PARCOUR explores how previously used land is redeveloped. The project includes nine case studies across three countries: Brazil, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Previously developed land, or brownfield sites, offer towns and cities the opportunity to create new infrastructure that can be used as public, office or industrial space and housing to meet the needs of the community. PARCOUR is designed to provide new ways of understanding the importance of how the redevelopment process is governed, with a particular focus on the contracts between the public sector bodies and private developers who deliver the new schemes. The project is designed to explore how the public can benefit from public-private contracts in terms of what is delivered through the partnership. The important question to be answered is: how does using contracts impact on public accountability and the public interest?

Research Questions

  • To what extent does private sector involvement in urban regeneration serve and support sustainable urban development?
  • To what extent can public accountability and the public interest be incorporated in contractual arrangements?
  • How are public accountability and the public interest defined and embodied in contractual planning tools dealing with regeneration projects, and what does this mean in practice?


  • To analyse the contractual relationships in urban regeneration projects
  • To understand the impact of contractual governance arrangements on the redevelopment of urban areas
  • To explain the regulatory roles played by actors and instruments involved in urban redevelopment
  • To identify the benefits residents can reap from contractual governance
  • To define contractual planning tools that serve public accountability and the public interest

Project Stages

  1. Desk research aimed at understanding the different ways in which public accountability and the public interest are defined in different contexts
  2. Field work and analysis in order to find out how and to what extent public accountability and the public interest are served by contractual arrangements
  3. Dissemination of research findings to networks of academics and practitioners


PARCOUR involves interviews with the key people involved in regeneration processes, both from the public sector and private developers. In addition, interviews are conducted with members of local communities to explore the impact of the developments. Furthermore, the project is designed to compare the processes that are analysed. That is, between the cases within each of the three countries on the one hand, and between each of the three countries involved in the study on the other.


The empirical findings will be presented to academic audiences in each of the countries and internationally; to the national and local government sectors; and to the developers of brownfield sites in general. This will be achieved through presentations at conferences, the publication of academic papers, and seminars with people involved in the regeneration sector.

You can read about our research findings here.

Partner Institutions

Funding Institutions