Historical and conceptual perspectives on urban regeneration: a prolog to a special issue

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This paper aims to review multiple historical perspectives on urban regeneration interventions while also serving as a prologue to and the rationale for a Special Issue of the Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD) on Placemaking and Sustainable Urban Regeneration in Japan.

The paper reviews the literature on city center regeneration, with particular attention to the USA and the UK contexts. The emphasis is on comparing and contrasting what have become known as the North American and European regeneration models. This background is helpful to place the Special Issue in a broad international context.

The key finding is that the history of planning city centers appears to be largely a response to urbanization and the problems it has brought forward. The papers in this JPMD’s Special Issue exemplify this finding with cases from Toyama, Kanazawa and Tokyo.

Cities are transformed as their centers grow and develop. City centers represent important anchor points in every community. However, evolving functional decentralization has occurred mostly due to changes in flows of capital, people, materials and other socio-economic transformations. The review shows how urban regeneration programs tend to be implemented to correct and or improve physical, socio-economic and environmental problems associated with functional and programmatic decentralization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Place Management and Development
Issue number1
Early online date30 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 Jan 2022


  • Urban regeneration
  • City beautiful
  • Urban renewal
  • City enterprise
  • Sustainable and creative city
  • Special issue
  • Japan


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