Urban regeneration is a program of land redevelopment that is often used to address urban decay in cities. It involves the clearing out of dilapidated areas in inner cities to create opportunities for higher class housing, businesses and other developments. Over the coming pages, RLI takes a look at a selection of global projects that highlight unique examples of urban regeneration.

According to an article entitled ‘What is urban regeneration? Definition and meaning’ by Enel X, urban regeneration is an approach to city planning to repair the social and economic problems of an urban area, improving the physical and environmental aspects of the city, as well as the buildings. Urban renewal aims to transform obsolete or blighted areas into economically productive areas of a community.

In practical terms, it means an overall plan and vision for cities that is oriented towards energy efficiency and social inclusivity. It is designed to bring back underutilised assets and to redistribute opportunities, increasing urban prosperity and quality of life; however these initiatives are complex, lengthy and run the risk of gentrifying private space or privatising the public one, the article continues.

Distrito Armida
Monterrey, Mexico
Developer: GM Capital

Global urban regeneration projects
A major scheme in Los Angeles is the retail component at Hollywood Park, a 300-acre mega-development in Inglewood centred on SoFi Stadium. In total, there will be up to 890,000sq ft of retail surrounded by creative office space. Much more than retail, the site will be home to residences, a park, and the stadium is nearby as well. Stan Kroenke is leading the Hollywood Park development with Wilson Meany acting as the development manager. Kroenke owns the Los Angeles Rams. Christopher Meany, Managing Partner at Wilson Meany, added that in order to create that special sense of place you need retail to give visitors and residents a walkable area. Hollywood Park will have a combination of large tenants, such as a Cinepolis movie theatre and smaller tenants, including Sky’s Gourmet Tacos, Red Bay Coffee and Antojitos Martin, a juice and snack bar.

The Well
Toronto, Canada
Developers: RioCan & Allied Properties

Distrito Armida is a new multi-phase mixed-use community in the upscale city of Monterrey, Mexico, masterplanned and designed by JERDE. It is located in a district known for modern office offerings, and thus to fit within the district, Distrito Armida offers a full mixed-use project with premier office opportunities. To support these new offices, a full-spectrum community is conceived, one that includes all support programs for a fully serviced lifestyle. Situated in the south-eastern edges of San Pedro Garza Garcia, the location of Distrito Armida is uniquely positioned to create an essential, lively, and unique offering. Views of the iconic mountain skyline of Monterrey, proximity to vibrant communities, a world-class business context, and multitudes of retail and entertainment opportunities will all serve to attract young professionals, families, and business owners with a modern outlook and appreciation for urban living. The first three phases of the project are clustered at the southern end of the site and will provide the neighbourhood with office and residential towers, a hotel, retail, and a wide array of public spaces for the community. The neighbourhood of San Pedro Garza Garcia stands somewhat separated from the city centre of Monterrey and is an upscale district for young professionals.

Tokyo Cross Park
Tokyo, Japan
Master Designer & Placemaking Strategist: PLP Architecture

The Well, dubbed as the most ambitious mixed-use endeavour in Canada, is being developed by RioCan and Allied Properties and designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. The scheme is located in the heart of Toronto’s west end. Bordering Front, Spadina, and Wellington, the design includes 1.1 million square feet of office space, 500,000sq ft of retail and food services, and 1,700 residential units spread throughout six buildings connected to a three-level retail base. With the retail and office components opening this year and the residential element opening in 2023, The Well will become a unique mix of shops, restaurants, fresh food markets, workspaces and residencies that set the stage for innovative collaborations and meaningful experiences in culture, entertainment, community and wellness. The Well has achieved Platinum-level WIRED certification from WireScore for its building’s best-in-class digital connectivity, technological infrastructure, and commitment to emerging digital trends.

Shougang Park Urban Weaving District
Beijing, China
Developer: Shougang Group

PLP Architecture has unveiled vision for Tokyo Cross Park masterplan, which will create a new district redevelopment in the prestigious Uchisaiwaicho 1-Chome district of Tokyo, Japan. The site is at the very centre of Japanese culture, economy and politics. The masterplan, covering a 230-hectare ‘green heart’, will be connected to the 16ha Hibiya Park and look across to the Imperial Palace of Tokyo. The site will include four towers, a 31m tall podium and a 2ha public plaza, together containing offices, commercial facilities, hotels, residential, co-creation spaces and an extensive public realm. The Tokyo Cross Park envisions the growth of the capital’s green space, outwards from the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park into the urban districts of the city. The new development has extensive green spaces and water, which will connect with the park through two pedestrian ‘park bridges’. PLP serves as the master designer and placemaking strategist for the entire 1.1 million square metre development, the largest in the metropolitan area of Tokyo, the firm will design two of the four mixed-use towers on the 6.5-hectare site. The project is developed for a multi-stakeholder partnership, which will comprise of 10 of Japan’s most prominent companies. The multi-disciplinary group came together to co-create a new vision for urban development in Tokyo.

Transilvania Smart City
Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Developer: SDC Imobiliare

Lead8, the international award-winning design firm was the overall masterplanner for the Shougang Park Urban Weaving District in Beijing. The firm also delivered the architecture design of the first phase transit-oriented, mixed-use scope of the overall urban generation masterplan. The masterplan forms part of a significant rejuvenation undertaking in Beijing as the site transforms a 100-year-old Capital Steel Factory Park into a thriving multi-activity destination. Comprising retail, office, hotel, entertainment, public transport interchange (PTI), and MICE, the scheme targeted high-tech firms as future tenants. Once fully complete, the project is set to become a future flagship transit-oriented development (TOD) in the city’s new Shougang North District. Located above the new metro interchange station of M11 and R1 in Shougang, the project featured as the gateway welcoming visitors to the 2022 Winter Olympics site and was developed by Shougang Group.

Vilnius, Lithuania
Developer: Darnu Group

Local developer SDC Imobiliare, along with overseas investment funds, has launched what they claim to be the biggest real estate project in Romania. The Transilvania Smart City mixed-use, estimated to require an investment of €700M, would see the construction of 10,000 apartments, a shopping centre, schools, supermarkets, a hotel and an aparthotel, office space, parks, and conference rooms in Cluj-Napoca. Work on the project began earlier this year. The entire project will be built on a plot of 35ha on a hill close to the Iulius Mall shopping centre. The project’s first stage will be developed on 3ha of land and will include 800 apartments, an aparthotel, nursery, shops, cafes, restaurants, a gym, a bank, a Lidl store and a park. The construction work for this first stage is expected to be completed in 18-24 months. The shopping centre, which will be developed in a later stage, will have an area of 100,000sq m.

Borough Yards
London, UK
Developer: MARK

The concept of the mixed-use development at Topkapı, a site of historical significance in Istanbul, has just been unveiled to the Turkish market. Chapman Taylor has developed innovative architectural solutions to bring this neighbourhood to life with parks, shopping streets, offices, a five star hotel and residences and a Lifestyle Centre to create a major new attraction for the city. Due to launch next year by developer Akzirve Gayrimenkul, the scheme will be set in a superb location to the west of central Istanbul with direct access to the major E5 highway, Topkapı 29 will have further transportation links to the West with a new metro station. A two-level retail street provides active frontage to the south of the project and wraps around the central residential community. By making use of the level changes the retail street creates two ground levels sinuously flowing from the Metro Plaza in the west to the Lifestyle Centre in the east.

Recognised as the best conversion project in the Baltics, Paupys is being developed in the UNESCO-protected Vilnius Old Town, on an abandoned factory site. In 2015, the buildings were dismantled and the 6ha area cleaned and decontaminated. Today, a new district, created by seven prominent architecture studios, provides residential quarters, commercial area and offices. The integrated urban environment offers a cinema, a conference centre, restaurants, retail and services centred around a marketplace. Everything was carefully chosen to create a communal district with its unique atmosphere. Paupys residents are provided with privacy, a riverside, communal spaces and architecture extending the Old Town. Darnu Group is the company behind it and construction is ongoing.

Dubai Hills Mall
Dubai, UAE
Developer: Emaar

LaMercedes is the conversion of the former Mercedes car factory in Barcelona into a mixed-use eco-district, building on its rich industrial heritage. Being developed by Conren Tramway and whose architect is Batlle i Roig, the uses of LaMercedes have been organised around work, live, learn and play concepts: 1,450 residential units (40 per cent social), 15,000sq m ground floor retail providing everything users need, 69,000sq m office and education campus and more than 50 per cent of the plot´s footprint for green areas and public space, LaMercedes has been designed following the highest sustainability criteria in alignment with the UN´s 2030 SDG and the EU New Green Deal objectives. The scheme is currently down for a 2022 opening.

Borough Yards is a new dining, shopping and cultural destination in the heart of medieval London. Situated in the London Borough of Southwark, next to the vibrant Borough Market, Borough Yards is bringing new life to an area rich with history. Continuing to open in phases throughout 2022, the project will feature five mixed-use buildings including Grade-A workspace, retail, gallery, restaurants, cinema and creative spaces. The high-quality public realm scheme will restore and reinvent the lost medieval street pattern of the area adjacent to the world-famous food destination Borough Market. Restoring and rejuvenating an important part of south London’s Victorian railway heritage, the landmark scheme will also re-purpose 8,500sq m of existing railway arches, creating 50 units for retail, food & drink and leisure brands to use as their canvas to create and innovate. The architectural design weaves together historic fabric with contemporary architecture and new public spaces, opening the site to its Bankside context and bringing new pedestrian routes and amenities to the area.

Times Square, Egypt
Developer: GV Group

Paddington Square is the centrepiece of Paddington’s regeneration, a new working, shopping, dining, and cultural quarter created by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano and Shard developer Sellar, in partnership with Hotel Properties Limited. At its heart is a light-filled crystalline building providing 14 floors of workspace incorporating wellbeing and sustainability features and smart technology, 80,000sq ft of shops and restaurants will serve the area’s 55,000 worker population, a projected 113.5 million commuters and an untapped affluent residential catchment. Seamlessly integrated with London’s Paddington Station, a landscaped public piazza with specially commissioned artworks forms part of a new and improved station arrival experience, whilst a new Bakerloo Line ticket hall directly below the offices, connects a contemporary mix of 40 shops and restaurants. A two-storey retail mall comprises a Tube Level convenience-led retail offer of everyday essentials, fresh food stores and grab-and-go operators; above this, Concourse Level shops extend into the main public piazza, featuring lifestyle, technology, gifts, beauty, and fashion brands. At street level, elegant double height units accommodate retail brands and restaurants with a south-facing al fresco dining terrace and signature three- level Pavilion building with rooftop. Scenic glass lifts take guests from the main public piazza to a new destination rooftop restaurant and open-air terrace at the top of the main building, where guests will enjoy striking panoramic London views day and night. Paddington Square is scheduled to complete over a number of phases; the main office building will complete in early autumn, with the 40 retail and dining spaces, public piazza and new Bakerloo Line ticket hall opening in early 2023.

Developed by Emaar and having just recently opened its doors, Dubai Hills Mall features around 600 outlets, including retail stores, restaurants and cafés. The mall boasts a gross leasable area of two million square feet, together with four major family entertainment and leisure centres, as well as a Cineplex, hypermarket, multiple anchor retail stores, an indoor roller coaster and dedicated parking for over 7,000 vehicles. The Dubai Hills Mall project is a part of the Dubai Hills Estate project, a scheme that invites residents to live in a sophisticated address, surrounded with luscious landscaped greens and pristine fairways with the iconic backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline. The scheme itself encompasses the Dubai Hill Malls, an 18-hole championship golf course, 1,450,000 square metres parks and open spaces and 180,000sq m Dubai Hills Park, as well as much more.

Diriyah Square
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Developer: Diriyah Gate Development Authority

Saudi Arabia‘s King Salman Park which is due to complete in 2025 by developer Riyadh Development Company has started construction on its Royal Arts Complex, which includes a museum, theatre, outdoor amphitheatre, artist studios and cinema halls. Covering more than 500,000sq m, the Royal Arts Complex in Riyadh is designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. It will offer “immersive experiences that cater to culture and art in all its forms”, according to a news release. The complex’s National Theater will seat 2,300 people, while another theatre will be able to seat 650 guests. The Royal Arts Complex will also include three cinema halls, and a museum reaching up to 106m in height. In addition, it will feature a library and dedicated artist studios, as well as an institute that includes three academies with its own 600-seat capacity auditorium. Once completed, King Salman Park will be the largest urban park in the world, covering more than 16sq km. It will be a global hub for culture, arts and nature, with vast green spaces, sports facilities and immersive cultural and entertainment venues. The development is part of Vision 2030, which aims to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil by diversifying its economy.

Diriyah, a SAR 64bn development project, is a 7sq km mixed-use historic, culture and lifestyle destination. Diriyah will become the Kingdom’s historic and cultural heart, proudly showcasing to the world Saudi Arabia’s more than 300 years of history through an engaging and inspiring set of heritage, hospitality, education, retail and dining experiences for residents, tourists and frequent visitors. The new development north-west of Riyadh is centred around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif. So far 14 international hotel brands have been confirmed, and it is expected at completion there will be 38 in total. The new global landmark, Diriyah, will be created in a Najdi architectural style and showcase authentic Saudi Arabian environments. The historic town of Diriyah will be transformed into a global tourism destination with its main anchors rooted in its historic culture and heritage. It aims to be developed as an urban, mixed-use development inspired by the principles of both new urbanism and historical Najdi architectural typology. It will be home to more than twenty luxury and ultra-luxury hospitality venues offering genuine experiences that reflect the rich history and culture of Diriyah and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, the destination will include museums, galleries, restaurants, retail experiences, public squares, hotels, multiple recreational spaces, residences, educational institutions and offices.

Tunis Garden City
Tunis, Tunisia
Developer: Indigo Property

A major scheme by developer GV Group is the revolutionary Times Square project in Egypt which is situated at the heart of Port Said, one of the most important cities and ports in the world and at 31,500sq m, the scheme is being designed to become the city’s new central hub. The development will feature multiple experiences in one place including Times Residence which is where the smart homes of Times Square will be delivered and fully finished with central AC and a rich diversity of areas catered to customer’s needs. In addition there will be Times Premiere, which will be fully furnished hotel apartment units, Times Towers which is the business hub that will be fully equipped to meet business needs with the latest technology, facilities and services and Times Hotel, a cozy business-orientated hotel that will be situated on the main street. Finally, the Times Mall will be a design masterpiece that houses a variety of retail shops, cinemas, entertainment and exquisite F&B experiences, all created with care for individuals’ and families’ enjoyment.

Located in a strategic position between Tunis city centre and Tunis Carthage International Airport and being designed by Design International and developed by SPLT (Société de Promotion du Lac de Tunis) and Indigo Properties, Tunis Garden City will be the first development of a larger masterplan that will change the face of Tunis when it launches in 2024. Tunis Garden City is designed to give back to the city of Tunis an urban space where people can live, work, and enjoy life. The mall is porous like the new city of Tunis. Everything is connected together and it will feature 150 retail outlets, distributed across two floors, with a mix of shops and restaurants that face both the indoor galleria and the outdoor boulevard. Ultimately, Tunis Garden City will be a new post-Covid-19 city, symbolising a new Tunisian renaissance.