New research from OISD: Real Estate and Policy Group suggests that other cities can learn from the recent experience of Manchester and Osaka in bringing brownfield sites back into use. The research, which was funded by the RICS Education Trust and Kajima Foundation, was led by Professor Tim Dixon, Director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (and Professor of Real Estate in the Department of Real Estate and Construction), at Oxford Brookes University, in partnership with Osaka University.
The research is important in providing a comprehensive description of the Japanese property and planning context and suggests that both cities can share from their experiences in terms of successful urban regeneration. The key messages from the research are:
- Hardcore brownfield sites have been badly hit by the recent recession in both Manchester and Osaka.
- Despite this, there is not only evidence that hardcore sites have been successfully regenerated in both cities, but also that the critical success factors operating in both cities in bringing sites back into use share a large degree of commonality.
- Both England and Japan would benefit from better data and information on brownfields and contamination.
- Both countries need to explore new vehicles for funding infrastructure and clean-up during a period when public purses are severely constrained.
- There are lessons the UK can learn from the Japanese experience of the 'lost decade' of the 1990s.
The research was based on an extensive review of literature and policy from England and Japan. More than 30 key stakeholders were interviewed (17 in Manchester and 14 in Osaka) and ten case studies (five in each city) were analysed to identify examples of best practice.
Although tax increment financing (TIF), local asset backed vehicles and other incentives were mentioned as possible measures to rekindle regeneration in the UK, it was felt that the recession would continue to have an effect. Until confidence returns and the banks start to lend, recovery will be slow. The policy implications for the UK are
- improving the knowledge and understanding of tax relief and other incentives for contaminated land;
- reconsidering the implementation and effect of the proposed community infrastructure levy;
- reforming empty rates; and
- considering accelerated development zones and TIF.
Strategies should be put in place to ensure that risk management and due diligence procedures are followed when brownfield sites are redeveloped. This is important for national regeneration policies, particularly in Osaka, where foreign investment is vital. Moreover, Japan's 'lost decade' offers important lessons for countries seeking to support recovery in their property markets. During that period, Japan focused on urban redevelopment policy, using Urban Revitalization Zones as a key platform for revitalising its large cities. UK policy makers could learn from these lessons as the economy struggles to move out of recession.
News Item Dated:
25th August 2010
'A tale of two cities' (PDF)
Prof Tim Dixon, OISD