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Case studies 

Project case study cities
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Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

The city is the epitome of such a bounded mono-centric compact city. It also has a more distinct form of governance, with responsibility for urban design lying with the local City Council. However, like many other cities globally, development is determined by the private sector, with land purchased by national and international developers, who are able to transform large areas of the centre to fit within such an outward-looking perspective. Read more

Newcastle NSW, Australia

Like many other industrial and post-industrial cities around the world, Newcastle NSW has utilised the demise of heavy industry and associated transport networks to repurpose spaces in the urban core. As it looks forward to the middle of the 21st century, the City Council has laid out visionary plans to redefine the spatial design of the central area of the city...

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Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa

Shaking off an image of a post-colonial, post-apartheid city, there is a desire to generate a new, authentic and relevant city centre. In many respects the city and its centre remains distant from the declared vision of the city epitomising a future African capital city that is liveable, resilient and inclusive, and where citizens are actively involved in enabling access to social, economic, and enhanced political freedoms.  

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João Pessoa, Brazil

João Pessoa exemplifies some of the challenges faced by city centres when their raison d’etre is threatened by the exodus of more affluent residents, investors, tourists and in turn services and investment. Although the heritage and cultural value of the historic city centre remains significant, the absence of a clear consensus about how to utilise this value and incorporate it into a vibrant urban core is undermining the municipality’s efforts.  Read more

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Exemplar case study cities

This section highlights examples from across the world of innovation, good practice and collaborative working that are helping to improve and revitalise city centres. 

We welcome suggestions of other case studies to add to this page and we would love to hear more about how your city is working to be more sustainable and liveable. 

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Pittsburgh PA, USA -
Pittsburgh 2030

We highlight the Pittsburgh 2030 case study as it is:

  • an example of collective action adding benefits and value to address the complex, wicked problems of climate change.

  • a new pathway of city centre management beyond the traditional business improvement model where the private and third sector business community is leading rather than the municipality

  • highlights how data and measurement of the transition to net zero is a key element in its success, and how such data can be generated.

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Derby, UK:
Ambition 2022

We highlight this city in the Midlands of UK as they seek to find a new way to revitalise the city centre. Like many other cities facing reducing footfall, declining levels of occupancy, and a sense of malaise, the declaration of being BOLD and CLEAR is a welcoming clarion call.

Three key aspects are illustrated:

  • a focus on key thematic priorities, each with their own needs for transformation

  • the deep-seated nature of the challenges, many of which have been action points in past plans and strategies

  • a willingness to be bolder, using conversations to gauge ideas and visions.

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Reviving Sewoon

This intriguing example of preservation of 1960s' modernist industrial architecture and place identity is highlighted as it :

  • demonstrates how local pressure can support preservation over demolition

  • illustrates how economic diversification built around small-scale units can enhance sustainability

  • underlines the benefits of including social aspects of urban sustainability in urban transformation.

Initial, top-down plans and visions for the area were resisted by local stakeholders to be replaced with plans for inclusive and sustainable growth.

Read more about this contested transformation of Seoul's urban core.

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