Research Proposal: Economic and Geographical Restructuring of Small Business Enterprises in Urban Areas

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Economic and Geographical Restructuring of Small Business Enterprises in Urban Areas

Since the end of the Cold War, Europe has undergone a tremendous transformation. Where, a number of countries have begun to engage in different policies to reform their economies. In the case of the EU countries, the overall amounts of economic restructuring have been increasing dramatically. This is because the increased amounts of globalization and the desire to integrate the different economies into a political / economic union; is causing many countries to more aggressively implement such policies. Where, they are moving away from the traditional state planning or socialist-based model. Instead, many of these countries are forced to embrace these changes or face the possibility of: being unable to adapt to the changes that are occurring in the world economy. For both small and medium sized businesses that are located in urban areas, this means that new initiatives are taking place to address the future needs of growth. Where, a number of cities have begun to engage in various urban renewal projects. These policies are designed to prevent urban sprawl from occurring near many of large cities, while at the same time encouraging re development. A good example of this can be seen in Great Britain, where there is an initiative to tear down over 400 thousand homes that are rundown / abandoned and rebuild these areas into thriving cultural centers.

This is significant, because it shows how across the EU there is an emphasis on addressing issues of economic blight, so that the major urban areas can adapt to changes that are occurring in the global economy. To determine how the different EU countries are preparing for these changes requires: examining various urban renewal policies are taking shape and what are the long-term effects on the different European cities. Together, these elements will provide the greatest insights as to the effect that urban renewal policies are having.

Urban Renewal Policies that are Currently being Utilized by the EU

In general, there are six major challenges that are being faced by EU countries in their redevelopment efforts these would include: urban sprawl, redevelopment, the regeneration of brown fields, sustainable construction, green spaces and revitalizing distressed neighborhoods. For each major city that is part of the EU, they are managing these different issues in their own. This is because, each city will face its own unique issues that will fall under the general category of the various challenges identified above. As a result, the EU has engaged in a policy of supporting large scale construction that will redevelop the various urban neighborhoods of a number of different cities.

However, when you look at the underlying effects of the redevelopment efforts, it is clear that they are showing mixed results. What is happening is the different redevelopment efforts have led to various economic situations, between the wealthy and middle class / lower middle class that live in these areas. Where, many of the wealthy corporations and individuals have been encouraging the different governments, to go into those areas and begin tearing down large sections of these communities. In many cases, they justify what is occurring, by showing how the high number of run down and abandoned buildings are: a sign that property owners are not taking any pride in their communities. Instead of spending large amounts trying to redevelop old buildings, large scale demolition is encouraged, as way of being able to redevelop the area. This is problematic, because once these kinds of projects occur it can mean that modern day facilities could be constructed, which are of no economic / social value to the community. This is important to the local economy and small / medium businesses, because effective economic renewal projects can help revitalize key areas.

A good example of this can be seen in Athens, where large amounts of economic renewal took place throughout the city, in the run up to 2004 Olympics. However, once the Olympics came to an end, is when the overdevelopment of the city would become obvious. Where, many of the facilities fell into a state of disrepair as: homelessness, drug addiction, prostitution and other forms of petty crime became common at many of these different facilities.

This is significant, because it shows how the approach that was taken by various EU officials had the best of intentions. Yet, the underlying approach that they used in addressing the problem; created modern facilities that could not be sustained by the local economy. In the case of Athens, the re development that took place in the run up to the Olympics would lead to increased amounts of social issues, as large neighborhoods were destroyed to make room for the various Olympic venues. This would remove many people who were from the lower to middle classes of society from their homes, with no way of finding affordable housing. At which point, they are forced to live on the streets or engage in other activities that contribute to economic blight (i.e. prostitution / petty crime). The consequences for Greek businesses are that this would make it more difficult to obtain financing, as these projects would lead to higher interest rates. This is because these facilities would cause the government to waste millions of Euros in maintaining them.

What are the Long-Term Effects of these Policies?

The long-term effects of these policies are that a change is occurring in many of cities throughout the EU. Where, the large scale construction of modern facilities is creating vast differences between the various classes in society. Using the above example of Athens, this can be seen when many urban areas were destroyed, as a part of preparing the various Olympic venues. Despite the fact, that the Greek government had the best of intentions, they allowed corporate interest to construct these facilities, without any kind of viable economic plan moving forward. Over the course of time, this worked similar to economic aid in reverse, where the various facilities were constructed and touted as the envy of the world. However, beneath the surface, the large displacement of lower and middle class families; meant that tens of thousands would have no place to go. At which point, it was: only a matter of time until these people would seek some form of social assistance from the government. When you combine this with the severe economic contraction that took place; meant that the government would be paying interest on large facilities that they are not using and then have to support the people they threw out of their homes. In many ways, one could effectively argue that the redevelopment policies that were enacted by the EU, helped to increase the overall severity of the situation. Once this took place, it meant that it was only a matter of time until these issues would contribute to the financial crisis of the country.

This is significant, because it shows how the EU must use a redevelopment policy that will account for those who live in the communities, where large scale redevelopment is taking place. As these who people depend on their homes for survival, must have some way of benefiting from the redevelopment efforts that are taking place in their community.

The alternative to the situation is to refocus the projects, so that they will take into account the residents of the area and small / medium sized businesses. This could be accomplished by having feasibility studies completed and establishing planning committees, with various members of the community as well as businesses playing a major role. This will provide an effective procedure, for effectively directing revitalization funds where they are most needed.

Clearly, the various urban renewal policies that are being implemented around the EU are short sided. Where, they take into account the short-term effects that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Economic and Geographical Restructuring of Small Business Enterprises in Urban Areas.  (2010, June 21).  Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/economic-geographical-restructuring/851851

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"Economic and Geographical Restructuring of Small Business Enterprises in Urban Areas."  Essaytown.com.  June 21, 2010.  Accessed June 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/economic-geographical-restructuring/851851.