Orna Svetlana Rosenfeld, SABE

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I was about to join another university when the University of Westminster won me over. I chose Westminster School of Architecture and the Built Environment for my PhD because of my supervisory team. Academically and professionally experienced, they were in a unique position to support me in researching one of the most complex planning interventions – residential relocation.

With such support my work yielded a prestigious award from the Association of European Schools of Planning in 2009 and invitations to publish in top rated journals before my graduation. In the course of my studies I have presented my research at numerous conferences, contributed UNDP and EBRD missions as well as a number of NGO’s internationally. My career aim is to continue and evolve this work. As housing markets change globally, residential relocation is one of the key challenges the urban regeneration and development sector is facing.

Residential relocation presents one of the most complex forms of planning intervention. Urban regeneration and development programmes involve planned demolition of existing housing in order to make space for new buildings. This requires the relocation of residents from dwellings earmarked for demolition to alternative homes. Achieving synergies between demolition, relocation and new building comes with extreme difficulties in managing the interests of different stakeholders.

The thesis examines governance processes shaping the experiences of neighbourhood restructuring-induced residential relocation in Housing Market Renewal areas in England. Since the 50s and 60s, residential relocation has been examined as a matter of social and political debate, especially in gentrification studies, focusing mainly on negative relocation outcomes long after the process was over. This thesis argues that such focus had led the researchers to ignore subtle, practical dimensions of relocation delivery and the causal relationships between these and often very diverse relocation outcomes. Based on the Housing Market Renewal case, the study shows that residential relocation in differentiated policies is delivered by complex networks of actors. Residential relocation outcomes are mixed and are the result of cooperation or non-cooperation of network members. Key innovation rests in devising a theoretical vehicle that shows how governance has a profound impact on relocation delivery and outcomes for the affected residents. Key contribution is providing recommendation for future urban regeneration and development programmes involving planned demolition and rebuilding.

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