Liverpool Vision – regenerating Liverpool city centre – UK
The City of Liverpool has been confronted with year long decline, growing unemployment resulting in increasing deprivation and a dramatic fall in population numbers. By forming a city wide partnership, with the support of regional, national and European authorities, the city seems to have been able to turn the tide.
The population of Liverpool has fallen from approximately 700,000 people in the 1960s to about 400,000 in 2003. The drop in population numbers is largely caused by the loss of employment opportunities in the Merseyside region (of which Liverpool forms the centre) as a whole. Liverpool is trying to make the transition from a mono-functional economy of harbour and harbour processing industries - sectors nowadays characterised by ‘jobless growth’ - to a knowledge driven service economy. Another challenge is to stabilise the fall in population numbers, and to attract new inhabitants and economic activity to the city centre. The redevelopment of inner-city brownfield sites offers ample opportunity for this.
Central in the physical and social regeneration of Liverpool is the aspect of ‘partnership’:
- In order to coordinate all regeneration practices and to make sure all stakeholders are involved, the Liverpool Vision Urban Regeneration Company (URC) was established in 1999. Liverpool City Council, Northwest Development Agency and English Partnerships - the national regeneration agency - are the main partners in Liverpool Vision. Local employers, amenity groups and community representatives are also involved.
- Another important institution in Liverpool’s regeneration effort is Liverpool First, a partnership of public, private, voluntary and community-sector organisations working to improve the economic and social prosperity of the city. Whereas Liverpool Vision is involved in the physical regeneration of the area, Liverpool First is reponsible for producing the ‘community strategy’, focused at development of the community as a whole.
In the last years, Liverpool has achieved some promising results:
- The loss of population has stopped.
- More people now live in the city centre, from 2,300 in 1990 to 14,000 at the end of 2006.
- Liverpool has been elected Cultural Capital of Europe for the year 2008, spurring new investment and raising real estate value in the city centre with an estimated twenty per cent.
- Employment has grown, in other sectors than the harbour, for example in banking, financing, tourism and entertainment.
Liverpool seems to be on the right track, but the local economy still is weak when compared to the national average:
- Employment has grown, but growth is still lagging behind the UK average. The growth in jobs has occurred noticeably in the distribution, hotel and restaurant sector. The city’s 'renaissance' is for a large part built on leisure and entertainment.
- Unemployment rates are still double the national average. Mean income in the city is only 75 per cent of the national level.
- Thousands of vacant dwellings are still present in the city.
- As a result, Liverpool’s social and economic fabric still remains highly polarised – it even increased. As redevelopment continues the coming years, ongoing and deepening polarisation is expected.
The challenge is to attract more diverse, knowledge intensive jobs to the city in order to widen the base of the economic recovery, and to realise the social economic ‘spill-overs’ anticipated upon in the ‘Liverpool Vision’.
Under the European Regional Development Fund and the Objective One criteria, the European Union has co-financed projects, allocating over 3.5 billion euros to the Liverpool region.
Mr Peter Smith (Marketing Manager), tel. +44 151 707 8007
Project start date