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Affordable workspace: a critical evaluation of planning policy and implementation in London

Ferm, J.A.-M.; (2011) Affordable workspace: a critical evaluation of planning policy and implementation in London. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Rising land values accompanying the growth of central business districts and popularity of inner city living in resurgent world cities have raised questions about the impact on lower value, small businesses, who struggle to compete for space in the city. In London, planning authorities are developing policies based on the affordable housing model that require developers of mixed-use schemes on land previously in employment use, to include an amount of ‘affordable workspace’. This research examines policy objectives and outcomes of thirteen mixed-use schemes with affordable workspace across London, with a particular focus on the London Borough of Hackney, which has been using planning gain to implement affordable workspace since 2003. The perspectives of the three main stakeholders are considered; the planning authority, the developer and the workspace provider. The research reveals that the motivations for affordable workspace policies are more about promoting economic development – in particular either protecting or promoting creative industry clusters – than promoting social equity or sustainability. To ascertain whether policy is addressing the problem, the case studies explore the factors influencing the success of schemes, the difficulty of defining and delivering ‘affordability’, whether the causes of the problem are being tackled, and who are the winners and losers. The impact of policy on economic development, city vibrancy, social equity and sustainability is analysed. The policy’s contribution to job creation, cluster formation and economic diversity is explored with reference to local and regional objectives. The research shows that, although there are clear benefits of the policy for artists and small, creative industry businesses, there are problems of industrial gentrification, the plight of lower-value businesses, and homogenous developments that contribute little to the economic or social diversity of the area. Recommendations are made for alternative or complementary strategies to address the problems facing small, low-value businesses in cities.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Affordable workspace: a critical evaluation of planning policy and implementation in London
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Planning

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