Leadership is key to creating better places

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‘Places Need leaders’ is about how we create wellbeing in Scottish places. Written as a follow up to ‘Delivering Better Places‘, the collaborative research published by Scottish Government, A+DS and RICS, ‘Places Need Leaders’ invites discussion about what leadership means to achieve better places in Scotland. The papers were written by Professor David Adams, who holds the Ian Mactaggart Chair of Property and Urban Studies in the University of Glasgow, and Professor Trevor Davies who is an honorary professor of Urban Studies, also in the University of Glasgow.

‘Delivering Better Places’ set out a five step process to achieving better places. Two of these steps directly concern leadership: anticipation or the process of deciding outcomes, and stewardship, the process of growing value over time through care and management. Better places need better briefs. Better briefs emerge from the desire of people in a place to shape the conditions for wellbeing and prosperity. Who leads this process of shaping, decisionmaking and care over time is an important issue to consider. ‘Places Need Leaders’ seeks debate on these issues. It is not a definitive account of what has to be done.

There are many challenges for the creation and management of wellbeing in Scottish places. The Christie Commission identifies the need for creative and collaborative approaches to public services in Scottish places. Good Places Better Health identifies the need for early intervention and better linking of health outcomes with the environment people live in. The wider role initiatives of Housing Associations show how holistic impacts be achieved at placelevel. The Scottish Sustainable Communities Charette series demonstrate methods of engaging communities in shaping places. How though do we build on these initiatives and challenges to create a more sustainable placemaking culture? ‘Places Need Leaders’ suggests that the starting point is desire, a clear discussion around two simple questions: ‘What kind of place do we want to create’ and ‘How do we get it’? This drives thinking on two clear aspects of place leadership: leadership ‘ability’, the knowledge and skills of leadership, and leadership ‘capacity’, the capacity to get things done. Both are necessary, and both need to be informed by the priorities for the place.

‘Places Need Leaders’ suggests that leadership in Scottish places is not all about traditional hierarchies of power. It is about new relationships between communities, politicians, the public and private sector. There are many leaders at all levels opf society, each having a key role in shaping better places. If wellbeing is what places need to produce, better briefs for better places are key. Better place briefs need many forms of leadership.

We look forward to hearing your views on ‘Places Need Leaders’ to inform better briefing, and ultimately, ‘Delivering Better Places’ in Scotland.

‘Places Need Leaders’ is divided into 3 parts. Part one is a summary. The second part asks why the quality of place is important to all of us and examines the nature and task of local leadership. The final part examines improvements we consider necessary if local leadership is to deliver successful places.

Part 1: Summary (Download PDF)

Part 2: Places and Leaders (Download PDF)

Part 3: Better Leadership (Download PDF)

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Place and leadership

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