Enterprise zones and zones franches urbaines: A critique of area based fiscal incentives and regeneration in England and France
Chignier-Riboulon, F. and Hall, S. (2013) Enterprise zones and zones franches urbaines: A critique of area based fiscal incentives and regeneration in England and France. Urban Research and Practice, 6 (2). pp. 123-139. ISSN 1753-5069
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17535069.2013.808434
This paper provides a critical commentary on area based fiscal incentives and regeneration in Europe, focusing on Enterprise Zones (EZs) in Britain and Zones franches urbaines (ZFUs) in France. It, thus, counters the trans-Atlantic comparative bias of much of the extant literature. The paper provides a qualitative account of the development trajectory of four zones in Britain and France. It, thus, also counters the bias for evaluating short-term quantitative outputs (e.g. leverage ratios, cost per job) over long-term qualitative spatial outcomes. We consider how four variables (the objectives and ideological foundations of the EZ and ZFU programmes, the nature and scope of policy instruments deployed, the heterogeneous geography of the zones, and local implementation) influence process and outcomes locally and the extent to which they engender ‘sustainable’ regeneration; the (re)embedding of zone development locally so that perpetual public investment and intervention is unnecessary. We conclude that, notwithstanding their potential to stimulate development and employment gains, area based fiscal incentives are (given their propensity to produce unanticipated outcomes and post-hoc challenges) an imperfect platform to promote sustainable regeneration. This is, in part, due to an intrinsic flaw of the model; the limited effective public control over private investment.
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