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Urban regeneration

Updated: 31 Aug 2014
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We are currently regenerating the Village area of Belfast
Donegall Avenue in the Village area of Belfast
We support urban regeneration in Northern Ireland in four ways:
  • By intervening directly
  • By acting as a catalyst
  • Facilitating/Enabling role
  • Agency/Partnership role.

Direct intervention

We do a lot to support urban regeneration directly, including:
  • improving housing and environmental conditions through our stock investment programme, intervention in the private market, and the promotion of improvement grants
  • delivering neighbourhood-based services and community development, community cohesion and community safety initiatives
  • promoting tenure diversity and mixed communities through our House Sales Scheme and land releasesplanning new developments
We have put in place over 250 renewal schemes across Northern Ireland, with twelve Urban Renewal Areas currently still in progress, and we are currently carrying out various estate strategies in some 40 urban housing estates.

Catalyst role

In areas such as Laganside, Springvale and Northgate in Belfast, our initial investment in housing has proved crucial in kickstarting wider initiatives and encouraging private sector confidence and investment.
Our housing programmes have often triggered wider physical and social regeneration in the area around them, as they provide a focus for other initiatives concerning environmental improvements, health & welfare, community development, community cohesion, and community safety.

Facilitating/enabling role

We play an important role in encouraging regeneration, both through the use of land that we own and the powers we have to buy and sell land.  We have the authority to give land to new social, private and community self-build housing schemes, and we can use the land and property we own to help community enterprise schemes, community facilities and social economy projects.
We encourage town and city centre regeneration by promoting town centre living and the Living Over The Shop (LOTS) initiative.

Agency/partnership role

We also play a major role in delivering regeneration initiatives in partnership with (or on behalf of) other agencies.  We are currently involved in over 400 regeneration partnerships across Northern Ireland.
We act as the DSD’s agent in delivering neighbourhood renewal funding and the Local Community Fund to a number of small urban areas across Northern Ireland, and have been working with others to deliver environmental regeneration through the Creating Common Ground, Greencare and Spaces for People initiatives.

Strategic Sectoral Housing & Regeneration Studies/Strategies

Much of the activity described above is delivered through our programme of strategic sectoral studies and strategies, and we are currently implementing strategies for West Belfast, Shankill, Brownlow, North Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Lisburn. If you would like to read any of the sectoral studies, please visit our Publications section.

Challenges

  • The impact of investors, buy-to-let, private renting and transient households on neighbourhood sustainability.
  • The financial implications of speculative activity and the resultant rising house prices in potential Urban Renewal Areas on acquisition/ implementation costs.
  • The difficulty of delivering affordable, low cost home ownership in Urban Renewal Areas with rising/high land values.
  • Ensuring that housing plans are integrated into wider regeneration strategies.  In particular the impact of RPA and the transfer of urban regeneration responsibilities to the new councils will demand new relationships and partnerships.

Actions

  • Urban Renewal Assessments are currently being prepared, subject to approval, for seven areas.
  • Estate strategies are currently being prepared for five areas.
  • A sectoral strategy is being developed for South Belfast, and a new study is being prepared for East Belfast.
  • Eight town sites studies are ongoing and five have not yet started.