The SURegen Workbench
Government policies on urban regeneration aim to bring about economic, social, physical and environmental improvements to urban areas but the EPSRC’s SUERegen project has found that they are often hampered by a skills-gap amongst built environment professionals, planning authorities and developers.
The SURegen (Sustainable Urban Regeneration) project aims to tackle the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity of the urban regeneration process by assisting regeneration stakeholders in day to day decision making and strategic processes.
SURegen are currently a web-based virtual workbench which will provide the support for professionals and other key decision-makers in regeneration. The workbench will include a set of integrated decision support tools to help professionals working in the field to make critical decisions, as well as to enable those who are new to the field to acquire the skills they need to meet its challenges.
A special feature of the project is the collaboration between the research team and a wide range of industrial and local
authority partners and the development of the workbench will be guided by good practice from past and current regeneration projects in the Northwest of England and elsewhere.
Launched in July 2008 the SURegen project aims to:
• Understand, record, and map the regeneration process to provide a reference context for key decisions and good practice
• Map the regeneration process by identifying and evaluating key decisions and their outcomes, and managing the planning and development of regeneration programmes ahead of full financial implementation
• Engage all stakeholders in diagnosing, developing and continuously updating the regeneration vision, scenarios and indicator requirements
• Advise decision-makers on the best assessment tools for evaluating alternatives at each stage in the regeneration process so as to deliver mutually satisfactory outcomes for all stakeholders
SURegen (Sustainable Urban Regeneration) is a 4 year project led by Salford University, funded by EPSRC under its Sustainable Urban Environment programme (SUE2).
For more information visit http://www.suregen.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Addressing the Policy and Practice Gap
SURegen have found that policy goals for delivering sustainable urban regeneration in the UK exceed what is being delivered in practice. Government policies on urban regeneration aim to bring about economic, social, physical and environmental improvements to urban areas but are often hampered by a skills-gap amongst built environment professionals, planning authorities and developers.
SURegen research team started to tackle this problem head on in 2008 with an ambitious vision of developing a workbench to help regeneration professionals in their day-today decision-making. But how? Steve Curwell, Professor of Sustainable Urban Development at Salford University and Principal Investigator for SURegen took a few minutes out to answer some questions:
What is the SURegen workbench?
The workbench aims to help regeneration professionals make decisions by offering them support with the decisions they have to make. It will plug gaps in the flow of information between people working on regeneration projects, help them with the diffuse nature of regeneration policy and guidance documents, and offer tools to help assess, monitor and evaluate regeneration projects. The ‘dashboard and windscreen’ is a metaphor for how we hope the workbench will do that.
Who is the workbench for?
Experienced professionals can use it to support their decision-making in real time by accessing the most appropriate tools for each stage in their decision-making. Inexperienced professionals can use it for accelerated learning by stepping through the urban regeneration process while exploring ‘what if’ questions.
What does the workbench contain?
We’re still scoping the workbench. It’s likely to contain a set of integrated decision support tools, professional guidance on regeneration processes, a project log and an eLibrary. It will provide an informative window into resources that are already available across the internet, plus fill some of the important gaps. Users will be directed to, and supported in their use, of these resources, including case studies, wiki definitions and learning materials.
What will the workbench deliver?
Users can access the most appropriate decision support tools to help assess, monitor and evaluate new regeneration projects. Professional guidance on regeneration processes from key information sources will also be available to reinforce understanding of what sort of issues should be addressed at each stage of a regeneration project. It will be possible to capture, store and retrieve a user’s materials in their project log and eLibrary.
How can these tools be used?
The workbench could become a “one-stop-shop” for regeneration professionals to plan and then monitor their regeneration schemes against established benchmarks, with access to policy, guidance and other information to help establish consistency and quality of regeneration for years to come.
SURegen (Sustainable Urban Regeneration) is a 4 year project led by Salford University, funded by EPSRC under its Sustainable Urban Environment programme (SUE2). For more information visit http://www.suregen.co.uk or email email@example.com.
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