Do you believe that the transformation of a place should be grounded in the aspirations of its residents, and for their benefit?
That infrastructure investment alone cannot tackle decades of entrenched inequalities between places?
That new partnerships between communities, government, business and many others will be required to imagine and build flourishing new local systems, and dismantle old ones?
Throughout the pandemic, public debate about the importance of ‘levelling up’ communities across the UK has never been greater. The scale of entrenched inequalities between places has never been clearer. Yet we are only just starting to understand what it will really take to have a transformative effect on people and places, and there are no easy answers.
At Innovation Unit, our vision is for a world in which all people belong and contribute to thriving societies. We have worked on place-based transformation of public services for 20 years. We are now working hard on pooling and applying our expertise, insights and experience to help transform towns and communities across the UK.
In this series of blogs, we have gathered learning from our own work, from case studies and from the long literature on transforming place to offer up into this critically important debate. Change in this ambitious arena can only come about through partnerships and alliances, and we hope this contribution helps us to meet like-minded people to drive change together.
Scroll down to read the blogs. Find out more about Innovation Unit’s role in place-based transformation.
Introduction: what does it take to transform a place?
Insight 1: start with a bold, positive, life-affirming vision
Insight 2: ground everything in a deep, shared understanding of lived experience
Insight 3: get on with doing things, not planning them
Insight 4: focus on real time learning more than on evaluation
Insight 5: work locally, regionally and nationally
Insight 6: liberate local leaders and enable them to drive change
Insight 7: create safe spaces to reimagine and renegotiate power
Insight 8: create a local strategy for inclusive, economic growth
Insight 9: give it time