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Regeneration Insights

Interesting day, running a workshop with 60 or so people on community regeneration, with a wide ranging audience including architects, engineers, Communities Firsts workers, national park authority staff and many others.

There have been a few interesting themes:

  • Regeneration is often needed because local economies have collapsed - yet business wasn't mentioned by anyone.
  • There is still a focus on finding more money - government funding etc, rather than finding ways of getting regeneration to happen through social enterprises and socially minded business.
  • On networking, there was an emphasis on the need for bringing people together around a purpose - this feels like a fundamentally short-term approach, as the real richness happens way beyond the boundaries of 'working the room' - and goes way beyond the 'importance of group dynamics' as mentioned.
  • Networking happens best when people have got something interesting to say - which is when people will pass your contacts on to someone else. Evidence of networking in a much wider way can be found in bucket-loads at events such as the Do Lectures, where farmers rub shoulders with students, digital designers, content managers, politicians, engineers, architects, artists and musicians.
  • Phil Roberts, an experienced architect with common sense coarsing through his veins, talked about the importance of looking much more intelligently at the way we source materials, boosting the proportion of locally sourced materials.

It seems that it's easy to lose sight about whether the name of the game is engagement, or sustainability, empowerment, or something else. Our goal should surely be thriveability - finding ways for communities to thrive, develop and become self-sustaining.

If we start focusing on solving common problems with a degree of innovation that's currently missing, then regeneration will be self-starting.


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