The benchmarking method and realistic evaluation as tools for the assessment of urban regeneration programmes: the case of regional parks

Abdullah, Yusfida Ayu Binti
The benchmarking method and realistic evaluation as tools for the assessment of urban regeneration programmes: the case of regional parks. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Despite the fact that urban regeneration has been practiced for more than 40 years, there is still a lack of rigorous research on what constitutes best practice in evaluating urban regeneration interventions. It can be argued that in the late 1970s and early 1980s, evaluations were mostly focused on assessing the feasibility of projects, while in the mid 1980s evaluations were mostly conducted to examine the outcomes of projects or programmes instead of their effectiveness. It was only after the late 1980s that programme evaluations were carried out to examine the effectiveness of a programme. However, in spite of this development, such assessments were still considered inadequate. In this research, for example, it was soon discovered that the evaluation of urban regeneration initiatives through a regional park programme was almost entirely performed in isolation without any attempt to compare them with other similar initiatives. The practice of a regional park programme in delivering urban regeneration initiatives is seen as an important programme in the UK given that it promotes a large area within a high urban population location. Additionally, a regional park provides the opportunities for recreational and leisure purposes especially for the locals and the region therefore plays a vital role as a visitor destination. Hence, in order to serve its purpose completely, the performance of this intervention is essential. The essence of this research therefore seeks to address the gaps and to inject a comparative dimension and find the appropriate tools to measure the performance of urban regeneration initiatives in contrast to the current standard evaluation procedures. The research has been designed with the aim of seeking practical and effective ways of applying the benchmarking method and realistic evaluation as a combined assessment tool in evaluating the performance of such initiatives. For this reason, the research focuses on the functioning of the urban regeneration schemes delivered through regional park programmes in the UK. In relation to this, a decision was taken to ‘benchmark’ the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park against the Lee Valley Regional Park and to examine both case studies by means of ‘realistic evaluation’. The rationale for choosing these particular regional parks was made based on the parks’ background. Both regional park programmes have placed emphasis on regeneration of their respective areas. The idea of this comparative exercise is therefore to explore the differences between the Mersey Waterfront and the Lee Valley in terms of programme implementation, project delivery, mechanisms for efficiency, outcomes of programme, the institutional arrangement, the key success factors and the key learning points. These areas of research were therefore justified for the purpose of measuring the performance of a regional park thus teasing out the practicality and potential of both evaluation methods. The end-result of this research discovered that there were various mechanisms affecting the performance of a regional park. Additionally, it was discovered that programme outcomes are influenced by programme settings and delivery mechanisms. The findings also reveal the key lessons to programme performance and the variations of work processes. Nevertheless, the most significant result is the practicality and benefits of using the benchmarking method and realistic evaluation as a combined assessment tool in examining urban regeneration initiatives delivered through regional parks.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-12 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Benchmarking, Realistic Evaluation, Urban Regeneration, Regional Park, Programme Evaluation
Subjects: ?? SB ??
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2013 11:00
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:38
DOI: 10.17638/00008893
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