Microlevel Scoping

At the microscoping level, city leaders try to understand key challenges and goals and translate them into a set of policy and project choices. The analysis generates a more fine-tuned and focused context for developing specific opportunities for city regeneration interventions. To draw contrast between microlevel and macrolevel analyses, macrolevel focuses on the whole city’s direction of growth while microlevel analysis focuses on the site or the area targeted for regeneration.

The identification of specific interventions is intended to assist the city’s leaders in understanding how and where to make strategic investments that will lead to transformational economic growth and greater equity for its population. Officials can also gain a greater understanding about these interventions and their comparative relevance to other possible courses of action. In addition, the microanalysis could include more targeted analyses of the economic sectors of the city that need to be strengthened. Alternatively, it could include an analysis of the conditions of specific areas of the city that will need to be targeted in any major regeneration program. It can also help city leaders in establishing the critical PPPs that will be needed to rebuild distressed or obsolete areas of the city.

The microanalysis involved in the scoping process is intended to narrow the scale of focus, either by geography or by policy topic. It aims to present stakeholders with clear options and the next logical steps in developing a regeneration program for supporting PPPs. The microanalysis also goes into greater depth for a discrete number of regeneration options.

An example of macroanalysis and microanalysis

The microscoping analysis could include options for a number of different sites or policies, or it could focus on one option in greater depth. In either scenario, the microanalysis would include the following elements:

    • Setting a vision. What is the vision for the project identified within the context of the larger vision for the city? The notion of a vision is often dismissed as too ethereal to be useful. However, it is actually core to articulating the direction of the project. For it to be effective, it should be clear and aspirational, and it should provide a benchmark against which to measure progress.
    • Geography. Selecting the right target regeneration area is critical. In this context, the scale and extent of the area targeted for regeneration should be carefully considered and defined. If it is too large, it could raise costs and expectations beyond what can be realistically delivered. It may also be too broad and generic to motivate capital deployment by the public and especially the private sector. If too small, it may not be ambitious enough to spur the transformational change required to realize the new vision for the city.
    • Growth dynamic of the targeted area. The analysis would examine the current growth dynamic of the area relative to the city. It would also seek to answer questions such as, What are the core economic drivers of the area? Are the core drivers commerce, innovation economy, services, or tourism? What can be supported or will need to be changed in order to make the target area serve as a greater contributor to the economy of the city, region, and nation?
    • Asset mapping. Assets can include environmental or cultural endowments, a skilled labor force nearby, universities or research institutions, and so on. The main anchors and strengths of the area should be identified and assessed for their capacity and ability to participate in the regeneration program.
    • Market. A basic assessment of the market dynamics of the target area should include the potential or real growth of key sectors, land values, and real estate values.
    • Physical survey. A basic survey of the physical form and conditions of the built environment would need to be completed. This would include an analysis of the obsolescence of buildings, as well as the condition of streets and supporting infrastructure.
    • Obstacles to growth. What are the current obstacles to growth that would need to be addressed? These might be infrastructure weaknesses and gaps, fragmentation of land ownership, lack of an accurate cadastre, insufficient market demand, community opposition, and potential relocation of the population. What is clear is that there must exist obstacles to regeneration of the area. These obstacles must have weakened and discouraged investment. The microlevel scoping exercise must identify these obstacles.
    • Potential range of project costs and funding sources. Is the potential cost of the project something leaders are willing to consider even if there are no readily identifiable sources of public and/or private funding available? Is the lack of financing a “nonstarter” or are the parties willing to proceed and accept funding uncertainty? Are there new and unexplored options for creative financing? How have other cities dealt with financing issues?
    • Community mapping and local dynamics. This addresses questions such as, What are the key community issues and dynamics that would need to be addressed? What are the important social networks that exist and need to be understood? What are the strengths of local community organizations? How well organized is the community, and is it fully representative of the area’s population? Are there groups that do not traditionally participate that would need to be engaged through alternative means?
    • Socioeconomic considerations. Again, a series of questions would need to be considered. For example, How would the proposed regeneration project benefit the current population and lower-income populations through targeting jobs, housing, and services? What are the base assumptions and conditions that would need to be in place to proceed with regeneration? These might include replacement of housing, relocation of displaced households, building of community facilities, and equity participation of small businesses.