A comparative sociological analysis of the redevelopment of two urban localities in the West Midlands (Merry Hill complex, Dudley and Broad Street development, Birmingham)
AbstractDuring the 1980s and 1990s, there were dramatic and significant changes in local economies of regions that had previously relied heavily on manufacturing and industry. Most notable in these changes were two distinct processes, firstly the decline of traditional economies and, secondly, the subsequent expansion of service sector economies in response. Such changes heavily affected the West Midlands, with the steel industry, car manufacturing and associated trades experiencing significant contraction. In terms of service sector expansion, the two most important ventures were the redevelopment of Birmingham's Broad Street area and the construction of the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley Borough. Analysed in terms of stability and crisis, the thesis examines how localities experienced economic decline and how service sector projects were formulated as a method of regeneration. Ostensibly, the thesis challenges arguments that the redevelopments have been a source of regeneration, arguing instead that their aim was to create stability within business and politics rather than benefit local communities. The research uses a mixed methodology, featuring a theoretical overview as well as case studies to identify locally specific factors. The case studies utilise a diverse range of sources, though the primary data from interviews demonstrates how local actors retained a degree of autonomy; as well as illustrating the nature of local relations. Analysing the case studies in light of theoretical issues concerning regimes of accumulation and modes of regulation, the redevelopments initially featured similarities in terms of declining traditional economies and service sector expansion. Subsequent political differences marked distinctions between the two sites, with similarities eventually returning as local political actors in Dudley Borough accepted the service sector's local importance. The research makes an original contribution to knowledge by providing a detailed account of local events, analysis of local redevelopment strategies, and developing the temporal and spatial aspects of regulation theory and regime theory.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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