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Untitled Document
Metropolitan Dynamics: Urban Change, Markets and Governance

Created in 2005

Iván Tosics
Metropolitan Research Institute
Budapest, Hungary
E-mail: tosics@mri.hu

Glen Bramley
School of the Built Environment
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, UK
E-mail: g.bramley@hw.ac.uk

Central Theme
The working group on "Metropolitan dynamics: urban change, market and governance" (established in 2005) aims to analyze the relationship between cities and their urban regions, which shows substantial changes over time, marked by growth (urbanization) or decline (desurbanization) of the whole area, or by processes of inter-regional restructuring (suburbanization or re-urbanization). The changes, either gradual or more sudden, influence to a great extent the functioning of the housing market within these urban regions and have differential effects on different parts of that region (also within different neighbourhoods in a city). Causes of changes can usually be found in macro-developments, such as economic growth/decline, migration/demographics, changes in incomes and preferences and, at least in some countries, also in specific policies on different spatial scales.
This working group is the most urban and planning oriented working group of ENHR, dealing with all aspects of urban development. The organizers of this WG are counting on growing interest of those members of the ENHR, who are "infected" by urban topics, spatial and/or geographical approaches.

The working group in the 2011 Toulouse conference
The Toulouse meeting of the working group on "Metropolitan dynamics: urban change, market and governance" was organized as WS04, under the title: "Growing discrepancies between sustainability and affordability in the metropolitan housing markets in the period of public finance crisis". Originally we received 12 abstracts for the WS, we suggested relocation of 2, thus we accepted 10. All the 10 presentations were given in the WS meetings. The idea was raised to consider whether joint sessions with other workshops might pay off, for example Housing and cities: changing social and spatial boundaries, WS03 Housing market dynamics and WS12 Migration, residential mobility. Though the overall number was a bit disappointing, there was a good coverage of different countries and some of the key issues. The following are excerpts from some of the interesting presentations.
  • There are big changes in the Milan housing market: due to unaffordable prices many families move out from the city. Social mix is decreasing, urban sprawl is growing. Recommendation towards local politics: increase supply of affordable housing (social housing, reducing vacancies in private rental and owner occupied housing), bring back vulnerable groups to the city, politically and physically as well.
  • Social inequalities increased in Madrid while segregation decreased. In such situation mixity is not the most important question, but rather housing exclusion and inequalities. In other words, it is not the spatial separation of poor people which is the problem but the extreme housing conditions in which they live.
  • Radical changes are reported in 2010 in the UK, especially in England; these changes reflect a change of government, giving more weight to local public attitudes which are generally negative towards housing development. Incentives are proposed but unlikely to be enough; planning target numbers scrapped; subregional collaboration is desirable but wobbly; much depends how planning inspectors interpret soundness of local plans in light of evidence. Most probably there will be less housebuilding and decreasing affordability as the outcome. The previous system was not efficient but the present one seems to be even less efficient, with contradictory elements and a degree of populism, picking up the development-scepticism of people.
  • France is going the opposite way than England, concentrating more on metropolitan cooperation, although this is not compulsory or universal. There is also a significant emphasis on mixite embodied in legislation and supported by large public programmes. However, some tradeoffs between 'sustainability' and affordability are detected in this policy thrust. Similar concerns were raised in another paper focussed on the Netherlands.
  • Other examples presented seemed to illustrate further examples of considerable local municipal control leading to ill-planned or coordinated development patterns at the metropolitan scale (e.g. Hungary). One paper was explicitly comparative in reviewing metropolitan planning/governance across six countries.
  • Housing addresses, directly or indirectly, all aspects of development which have to be approached in integrated way in functional urban areas. However, only one of the workshop papers explicitly addressed non-housing urban uses/activities (local services) and their relationship with housing. Housing can be used in different ways for the integration of the economic, environmental and social aspects of development. There are many alternatives how to achieve this, from the simplest (create integration only in the spectrum of new housing built within the city) up till the most complex one: planning housing on the city-region level in cross-sectoral way, i.e. as part of strategic planning for the functional urban area.
The presentations and debates were promising, thus the Working Group decided to continue its work at the Lillehammer conference in 2012.

Future plans: participation in the 2012 Lillehammer conference
In the 2012 Lillehammer conference the meeting of the working group on "Metropolitan dynamics: urban change, market and governance" will be organized as WS XX, under the title: "Metropolitan housing markets: less or more governance needed in the period of public finance crisis?"
Ideas about sustainability, affordability and social mix (avoiding strong spatial segregation) of metropolitan housing markets should be confronted with the impact of the credit crunch on metro housing planning issues. The recent financial crisis and economic downturn, often led by the housing and property sector, will have had uneven impacts on different parts of metropolitan areas, and may have disrupted the processes and assumptions underpinning the development process and the provision of urban infrastructure. The aims of affordability (cf growing unemployment), of sustainability (cf peak oil challenge towards sprawling development) and of social mix (cf increasing spatial segregation) would seem to require more involvement of the public sector on a metropolitan level to steer the housing sector with governance, planning and fiscal interventions.
We would be interested in papers and presentations addressing these issues. How can a better combination of sustainability, affordability and social mix be achieved in the present period of fiscal austerity of the public sector which will last for quite some more time? Should more decentralised governance structures be introduced or just the opposite, is the strengthening of metorpolitan level interventions needed in planning and governance? If the latter, how can this be effectuated in the period of public financial crisis?
As this is the most urban and planning oriented working group of ENHR, dealing with all aspects of urban development, the organizers of the Lillehammer workshop are counting on growing interest of those members of the ENHR, who are "infected" by urban topics, spatial and/or geographical approaches. It would be good if a relevant expert from Norway could be involved in organising the workshop. This would probably help to realise the potential in generating papers from there and maybe from neighbouring Scandinavian countries too.

Summary of the activities during the past few years
The first meeting of the Working Group was held during the ENHR Conference in Ljubljana in July 2006. The central topic of the workshop was on the "city – region" relationship. There were 9 participants in this meeting, 3 of them giving presentations.

The second meeting of the working group was held during the ENHR Conference in Rotterdam, in late June 2007. There were five sessions organized, with the participation varying between 14 and 24. Despite the substantial interest towards this Workshop, the organizers were not very impressed by the quality of most papers. Moreover, as a general observation on the whole of the conference, the workshops were quite heterogeneous with respect to the topics. As a result no publication strategy was envisaged on the basis of this conference.

The third meeting of this ENHR WG was organised in Dublin in July 2008. Five sessions were held, 14 papers presented, with an audience of approximately 20 persons. The sessions were organized along the following topics: Dynamic cities, Creative class and sprawl, Shrinkage and sprawl, Tools handling sprawl, Stakeholders and planning rural-urban relationships.
During the workshop sessions there was an interesting contrast between the cases of the dynamically growing vs. the shrinking urban areas. A further contrast has been shown between countries using housing policy as a tool to steer urban processes vs. those countries where housing is considered as a matter of market processes. The most interesting debate was about the conflict between the (urban) sustainability and the (housing) affordability aspects of public policies. This inspired the working group organizers to focus on this issue in the next meeting of the working group.

The fourth meeting of this ENHR WG was organised in Prague in July 2009. The overall programme of the workshop consisted of four sessions and included twelve presentations. The numbers of participants in each session varied from fifteen to twenty.
The main topic was analyzed from theoretical and empirical angles. The theoretical discussions involved the papers of Bramley, Tosics and Sivam. The empirical cases covered a wide range of places, including Paris (Chodorge-Tutin), Amsterdam (van Gent), Rome-Milan-Turin (Aprile), Norway (Narvestad-Dag Kittang), Oslo (Austin-Bysveen), Dublin (Norris), Bucharest (Budisteanu), Hanoi (Nguyen) and informal post-socialist settlements (Tsenkova).
The workshop presentations and discussions highlighted the complex relationships between planning ideas (such as housing affordability, sustainable development and social mix); developers' decisions on location, density and design of new residential development projects; public policy options in housing and transport policies, as well as regarding planning to regulate the market processes.

The fifth meeting of this ENHR WG was organised in Istanbul in July 2010. Five sessions were held with 12 paper presentations. The number of participants was much below of those registered (at the beginning of the conference six sessions were planned with 21 presentations) which made the organization of the workshop quite difficult. Moreover, most participants fluctuated between the workshops thus no stable composition could be achieved in the workshop. Nevertheless, about 30 people attended the workshop at some time.
As an extension to the previous themes, the focus was meant to include also the effects of financial regulations, taxation, subsidy and local fiscal systems to handle the interconnected topics of affordability, sustainability and social mix in metropolitan housing markets. Presentations were about
  • UK, France, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Comparative EU research,
  • Australia, New Zealand, Hong-Kong, Indonesia,

Papers varied quite widely in focus and style, some providing a rather generalised discussion of issues, some presenting case studies, a few providing a more quantitative analysis. Several looked at the issue of demolition and redevelopment within the older established urban area. Several focussed on the gated community phenomenon in different contexts. A few papers focussed more on public space and non-residential land uses like shopping centres.
In particular, the presentations about high-growth urban areas (e.g. Istanbul) showed how important housing policies are or could be in the forming of the metropolitan structure – creating sprawl with building public housing in remote but publicly owned land pieces or aiming for multi-centric development with the creation of new sub-centers to avoid real sprawl. It became clear that besides the government systems and formal systems of planning, fiscal arrangements have large effect on urban spatial locations. As this is the most urban-type WS of ENHR, there are always papers submitted and presented which do not fit the prescribed agenda. We have to live with that but more efforts need to be done in the future to assure at least 2 or 3 sessions which focus on the prescribed agenda and include a stable circle of participants.

Appendix: list of participants at WS11 in the Toulouse ENHR Conference, July 2011
The number of participants attending and presenting papers was 13 and the number of papers presented was 10, spread over three sessions. Participants were from seven countries. There was a relatively low overlap of participants with those contributing to the workshop in Istanbul in 2010. However, unlike the 2010 and earlier conferences, all papers expected to be presented were presented. In addition to paper presenters a number of other conference delegates attended workshop sessions, although we do not have an exact list or number*
[*GB does not have the handwritten record of people attending the workshop and their contact details]

Glen Bramley Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh UK
Ivan Tosics Metropolitan Research Insitute Hungary
Orma Rosenfeld University of Westminster UK
Janos Kocsis Budapest University of Technology & Economics Hungary
Jordi Bayona I Carrasco Univesitat de Barcelona, Dept de Geografia Humana Spain
Xavier Desjardins CNRS - Universite Paris 1 France
Kees Dol TU Delft, OTB Research Institute Netherlands
Fernando Gil-Alonso Universitat de Barcelona Spain
Arto Huuskonen Aalto University, School of Engineering Finland
Jesus Leal Universidad Complutense de Madrid Spain
Silvia Mugnano University of Milan, Bicocca Italy
Pietro Palvarini University of Milan, Bicocca Italy
JaakkoSiltaloppi Aalto University, School of Engineering Finland