Macrolevel Scoping

At this stage, the city leaders seek to understand the key forces shaping the city from a diversity of perspectives—economic, physical, institutional, political, social, and historical. City leaders can then develop a set of regeneration options for larger consideration. 

Scoping provides the “big picture frame,” that is, the context and basis for identifying, deciding on, and executing a targeted regeneration program. This can include areas for policy development or reform or for geographic intervention. At this stage of analysis, specific types of data are needed, including:

    • Economic data. These data determine the position of the city relative to the region, country, and global environment. It can help decision makers answer such questions as, What are the strengths and weaknesses of the city? What are the drivers of the economy and its economic base?
    • Economic sectors. Achieving a better understanding of the city’s economic sectors will be critical to establishing the baseline from which the focal points and direction for regeneration will be determined. This analysis explores the condition of the city’s various sectors. It can help answer questions about which economic sectors are growing and should be supported, which have the greatest potential for growth and should be nurtured, and which are declining.
    • Growth dynamics: This analysis will delve into the fundamentals of how the city is growing or contracting, as well as the underlying market and political forces shaping its growth or decline, as the case may be. In particular, the growth dynamic will need to be understood at multiple levels: the growth of the city within the state, region, and the city itself. For instance, what is the relationship between the growth of the city and the vitality of the regional, state, and national economy as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) and employment? Where are the market and population dynamics pushing growth or forcing contraction? To what extent is the growth dynamic a result of, or influenced by, market forces versus government intervention?
    • Socioeconomic and demographic analysis. This analysis explores issues such as inequality, aging, special populations, and migration. Other areas of concern include areas of concentrated poverty, transitional neighborhoods, and the rate of change of areas that are vulnerable to decline or gentrification, as well as those that are stable.   
    • Physical analysis. This analysis takes note of the civic structure of the city, building forms, and urban patterns. For instance, it can help city planners answer questions such as, What are the basic form and block structures of the city? What parcels of land are available and in which areas? Based on the civic structure of the city, what areas have potential for growth and change? The analysis differentiates between areas for intensification, redevelopment, and new extensions.
    • Asset, network, and social media mapping. This analysis investigates the major defining assets of the city that should be increased and strengthened and includes the city’s community organizations, institutions, business organizations, and social media that form the foundation for exchange and communication networks in the city.
    • Infrastructure. This analysis examines the major infrastructure needed for the growth of the city and the regeneration site. It also considers related questions such as, what infrastructure is needed, or scheduled for delivery? What infrastructure is funded, underfunded, or completely unfunded? What financial and technical capacities exist to deliver major new infrastructure? For example, in the case of Santiago, a thorough analysis of the cost of providing infrastructure within the city versus the suburbs showed the need for infill development.
    • Housing. This analysis takes note of the basic condition of the housing stock and performance of the housing market in serving a diverse range of the population’s housing needs. It also records the quality of housing stock, demand for new housing, and rehabilitation of older or substandard units.
    • Fiscal analysis. This analysis incorporates the basic fiscal outlook for the city, including the status of the city budget and municipal finances. In addition, it examines the debt burden of the city, as well as current and future obligations that put pressure on the city’s financial resources. It measures the capacity of the city to engage in creative financing and examines the tools available for off-budget financing for urban regeneration. It asks several important questions: Have public sector interventions been sound and generated a return on investment, or have they been largely politically determined and distributed based on political versus market or growth considerations?
    • Political analysis. This analysis includes an assessment of the various interested constituencies and their key priorities, demands, and goals with regard to city regeneration. It also includes an assessment of the relationship of the city to the state and national governments in terms of potential support for large-scale interventions through legislation, financing, capital projects, and so on.
    • Market assessment and state of the private sector. This analysis helps policy makers understand and interpret the overall market position of the city. It examines the impediments to determining and managing urban growth. Key findings about the state of the private sector and its strength, various industries, and concentration of various industries provide valuable input. In cases such as Johannesburg with a very active private sector, the analysis took note of this engagement in terms of the larger agenda of city development. In particular, it examined the emerging industries and the need to engage a new generation of private sector leaders.
    • Institutions. Determining which major institutions are key to supporting a city’s growth and development is crucial to the regeneration initiative. Such analysis helps focus on key institutional questions, such as, How strong and engaged are universities, hospitals, and research facilities? Can existing institutions take on the planning and implementation of the project or should a standalone entity be established? How can these institutions be better leveraged to support the city’s goals and growth objectives? Is there a strong network of community-based organizations that can participate in regeneration or will this need to be created?
    • Historical analysis. An appreciation of the city’s past is critical in envisioning its future. The unique composition of the city—the basic elements of its form and function—would be analyzed to provide insight into building on the positive qualities of the city. At the same time, an analysis will shed light on problematic areas and reasons for their existence. The historical analysis would range from understanding the built and natural forms of the city, to the changing role of the city in the global economy, to the cultural aspects of the city that give it its unique character.
    • Best practices. Given the potential interventions suggested by the analysis, best practices would be sought and analyzed for their potential relevance and lessons learned. The goal is not necessarily to import these practices as a whole. Rather, the goal would be to learn how the lessons can be best applied to the potential regeneration schemes.

The Case of Santiago, Chile: Analysis of sprawl and the cost of providing infrastructure