Neighbourhood regeneration: facilitating community involvement
In this paper, the courses of action taken to facilitate residents’ participation, in developing community action plans, in two Australian public housing estate regeneration projects are examined. The findings are placed within the context of changes, over the past twenty years, to the operation of housing authorities that were antecedents to the newly emerging partnership models of regeneration between the public and private sectors and communities. Three major findings are highlighted. First, the government role, in terms of providing support positions and allowing adequate time for residents to participate is critical to the success of community participation activities. The second finding is that the ever-increasing privatisation of public sector activities and pre-occupation with developing a more efficient, effective and lean public sector, essentially defined in economic terms, is in conflict with meeting government’s social goals of community participation. Third, much of the rhetoric used in neighbourhood regeneration projects of ‘rights and obligations’ and ‘sustainability’ is not well defined and is sometimes implemented in contradictory ways. In applying these terms, the housing authorities and their regeneration partners need to elucidate the principles they are promoting. In light of the findings overall, it is concluded that we should question the capacity of market oriented regeneration policy to lead to resident inclusion.