Actors involved in the process

In general, railway companies come first to mind when thinking of possible actors involved in the redevelopment of railway station areas. Research (e.g. Bertolini and Spit, 1996) shows that railway companies do indeed have an important role. However, the interest of railway companies is not one-dimensional. It consists of different kinds of interest. There can be a real estate interest, a general transport interest, or an exploitation interest (regarding transport and the station itself), for example. These interests can converge, and thus can contribute to the redevelopment process, but they can also diverge. For example, in the case of Euralille, SNCF (the French railway) did not at first agree with the development of the HST station in the city centre: not only was it considered too expensive, but a stop in central Lille would imply a loss in time and thus in profitability. Later in the process, other actors (the state, the region NordPas de Calais, and the city of Lille) made a considerable contribution, amounting to some Fr 800 million, which compensated for the objections of SNCF (Bertolini and Spit, 1996, p. 8).

This French example introduces some other important actors, including national, regional and local governments. Although the interests of the national and regional governments coincided, at the local government level there was some difference of interests. The city of Lille was strongly in favour of the project, but opposition came from the municipalities of Lille's hinterland, through whose territory the TGV must pass, and who feared that they would just get the negative effects of it. During the process it took time, guarantees and compensation in order to convince them to cooperate. This example shows how not only within one actor different interests have to be met, but also how within one kind of actor (in this case the municipality) different interests are shown. The 'hindering power' of the latter can be such that considerable efforts have to be made in order to compensate for it. In general, the involvement of governments within each nation state with the redevelopment of railway station areas is considerable. The European Union, through its promotion of the expansion of a European highspeed rail network, also plays a role indirectly.

In Europe the concentration of high-value land uses around railway stations by means of large-scale urban redevelopment projects is strongly supported not only by national and local policies, based on environmental policy (promotion of public transport use) and economic objectives (strengthening of the competitive position of cities), but also by others. Worth mentioning in this perspective are investors, developers, local businesses, and residents. Yet, as with municipalities, their interests can coincide with the redevelopment, but can as easily be against the plans for it. The redevelopment of Stockholm City West was relatively easy. As there were no neighbours, little opposition emerged, although in this case both market actors and the local population were cautious: they were only slowly recovering from the market crash and some unhappy public-private deals in the 1980s (Bertolini and Spit, 1996, p. 26). A more or less similar situation can be found in the case of the redevelopment of Zentrum Z├╝rich Nord. Also, in this case the number and variety of actors were limited. The shared vision of the two main actors, the city (represented in the alderman, Ursula Koch) and the private landowners, can be considered the key to its success. Other cases, such as King's Cross and the Utrecht Centrum Project, showed much more complex and controversial pictures.

The examples mentioned above illustrate that when redevelopment processes become more complex and more actors get involved not only is it increasingly likely that interests might diverge, but also the planning and implementation process is lengthened, which generates a similar effect: a greater chance for a divergence of interests, diminishing the chance of success. The number and kind of actors involved in the process, including their specific interests, are strongly related to the specific circumstances under which the redevelopment process takes place. Therefore the specific circumstances should be taken as a starting point for analysis. The next section goes into this subject, and tries to identify common distinctive features in railway station redevelopment.

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  • calleigh
    Who are the main actor's in the property development process?
    7 months ago
  • bettie
    Who the main actors in the property development process?
    7 months ago

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