nationally and regionally, the formation of specialist divisions dedicated to undertaking urban renewal and an increase in the number of partnership schemes. However the true extent of these innovations throughout the industry was not known. Also there was no reliable information about the attitudes held by the industry towards urban renewal and its future on a national basis.
In order to remedy this lack of knowledge this research project was commenced the Autumn of 1988. It was based upon a questionnaire survey of the largest 867 building companies in the U.K. The questionnaire was devised with the help of the collaborating establishment, Lovell Urban Renewal Ltd, and referred to previously documented responses made by building companies towards urban renewal.
Of the target population of 867 companies 209 companies completed and returned the questionnaire. Statistical analysis of this sample showed that a large proportion of companies felt that they had responded to urban renewal. The majority of these responses, however, appeared to be superficial with only slight organisational adaptations and changes in working practice involved. The proportion of companies that had innovated in fundamental ways was much lower although they still formed a significant number of companies. The most common of these fundamental innovations were the formation of consortia and the use of joint ventures with a variety of partners.
Attitudes towards urban regeneration varied significantly between larger and smaller companies and between those involved and those not involved suggesting that misconceptions about the nature of urban renewal may be widespread.
Although the number of companies employing fundamental innovations is relatively small there was an expectation from virtually the entire sample that the number and scale of urban renewal schemes would continue to grow. Also an increasing number of companies expected to find the urban renewal market important to them in the future. The findings of this research may be of interest to such companies.
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