Almost every city has neighborhoods and sites that have become disinvested or otherwise underutilized. Such areas can contribute to blight, reduce a city’s attractiveness and livability, detract from its economic base and competitiveness, and marginalize certain residents. A key challenge for city leaders is how to revitalize these underutilized areas—and in doing so unlock their latent value and contribute to the city’s fiscal, social, and environmental sustainability.
This TDD on urban regeneration sought to enhance city decision makers’ knowledge and technical capacity to implement urban revitalization initiatives, particularly by identifying viable business models that can also maximize the government’s economic and policy goals. The program provided a conceptual and practical overview of (i) the real estate development process, including the effect of real estate market dynamics on the timing and feasibility of potential projects; (ii) incorporation of real estate market data into government decision making on land use planning and release of public sector land for development; and (iii) application of these concepts and skills to ongoing urban regeneration initiatives.
The program explored Japanese, Korean, and other global examples of government strategies to spur regeneration, including cases focused on urban regeneration catalyzed by development or relocation of government assets, construction of new parks and/or civic space, and repurposing of former industrial sites. Site visits to Kasumigaseki Common Gate, Skytree, and Toyosu in Tokyo provided lessons on how to revitalize public spaces and brownfields using public-private partnerships and citizen engagement schemes. Site visits in Seoul, including Seoullo 7017, Dandaemung Design Plaza, Seoul City Hall, World Cup Park, and Sangam DMC, showed participants how local governments can take leadership in urban regeneration projects. The program was well received by clients as well as World Bank staff specializing in urban regeneration. Drawing on the TDD, some clients expressed their interest in introducing Japanese approaches (such as land readjustment and other land value capture methods) in their urban development project.