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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2010): Community regeneration and development - overseas

The conversion of social capital into community development: an intervention in Australia's outback

J. Onyx and R. Leonard

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.34, 2010, p.381-397

The research presented in this article employed a deliberate intervention to mobilise social capital and study the dynamics of the way in which it influences community development. It is argued that whether or not social capital is able to facilitate community development depends on the specific context in which it occurs. The general context for this study was that of small rural towns in Australia's outback that are experiencing substantial population decline. This article examines four such towns and the way in which their particular contexts affect the way they mobilise their social capital to implement an intervention to develop their community. Rural communities have the capacity to mobilise, but whether this capacity is actualised may depend on the presence of other mobilising factors in their particular context. Specifically, the intervention study found that there needs to be a structure which can take the initiative and work across the community by engaging a range of organisations. This structure needs to be supported, but not controlled, by local government and needs the kind of social entrepreneurship that can sustain a community-wide vision and bring together diverse groups.

Leadership challenges in the inner city: planning for sustainable regeneration in Birmingham and Barcelona

A. Barber and M.P. Eastaway

Policy Studies, vol.31, 2010, p. 393-411

Inner city and city centre regeneration has been an integral part of urban economic policy for more than 20 years. However, the nature of the regeneration approaches and the leadership challenges they pose have evolved over time. The article begins by reviewing this evolution from the high-profile urban entrepreneurialism of the 1980s to the more complex place-shaping approach of the 2000s. It then explores the experience of the Eastside and 22@ regeneration programmes in Birmingham and Barcelona. It shows that while top-down approaches still prevail in both cities, leaders in Barcelona have been able to adapt more easily to the demands of a new era. In Birmingham, policy-makers have struggled to break free of the more traditional approach that suited the city well in the 1980s, but is less conducive to sustainable place-making in the present day.

Neighbourhood regeneration and place leadership: lessons from Groningen and Birmingham

D. Mullins and D. Van Bortel

Policy Studies, vol.31, 2010, p. 413-428

This article explores connections between place leadership and network governance concepts to identify a set of themes that are then used to explore research evidence on neighbourhood regeneration and the role played by housing associations in Birmingham and Groningen. The regeneration task that the case study organisations set themselves took them well beyond 'bricks and mortar' and required them to collaborate with local government and a wide range of partners that contribute to the well-being of places and people. The article explores the role played by housing associations in regeneration partnerships and the implications of place-shaping and network governance.

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