The word regeneration means to revive, restore or rejuvenate.
When "regeneration" comes on the agenda for
housing estates, it generally means there are massive
changes ahead for local residents and the surrounding
To date, the
experience of regeneration of estates in Dublin tells
us that some dramatic physical and social changes are
planned. It's not exactly the same in each estate, but
in general what the Regeneration Agencies and Limerick
City Council aim to do goes along the following lines:
the regeneration process involves: Depopulation - Demolition
process takes years from start to finish. Here in Limerick,
it is now anticipated that regeneration will be completed
by 2018, although it will probably take longer because
of the collapse of the property market.
the experience of St. Michael's Estate and similar regeneration
projects like Fatima Mansions and Ballymun shows that
substantial sections of the population leave the estate
before the whole process of regeneration is finished.
In Limerick the depopulation and demolition phase is being
overseen by the City Council while the Regeneration Agency
fund the depopulation and produce plans for redevelopment.
Most of the
work will not be carried out directly by the City Council
in the traditional way; instead the Regeneration Agency
will enter into a deal with a private developer, who will
become the key driver of the project (this is called public-private
partnership (PPP), an approach encouraged by government
housing and community facilities are funded mainly through
the sale of private apartments and houses. Some new facilities
may be developed, but what you get will ultimately depend
on the deal that is struck between the Regeneration Agency
and the private developer.
In May 2008
Dublin City Council shelved five regeneration projects
when the PPP model collapsed as the developer pulled out,
citing the downturn in the housing market. Two of the
projects were on unoccupied sites and the others, (St
Michael's Estate, O'Devaney Gardens and Dominic Street)
were at an advanced stage in the process, with residents
having signed off on plans and picked a developer in January
2007. Indeed, the residents of St. Michael's had agreed
to the demolition of their estate in 1998!
Some of the
same people that oversaw the regeneration projects in
Dublin are now overseeing the regeneration of Limerick.
Although the Limerick Regeneration Agencies deny that
PPP is the preferred model, at the launch of the draft
'Master Plan' it was announced that regeneration would
cost €3 Billion, with €1.3 Billion coming from
private investors and €1.7 Billion coming from the
most people don't realise is that most of that €1.7
Billion is not cold hard cash; it is the value
that has been placed on the land. So, if you're living
in a regeneration area and wondering "is the money
there?" wonder no more. The money is there all
right; you're living on it!
areas have deteriorated drastically since the establishment
of the regeneration agencies. Far from restoring "confidence
and stability", anti-social behaviour waxes and
wanes, illegal dumping is rife and the rats are thriving;
encouraging people to leave.
residents have to wait for the housing market to 'recover'
to see improvements in their area?
of regeneration, centred on social and Community needs,
is possible - a Community Agenda. But that will depend
on how well your Community can organise and act to influence
the future of your estate.
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