Published: 12th Aug 2015

I recently chaired a roundtable discussion about enabling residents to transform their communities for the better. Reflecting on the event, and my own involvement in community regeneration, it is exciting to see how Big Local is different from what went before. Some previous regeneration programmes, such as the Docklands Urban Programme and City Challenge, were dominated by investment in physical improvements and capital projects, rather than enhancing local skills. Sustaining regeneration is about people, not ‘bricks and mortar’. In other projects, the community were not in the lead. A resident from Shoreditch New Deal once commented to me ‘the council has been making mistakes for us for long enough, it’s about time we started making our own’. But when there was the chance to do that, and mistakes were made and brought bad press, the government stepped in. Community-led regeneration requires enabling support, not direction. That said, local people should recognise … (To read the full article, subscribe below)