Headlines: October 9th, 2003

Placing enterprise at the heart of urban regeneration rather than social disadvantage is at the heart of a DTI initiative to revitalize deprived urban areas. The concept of the ‘City Growth’ Strategy is based on ideas developed by Professor Michael Porter and his Boston-based Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) which has already made a significant impact in the US.Under the City Growth initiative launched in 2002 with funding of 1.5 million pounds, strategies for Nottingham, Plymouth, St Helens and four areas in London have been published.

Wyn Griffith, head of the Small Business Unit in the DTI said: “At the heart of Professor Porter’s work is the simple concept that you can regenerate inner-city areas more successfully by focusing on their competitive economic advantages rather than their social disadvantages. This program is about looking at the problem of urban regeneration with new eyes. The pilot areas are all demonstrating what a difference can be made by putting local business where they should be, at the heart of regeneration and working in partnership with the public sector.”

Research has revealed that inner cities typically have competitive advantages including locations with lower rents and good transport links, demands from large under-served markets (in the US the inner city retail market is estimated to be 30% untapped) and a ready source of employees and a pool of potential entrepreneurs.

The City Growth Strategy model is currently being evaluated. The findings will help inform decisions on a further roll out starting in April 2004.

More details of the Professor Porter and the ICIC’s involvement in the scheme can be obtained from Deirdre Coyle, tel: 07984 741023.