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Can area-based regeneration programmes ever work? Evidence from England's New Deal for Communities Programme

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The New Deal for Communities (NDC) Programme is one of the most intensive area-based initiatives (ABIs) ever launched in England. Between 1998 and 2011, 39 Partnerships were charged with improving conditions in relation to six outcomes within deprived neighbourhoods, each accommodating around 9800 people. The evaluation of the Programme points to only modest net change for NDC areas and their residents, much of which reflects improving attitudes towards the area, rather than for the people-related outcomes of health, education and worklessness. The Programme's architecture was based on four key principles each of which impacted on change. Community engagement reaped fewer benefits, and proved more problematic, than had been anticipated; working with other delivery agencies was complex, providing less in the way the way of direct financial support than was true for other English ABIs; central government impacted on change through an initial over-emphasis on spending annual financial allocations combined with a later marginalisation of ABIs; and outcome change at the neighbourhood level is anyway largely beyond the control of local regeneration schemes. Nevertheless, there are reasons why area-based regeneration schemes might be pursued, including evidence that individuals benefit from local interventions, even if such effects are difficult to measure.
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Keywords: England; New Deal for Communities; regeneration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research,Sheffield Hallam University, Howard StreetSheffield,S1 1WB, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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