Office development and the regional city : process, interest and organization
This study presents an examination of office development in the regional city in the period 1960-1987. The economics and structure of the development industry are analysed and related to an examination of the property markets of Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton. Information was obtained from observation surveys, unpublished material (planning records), questionnaire surveys covering estate agents, development interests and investors in office property and a postal questionnaire to property development companies. Many office buildings constructed in regional cities are developed by highly centralized development companies. The relationship between this type of company and the space-economy forms a central component of this study. The organizational and structural constraints which restrict property companies' search strategies to specific locations and types of property are identified. A detailed examination is undertaken of the information sources development companies use to identify individual sites. The structure of the site identification process is identified and analysed in the context of the overall structure of the development industry. Two classifications of development companies are examined and criticized for their failure to consider the role of space. The development process must be considered as a key spatial process since it provides the link between the economy and the land surface. A new classification of developers is formulated which explicitly accounts for differences in the spatial extent of their activities. This classification is used to analyse the development decision making process and a modified version is used in the case studies. The examination of the structure of relations between the interests involved in the property development process is an important component of this study. Previous research has failed to consider the relationship between the four capitals involved in the development process. A series of development intermediaries are identified which mediate between these capitals and the space-economy. It is argued that the actions of occupiers, property developers, investors, and development intermediaries are influenced, determined and often manipulated by the structure of the existing financial and property markets.