Urban renewal: The importance of revitalizing decaying cities
Big cities are like living and functioning organisms that follow a life cycle solely dependent on its environment and the resources available around it: people, jobs, facilities, and reliable services, to name a few. While some cities in the world manage to continue a healthy and undisrupted life cycle, many are unlucky enough to undergo major decays that have led to bigger and more serious issues that have not only affected its population but have hindered their chances for growth.
As a response to this growing problem, many urban renewal projects have focused on revitalizing and reviving decaying neighborhoods through sustainable and green initiatives. However, according to a report from the World Cities Summit in Singapore last year, successful regeneration projects are only possible if both the government and public work together to achieve a common goal.
For instance, Santiago, a city in Chile, lost almost half of its population and a third of its housing stock during the 1950s to the 1990s. However, through government funds and local support, the city was able to turn this around. They started to repopulate its neighborhoods through a national housing subsidy. In addition, a private investment was able to come up with $3 billion that helped them fund the entire life project.
Another example of a successful urban renewal project is in Ahmedabad, India. Along the riverfront of Sabarmati once stand productive mills where many workers rely on their day to day earnings. However, the closure of these mills led to unemployment and eventually created informal settlers – eventually resulting to unsafe and unclean living areas. However, thanks to an initiative of a development project, the city was able to reclaim over 200 hectares of the riverfront land, transforming 15 percent of the land into public parks and through a national program, proper housing projects.