Despite the wide usage and popular appeal of the concept of sustainability in UK policy, it does not appear to have challenged the status quo in urban regeneration because policy is not leading in its conceptualisation and therefore implementation. This paper investigates how sustainability has been conceptualised in a case-based research study of the regeneration of Eastside in Birmingham, UK, through policy and other documents, and finds that conceptualisations of sustainability are fundamentally limited. The conceptualisation of sustainability operating within urban regeneration schemes should powerfully shape how they make manifest (or do not) the principles of sustainable development. Documents guide, but people implement regeneration-and the disparate conceptualisations of stakeholders demonstrate even less coherence than policy. The actions towards achieving sustainability have become a policy 'fix' in Eastside: a necessary feature of urban policy discourse that is limited to solutions within market-based constraints.