Future Scape: 2023 is puzzling: why analyse the basis for present problems and their solution West London is a precursor to East London's future, Woolwich and Greenwich show the fabric of some neighbourhoods still under stress. In the regeneration of the area juxtaposed with examples of ageing Modernist, reminders of past wealth like the Cutty Sark controversially displayed on a glass housing. Student projects in the local architecture college examine 'future ruins' - what will last from today's regeneration schemes? Urban designers focus in on balancing the complex demands of progress, spatial equity and accessibility with the essential element for well-being: clean air.
The learning is: 'spatial justice' requires analysis and therefore measures of its component values, to enable us to manage and deliver these multiple demands of regenerating place.
A values-led impact analysis (VIA) provides communities, policy-makers and decision-takers with a method to achieve improved justice outcomes from regeneration, based on extensive research in a four-decade longitudinal study. By appraising strategic spatial interventions in North Kensington, regeneration outcomes are defined in terms other than financial: those of spatial justice values sought in a liberal democracy. Ethical values are promoted as a guide to spatial interventions for a more digitized culture. The study provides a basis for better understanding the spatial consequences of technological changes, and the more recent spatial impact of the COVID pandemic.
The systematic and effective approach of assessing spatial interventions through ‘value-based’ indicators – Values-led Impact Analysis (VIA) – relates indicators of (multiple) deprivation to programmes of spatial change through a filter of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs adapted to spatial outcomes. The process provides a quality standard for spatial justice targets and achievements.
This quality standard for spatial justice makes defining a regeneration programme’s aspirations tangible against a benchmark of the intangible ‘justice as fairness’ of Liberalism. Viewing objectives through a values-led lens operates as a 'kite-mark' for whether spatial justice is a true target of regeneration, and whether it is achieved at the end of a programme.
In post-completion scenarios, the‘kite-mark’ VIA enables regeneration outcomes to be investigated objectively. The process can help improve future interventions by providing an evidence-base for addressing ‘lessons learnt’ - an option that is not yet consistently applied to regeneration or other spatial interventions.
VIA is highly relevant in the build-back-better scenario that a post-COVID future demands. This VIA template offers a mechanism for empowering communities for testing investments in their area, and assessing their potential impact on local people in terms of place-based justness.