How can the new information and communication
technologies (ICT) help to promote the regeneration of depressed and
This article outlines why
ICT is important for regeneration, the different ways in which it is
being used to support regeneration objectives, and offers advice on
how to move forward in this field.
To a large extent ICT is
important not in itself, but because of the value it can add to
regeneration activities. Essentially, it's not about technologies, but
about being innovative in:
opportunities for socially excluded groups
opening up new avenues
professionals and resources at the "front line"
delivery from public agencies
regeneration objectives and programmes in new ways.
In what specific ways
can ICT help?
As with effective use of
ICT in other fields, many of the benefits come from overcoming the
limitations of distance. For example, one constraint on
people in disadvantaged communities may be mobility problems - they
may not be able to afford transport, or may be disabled, or caring
responsibilities may constrain their ability to travel several miles for
job seeking. ICT can bring advice, opportunities or even work into
But in these situations,
the effect can be more than just bringing opportunities physically
closer. New local facilities and support can change attitudes, from
being discouraged and disaffected to being positive about the future.
The main areas where ICT
may add significant value to regeneration projects are:
The following sections
outline approaches to each of these areas, and a final page outlines
some conclusions and suggestions
for how to move forward.
of ICT should be integral to regeneration projects,
according to Flexibility Editor Andy Lake.
Andy has just completed a
short tour with the Planning Exchange, spreading
awareness of best practice in using ICT for
regeneration. Here he summarises the key issues and
Exchange is a not-for-profit company which shares
information and best practice in the public sector,
particularly with regard to development and regeneration
issues. They also run Regen.Net,
the information network for regeneration partnerships.
The Planning Exchange on
behalf of the DTLR has produced a Good Practice Guide on
using ICT to achieve regeneration objectives.
You can find the guide
online on the
DTLR Regeneration pages.