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Derrington: “Developers are demonised”

Communities are protesting and funders are skittish, we need a better approach to urban development, says Dr Patrice Derrington

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People walking in the city. Getty Images
People walking in the city. Getty Images

“Communities are protesting, governments are pressured, funders are skittish and developers are demonised,” says Dr. Patrice Derrington, who leads the prestigious real estate programme at Columbia University.


Derrington believes the high-stakes, fraught environment of urban placemaking needs a rethink – and at The Developer’s Festival of Place she exploded some common myths and encouraged the audience to interrogate the way we develop cities.



“The process by which the private sector delivers much of the urban built environment is struggling to optimise the outcomes for all concerned,” says Derrington.

“Urban development globally is facing a crisis in terms of the process by which private developers are expected to deliver much of the built form of growing cities.

“The structure of community engagement and the alienation of funding are two of the many flaws in the mode of production, but there are more. Property professionals need to understand the full spectrum of issues.”


Derrington, who consults on the funding and delivery of urban projects worldwide, says she wanted to challenge attendees to the Festival to “identify the most critical flaws and formulate ways in which this production process can better build our cities of the future.


Dr Patrice Derrington at the Festival of Place
Dr Patrice Derrington at the Festival of Place


“Many participants and stakeholders in the urban development process are challenged in their roles, dissatisfied with outcomes, and frustrated in meeting their objectives,” says Derrington.

“As part of a complex production activity with so many participants, attendees have the opportunity to more clearly see the larger context in which they work and contribute to an improved process.”



Next year’s Festival of Place is happening on 7 July 2020.

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