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Cities, Urban Development Projects and Their Drivers


MandlebrotWithin a city or group of nearby cities, many urban development projects are progressing at the same time. These projects are driven by a number of influences, both external and internal. One of the most important external influences is government strategy, at national, regional and local levels.

Local government not only interprets national and regional policy about planning, urban design, sustainability and so forth; they also create their own policy to suit local contexts. Thus, top-down and bottom-up approaches are utilised in driving forth urban development projects. Other external influences include the state of the economy, political will and pressure, funding, private sector control over development and popular sentiment about design. Depending on the city, one or more of these external influences will play a large role in overall development.

A significant internal influence on urban development projects in cities is scale. Scale, in this sense, refers to the spatial size and magnitude of projects. On the VivaCity2020 project, for example, researchers looked at projects that ranged in size from an urban block to a 2,200-hectare site. Scale also refers to the temporality associated with how long the projects last, from an idea, through to design and project construction, to the use of that site and then the decline and regeneration of that site. The temporal scale of the urban development projects examined by VivaCity2020 varied from 2 years to 25 years.


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© Images Copyright Andrew Wooton 2008

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