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Title: Exploring the potential of complexity theory in urban regeneration processes
Author: Moobela, Cletus
ISNI:       0000 0001 3415 3636
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2004
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The research project was conceived out of a desire to explore the potential application of complexity theory in understanding urban regeneration processes. The science is still in its infancy, having been born out of a general milieu of, and paralleled, the dissatisfaction with the classical science approach to the problems of the world. At the heart of the complexity project is, therefore, the defiance of the reductionist paradigm in favour of holism and emphasis on emergent properties in the understanding of complex systems. As a new way of thinking and one that boasts of its ability to cut across disciplinary boundaries, the emerging science has found its maiden expression in many spheres of the social and physical inquiry - offering, in each case, potential solutions to the vexing problems and questions that have survived the test of time. In urban studies, such questions reside within the general thesis of the persistence of the urban problem in the midst of a myriad of theoretical tools and policies designed to secure a better understanding and tackle the problem. The translation of this promising theoretical platform into the study and the pursuit of the research agenda were conducted through the case study of the Hulme inner city area in Manchester. The task basically involved three phases of analysis. The first was a historical narrative that attempted to weigh the evolution of the Hulme regeneration processes between 1960 and 1990 against the characteristic features of complex systems, with the aim of establishing a case for conceptualisation of urban regeneration as a subject of complexity. Using selected analytical tools of social network analysis, the second phase sought to quantify the regeneration networks of Hulme so as to weigh them against the deprivation indices for the area between 1990 and 2000, with the aim of testing for any correlations and their implications in the complexity project. Though equally facilitated by social network analysis, the third level was more concerned about investigating the enabling environment for the evolution of urban regeneration networks than mere quantification of the network parameters. Put together, the three levels of analysis provided a framework that serves as a fundamental analytical framework for urban regeneration processes. It offers a much more robust, emergent based, holistic approach to urban regeneration than that which iscontained in many of the contemporary claims of holism. The study's emphasis on intervention without violation of natural (social) order does not only provide a (potentially) essential tool for analysis but also sheds light on questions of the appropriate institutional thickness that is desirable for innovation. Being an exploratory undertaking, the study does not purport to be an exhaustive account of the issues raised, especially that complexity theory is itself still an emerging phenomenon.
Supervisor: Price, llfryn ; Crocker, Steve ; Syms, Paul ; Loosemore, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available