Place based policy: what is it, who does it, where is it best applied, and how can we make it better – more effective, more impactful and more widely applied. The most recent book in the Policy Expo series explores exactly these questions. Using published research, workshops at RSA Conferences and the input of policy makers from the European Union and elsewhere, this publication by Andrew Beer, Markku Sotarauta, Fiona McKenzie, Jiří Blažek and Sarah Ayres sheds new light on these issues.
As a team of leading researchers they put forward provocative policy prescriptions, arguing that the wider application of place based policy is needed if economies and nations are to overcome the challenges of increasing marginalisation in some places, as well as the impacts of global pandemic. They argue radical change is needed in how governments think about place based policy – paying more attention to local leadership, acknowledging the bonds that tie people to the places that matter to them, paying more attention to questions of implementation and empowering communities to shape priorities.
Using international examples, the authors draw together both academic insights and practical lessons for policy makers, and they put forward ten key steps to success:
- Developing an explicit focus on place and work to make use of the full set of opportunities and resources in that locality;
- Fostering engagement with local institutions in achieving the mission of each place-based policy;
- Focusing on governance, accepting the need to create robust, sustainable and transparent processes and acknowledging the key role of erudite and charismatic leaders;
- Emphasising value creation and the local capture of value in order to generate opportunities in the short, medium and long term;
- Acknowledging the need to consider the performance of places over a long time-frame.
- Prioritising the assistance to those individuals and groups for whom adjustment processes are most challenging;
- Accepting that there is an emotional dimension to questions of place and the future of places which may be especially evident in periods of rapid change – such as disruption to local industries – but is present in all circumstances;
- Incorporating outcome and output measures – qualitative and quantitative – early in the implementation of place-based initiatives in order to drive achievement;
- Avoiding faltering expectations and a cycle of disillusionment by having demonstrable, significant, achievements built into the program design. These can be short term, long term or developmental and need to be communicated to all stakeholders, including the wider community; and,
- Embracing an explicit focus on establishing concrete goals and aspirations from inception, and securing agreement to those goals amongst all stakeholders.
Every Place Matters: Towards Effective Place-based Policy is available online to RSA members here. RSA members will also receive a hard copy in due course.