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Cities, regions and privatised utilities

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/1999
<mark>Journal</mark>Progress in Planning
Issue number2
Volume51
Number of pages75
Pages (from-to)91-165
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Utility networks are physically embedded in places and they also operate within a regulated environment which imposes obligations on them. Within this framework they need to demonstrate commercial success which is directly related to new management strategies that have profound implications for the economic social and environmental performance of localities and regions. Privatisation and liberalisation have heralded a movement from relatively uniform service provision to a utility patchwork with increased variations in tariffs, and styles of service provision. Realisation amongst urban studies and policy makers communities that utility strategies raise important issues for urban and regional development has been slow to emerge. But this is now rapidly changing. Voluntary and community groups and charities have attempted to ensure that low income households gain access to affordable water, heat, light and communication services. Economic development agencies have begun to realise that utilities can act as powerful allies for attracting inward investment. More slowly, they are turning attention to the implications of take-overs and job losses. Environmental groups have recognised the benefits of policies to cut demand and are working with utility companies on energy and water saving strategies. This paper explores the socio-spatial implications of emerging utility strategies within contemporary UK cities. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.