You will know that I am interested in how we make Nottingham a better place – place in the widest sense. I have long been a fan of Thinking Place and attend their regular events. Today Deb Tate, Director of Thinking place guest blogs – with an opportunity to go and find out more about Places….
Wow! Being a guest blogger is an honour indeed! The last time I provided an entry for someone else’s journal was in my friend Fiona’s ‘Secret Diary’ at Guide Camp circa 1982!
I guess Tim invited me as a guest because we have a shared passion for places. I help cities, towns and communities to work out what they are for, who they are for and what they want to be known for – and then craft that into their distinctive place narrative or story. Often along the way a positive by-product of this approach is the development of an entirely new way of how that place thinks about itself; a new place leadership model if you like.
It’s obvious Tim’s top place passion is for Nottingham – and whilst I really like Nottingham my world of ‘place’ is wider. Whether talking about a street, neighbourhood, town, city, office development or shopping centre – places ‘speak’ by the experience they offer, how they communicate and what the decisions people who are entrusted with their leadership make. Dependent on all of these things, people are either attracted to them or not.
But the UK is in a bit of mess isn’t it? Our cities and towns are struggling with failing high streets, stalled developments, fragmentation of traditional communities, ‘clone town’ syndrome and a loss of distinctiveness. Are we going to make the right and better decisions on place development in the future?
Mixing my metaphors I think we are drinking in the last chance saloon but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The City Deals approach, the potential of our Mid Sized Cities and the emerging different leadership models give us hope.
So I guess my question for you is ‘what do you think are the key ingredients to growing our towns and cities?’ You can email me your response – or why not tell me in person? We are having a bit of an ‘end of term do’ at the Coin Street Community Centre in London on 17 July with Centre for Cities and British BIDs to debate this – I’d love to meet you!
I have really enjoyed writing this guest blog – hope I get to do it again soon!
I have my place booked at the do, perhaps see you there?