Schemes to Improve Cities in the UK Since 1979

Urban Development Corporations 1979-1990s

  • By 1979, many UK city centres were in catastrophic decline. The government created agencies called Urban Development Corporations(UDCs), which used private sector funding to restore derelict areas.
  • The first UDCs were established in 1981 in the London Docklandsand Liverpool. The main aims of the London Docklands UDC were to attract new businesses, improve the local environment, create jobs and build new houses for professionals.
  • Between 1981 and 1998, the Corporation built 24,000new homes and created 85,000
  • In addition, the Corporation built new schools, parksand community facilities, including a sailing and watersports centre and Surrey Quays shopping centre.
  • By 1993, twelve UDCshad been established, helping to redevelop some of the most rundown areas of the country. However, the UDCs were criticised for ignoring the needs of local residents including affordable homes and suitable jobs.


Enterprise Zones 1981-Present

  • In 1981, Enterprise Zones(EZs) were established in areas with high unemployment. Their aim was to attract start-up companies to the area to create jobs – they did this by reducing tax, e.g. on corporations and land.
  • By 1990, the EZs housed over 5,000 companies, employing more than 125,000 people. However, tax reductions encouraged many existing companiesto movetheir premises and staff to the EZs, which limited the number of new jobs that were created.

City Challenge 1991-1997

  • In the City Challengeprogramme, local authorities competed for government funding to regenerate deprived urban areas.
  • They worked with the local community and private companies to improve the physical, economicand social environment of the area.
  • Funding was allocated to projects that benefittedthe local community such as improving housing, providing vocational training and creating jobs for local people.
  • By 1997, over 50,000 jobshad been created and 40,000 houses improved although many deprived areas didn’t receive any


Partnership Schemes – 2010-Present

  • Since 2010, the government has worked with private companies to provide financial supportand expertise for urban regeneration which are called partnership schemes.
  • These schemes are designed to improve physical, economicand social conditions in deprived areas by building new homes, providing parks and sports centres, and reducing unemployment.
  • For example, the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnershipwas established in 2012 with it aims to increase business activity in Liverpool and create new