An Activity-Based Approach to Neighbourhood Regeneration

  • Seyedehsomayeh Taheri Moosavi

Student thesis: Phd


Neighbourhood design is a part of sustainable development, and attempts to create better places for people by reflecting residents' values, as well as coordinating powers, resources, and actions between stakeholders. This research aims to investigate neighbourhood regeneration plans using an activity-based approach. It explores how daily social activities can be modelled using the case study of Brunswick, to develop the analytical and decision-support roles of modelling in the urban design process. The literature about the role of design in urban development argues that the designers' attempts to predict how new environments will actually be used have not often been successful. It is assumed that if the design process incorporates human-centred activities in creating and maintaining neighbourhood places, the certainty and reliability of any future vision will be enhanced.Following a critical review of the concept of activity in urban design and urban modelling, the daily activities of Brunswick residents are investigated through the residents' completion of daily diaries. This data contributes to an analytical activity-based approach. The outcomes provide the analyses of the following areas: the activity choices of individuals and how these choices are linked with the socio-demographics of residents, how current local agencies and the existing physical environment provide opportunities and restrict residents' participation in local activities, and the future activity-based scenarios of change as a result of the neighbourhood regeneration proposal submitted to the Manchester City Council. Ultimately, an activity-based framework is proposed which enables the qualitative analysis of regeneration planning statements, community consultation reports, institutional programmes, and policy documents. The framework then outlines the method of integrating the three above mentioned quantitative results with the qualitative data, and the formation of activity scenarios. This thesis demonstrates how this framework assists local agencies, authorities, service providers, and regeneration teams with regard to improving their services, promoting social integration of residents in neighbourhoods, and linking neighbourhoods to their wider contexts.The modelling results reveal that the elderly residents of Brunswick are isolated, the Brunswick spaces are not frequently used in the evenings, and the existing activities are not popular for male, employed and highly qualified residents. Although Brunswick Church attempts to be the community centre of the Brunswick neighbourhood, the provision of activities in this place is via other organisations. Medlock School and the Sure Start Children's Centre are the community hubs for parents and children to socially interact with other members. In addition, the new layout of the Brunswick neighbourhood after the regeneration scheme will improve the safety level of the Brunswick spaces, but will partially link Brunswick to Manchester. There is the lack of exchanging data as well as the absence of the indication of the reasons and processes that have contributed to the current challenges in Brunswick. Hence, there is inconsistency between the stakeholders' views towards the neighbourhood issues, and limited evidence is available for stakeholders to have a robust future outlook to the regeneration plan.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRichard Kingston (Supervisor) & Stephen Hincks (Supervisor)


  • Evidence-Based Regeneration
  • Activity-Based Approach
  • Modelling
  • Neighbourhood

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