The Future of Strategic Brownfield Regeneration in England-Between Urban Intensification and Green Infrastructure Provision
1 ABSTRACT The reuse of brownfield land is an important objective of planning and regeneration policies in many countries. In England this has been a key component of the urban renaissance agenda since the late 1990s. The national target for England to provide by 2008 a minimum of 60% of new housing on previously developed land (PDL) (Adams 2004) has been well exceeded with an estimated 90% of dwellings (including conversions) built on PDL in 2009 (CLG 2010). While on the one hand this can be
... en as a success of a target-driven regional and national planning policy supported by a restriction of greenfield development in the open countryside, one can also argue that this urban intensification policy came at the cost of a lack of green infrastructure development within urban areas, an approach advocated by many landscape planners as part of the provision of social infrastructure. The first two parts of this paper discuss the last decade of strategic brownfield land redevelopment across England both in terms of policy context and by showing the patterns of change using data from the Land Use Change Statistics and the National Land Use Database for Previously Developed Land. This part of the paper is based on analyses produced for projects with the Homes and Communities Agency and the Housing and Neighbourhood Monitor of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Following on from this quantitative analysis, the following part of the paper discusses future policy options and related strategies of local authorities in the light of both national targets for housing provision on PDL and local environmental green-space considerations. This is based on a series of expert interviews conducted in summer 2009. The concluding section also considers the most recent policy changes. Although the themes discussed in this paper focus on England, they are relevant for planning and regeneration in other countries as well. In Germany for example targets for reducing the use of greenfield land for housing and the regeneration of brownfield sites have become important policy themes over recent years, and there are important lessons to be learnt from the experiences in England. 2 THE POLICY CONTEXT FOR BROWNFIELD REGENERATION The strategic reuse of brownfield land has been a key element of urban regeneration in the England since the late 1990s. Although many of the original policy aspirations were targeted at the whole UK, due to the devolution process this paper focuses on the policy context and patterns of change in England. The urban renaissance agenda (Urban Task Force 1999; DETR 2000) and the government's sustainable development strategy (DETR 1999) introduced the target of building 60% of new housing on previously developed land or through conversion of existing buildings.