Edwards details

[This web site was established to support projects funded by the Leverhulme Trust in 2009-10. It remains in use as a platform for publications directly and indirectly generated by that research.]

Restoring collective interest in urban development – Michael Edwards

[extract from application to the Leverhulme Trust]

Give an abstract of your proposed research in no more than 100 words.  This should be in non-technical terms so as to be easily comprehensible to a non-expert.

This project analyses the underlying instabilities and inequalities of the market-led urban development model dominant until its current crash, and the potential of alternative  models. The project draws together, updates and synthesizes professional experience, academic research and international network learning from the past 4 decades. The UK’s recent models for urban— especially housing—development have proved uniquely deficient, failing to provide good housing for all, redistributing wealth regressively, failing to capture revenues for infrastructure or collective services or to upgrade the stock for sustainability. My theoretical work and analysis of other European models offers appealing alternatives.

.Give a statement of your proposed research, including aims, objectives, methodology and outcomes to enable the Committee and your referees to form an evaluation of its scope and importance.

This is a self-contained project but has been planned in parallel with a related bid from Dr Robert Colenutt, which emphasises community-led development at the neighbourhood scale. We have worked together as colleagues in the field of urban development for over 30 years and our distinct but linked contributions would be mutually reinforcing.

(1) This project will be an analysis of the implications for urban development of the property and housing market systems of the last decades up to their collapse, assessing the responses of government, financial institutions and property market and town planning organisations to new conditions. The associated UK systems for securing private contributions to infrastructure and social housing costs (through agreements and levvies) are also disabled by the crisis and anyway needed replacing.

(2) My work over the last 20 years has been characterised by the analysis of urban development systems in terms of the relations between developers, investors, users, financial institutions and the various systems of planning and other state policies. A central concept has been ‘social relations of building provision’ developed by Michael Ball with who I co-edited a book in the 1980s. The approach remains powerful and can accommodate the inclusion of the pensions crisis (affecting people’s saving behaviour) and the growing inequalities of income and wealth which are central features of today’s scene. It also lends itself to international comparative analysis where other countries or cities have evolved very different welfare regimes, tenure forms, lease structures or land-supply practices.

(3) I plan to interview key practitioners in UK and some other institutions (public, private and academic) to update and re-validate my earlier knowledge and appreciation of relevant practices. The main activity, however, will be writing-up of the work as a series of papers (initially in my blog for debate and at the conclusion of the project) as a book.

About the applicant

My research and professional work has all been concerned with the economics of urban development forms, from working as a young planner on the economic plans for Peterborough, Milton Keynes (government initiatives) and Cramlington (private) new towns. My subsequent practice, teaching and research have all focused on the interface of public policy with private market activity, with some theoretical work on the theory of rent but focusing predominantly on issues of structure and agency in land-development arrangements and social/legal institutions.

I was the initiator and director of the first Masters programme on planning and property development interactions, set from the outset in a European comparative context and that educational work facilitated further study of land policy, housing and commercial development systems internationally. On this I co-edited a book and was one of the founders of INURA, a research network for international collaboration (mainly in Europe).

Most recently I have been active in the critical discussion of housing and planning strategies for London, invited to give evidence at all 3 of the London Plan public hearings, and to contribute to a symposium on the Thames Gateway. I have been invited as a keynote speaker at conferences and symposia in 8 other European countries since 2000.  I thus have a good knowledge of a rich range of land development practices across the continent and good academic and professional networks in the field.

Major Publications  full list at http://michaeledwards.org.uk/?page_id=30

2008 Blue Skies over Bluewater, in London’s Turning: the making of the Thames Gateway, edited by Mike Rustin and Phil Cohen, Ashgate. Eprint at  http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/5016

2009 forthcoming  King’s Cross: renaissance for whom?, in (ed John Punter) Urban Design, Urban Renaissance and British Cities, London: Routledge.  Eprint at  http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/14020

2006 Hamlet without the prince: whatever happened to capital in Working Capital? City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action 10(2), 197-204. Eprint http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/2029

2006 What if? …the next London Plan were better? Planning in London 57, 26-29

2004 Wealth Creation and Poverty Creation: Global-local interactions in the economy of London in Paloscia, R (ed, for INURA) The Contested Metropolis: Six Cities at the Beginning of the 21st Century Birkhäuser.

assisted by de Magalhães, C, Karadimitriou, N, Rehman, K (2004) The funding and development of the built environment: the research agenda London: RICS Foundation which commissioned it.  Eprint at  http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/5203

2001 City design: what went wrong at Milton Keynes? Journal of Urban Design 6(1), 87-96. Eprint at  http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/4642

with Marsh, C (2001) Sustainable property development. in Layard, A, Davoudi, S, Batty, S (eds) Planning for a Sustainable Future London: Spon, 149-164.

2000 Property markets and the production of inequality. in Watson, S, Bridge, G (eds) A Companion to the City. Oxford and Malden MA: Blackwell, 599-608.

with Ball M J, Bentivegna, V and Folin, M (1985) Land Rent, Housing and Urban Planning: A European Perspective Croom Helm London

A full list of Michael Edwards publications with links to downloads is at http://michaeledwards.org.uk/?page_id=30

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