Anyone in the business of urban regeneration needs guidance and support.
- How do you know you’re doing the right thing?
- Is this going to work?
- What is really going on here?
Director of Welsh creative regeneration agency Urban Foundry, Ben Reynolds, has some cool words of advice that they are applicable anywhere in the world – his 10 commandments of regeneration.
Delivered at a 4TheRegion conference about regeneration and the future of the city region held in Swansea, UK, the list is quite clearly the product of plenty of hands-on experience.
So with his permission, here they are, transcribed more or less accurately.
Commandment 1: Know thyself
The foundations must be there for any project so you need to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. For your own sake, be clear exactly where you are going and why you are going there.
What are your strongest assets? Back those. What are your weaker areas? Work hard to improve them, and have a plan to keep the blessed of our change affects you – for good or bad – as you work.
Commandment 2: Get others to know thyself
If you are marketing any product you need to tell the rest of the world why you and it are so good. The same thing is true of your brand. And it is true of cities and the sense of place that you are trying to generate.
What’s special about it? What is it like to be there, to live there? Create a sense of cohesion and understanding. What makes it unique and different from any other place? What are your shared goals?
It’s all very well to have ideas of your own but they need to be shared by the community. It needs to be shared plans that you are creating with buy-in from everybody – everyone should “get it”.
And you need to tell and share this story regularly in different media to different audiences.
Commandment 3: Thou shalt communicate better amongst yourselves
Talk to one another about how you are actually going to make this work. Talk among your staff and the community. Get them engaged.
This is expensive and time-consuming. Don’t just talk to those who want to talk to you, but think about how you reach the harder to reach people. Create and sustain networks, because this is how change really happens.
Commandment 4: Thou shalt collaborate more
So it’s all very well engaging people, but then you have to work with them. That’s often not easy because they have their own agendas and their own day jobs and this also takes time and effort.
So a really important part of this is to listen, and think about how you make change happen.
Then enable people and build social capital by creating more supportive infrastructure. Get people to support each other so that you are not doing all the work; this is the meaning of enablement.
Commandment 5: Thou shalt get over thyself
One of the reasons that change does not happen is because we can’t get over ourselves. We need to take a good hard look, find a stupid rule that we have and then break it and come up with a better one.
This is called having “can do” attitude. One of the reasons why things don’t happen is because people come up with arbitrary reasons for them not to. Some reasons are good, but others need to be questioned. So you need to become more responsive, kind and confident. How do we do this?