Every place is already subject to many national, regional, and locally determined policies across most areas of people’s lives. A place based approach does not seek to displace or otherwise divert these legitimate priorities. However, it does seek to ensure that they are delivered in the best way possible when seen in the local context. And that they are considered in concert with other local initiatives. This requires a real understanding of the local circumstance within which these often stand-alone interventions operate.
The Place Narrative responds to simple key questions, in order to develop three useful outputs:
- a Brief which captures each unique place’s context and criteria for success,
- a Diagram of the most relevant geography of assets and activities,
- a clear statement of Intent with the actions needed to make a difference.
How these questions are considered and at what level of detail will depend on the circumstances of each place – particularly the strength of the relationships on the ground, the data already available, and the nature of any catalysts for change. It is not about applying an addition level of bureaucracy or creating templates and checklists. It is about prompting a useful and helpful conversation with the people who truly know a place. And also challenging the basis of the assumptions made for, rather than with, those communities
1. Why is change needed?
- What kind of place is this? The current lived experience of a place. How a place sees itself – its issues, challenges, and opportunities.
- Why does it need to change? What is most important to that place and why. Their priorities and the different outcomes that are necessary.
- What should the future be? A different scenario for that place. Their hopes and aspirations, and their key criteria for success.
2. Where do things need to change?
- What are the defining features? The key physical aspects of a place. How the built and natural environment shape local possibilities.
- Where are the greatest needs? Locate those communities with the greatest inequality that need support, resources and investment.
- How are assets used? The range of assets in a place and the services they provide to their communities.
3. What changes will make a difference?
- What is currently going on? The range of current activities underway across communities and their connections.
- What is currently planned? The pipeline of current commitments and the changes under active consideration across stakeholders.
- What needs to happen? Target the gaps that need to be filled, highlight plans that needs to be challenged, their order of doing, and by whom.