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How can we develop place leadership?

29th October 2014

By Rob Cowan


One of the concerns of the Farrell Review was with how to develop what it called ‘place leadership’ – leading the process of making a place (or places) successful. Debbie Sorkin, Robert Huxford and I made a presentation about this to the Place Alliance’s second Big Meet. We focused on how people and organisations in the built environment field can work with others (such as those in the fields of health and education) whose work can benefit from a place perspective. The connections are too rarely made.

This is work in progress. Here are 10 thoughts so far.

1.  Place is much more than a built-environment issue. Making things happen depends on seeing the links between the physical reality of places and everything else that contributes to the quality of life of that place.

 2.  This broad view of place chimes with policy trends towards linking and integrating different sectors, using the perspective of the person using services, or living and working in a particular place, as the starting point.

 3.  Leadership is not a position in an organisation, but a behaviour that can show up anywhere within a community, an organisation or other human system. The task is to help leaders emerge in specific places.

4.  Leadership depends on building trust and solid relationships.

5.  We need to develop outreach beyond the traditional confines of the built environment professions.

6.  The aim is to build effective relationships to the point at which those involved can work through difficult issues and develop joint solutions.

7.  Place leadership can not be simply a matter of making the case for the built environment, for high standards of design, or for a focus on places. It needs to be active involvement in making things happen in different ways.

8.  The most effective way to build this type of leadership, and to demonstrate its potential, is through practical projects. Setting up a series of pilot projects should be a major focus of the Place Alliance.

9.  Place leadership, nationally or locally, will grow out of success in building relationships within and between organisations and sectors.

10.  The aim should be to start the process of supporting the development of effective place leaders (and place leadership behaviour) in every neighbourhood, local authority and relevant agency, and in the professions and government at every level. Lowongan Kerja


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