All places need to enable local supply chains and marketplaces where local authorities, businesses and organisations can capture more of the local value from smart working. The Scottish Government’s pilot smarter choices smarter places programme was pulled many ways by the narrower interests of environmentalism, active travel promotion, town centre regeneration and public transport improvements, all of which may be good things in themselves but which could be so much better if delivered as part of a more co-ordinated approach. Nevertheless the pilot programme did succeed in joining the dots. Successful approaches to achieve this were demonstrated by enabling better two way communication between delivery agencies and local populations securing broader environmental, economic and social improvements.
The fastest growing businesses are global reflecting the opportunities available at scale. To create better places, successful globalisation needs to be matched with successful localism. This involves, individuals and businesses becoming more social, and local authorities working with the grain of their local societies, respecting both diversity and consensus. In the absence of this local placemaking, some local places are struggling. International companies like Google and Amazon often now know more about some residents of Scottish places than their local authority or local shops.
Industry has been good at adding value through larger scale production and consumption, but the subtleties of adding local value require more personalised local relationships between providers and users. Successful globalisation needs to be matched with successful localism. In a smart place, individuals and businesses become more social, and local authorities start to work with the grain of local society, respecting both diversity and consensus. Some local places are struggling as international companies like Google and Amazon now know more about some residents of Scottish places than their local authority or local shops. Online social networking services have proved to be successful tools for local networking showing that the new technology is more of an opportunity than a threat.
With a new programme of smarter choices smarter places just starting in Scotland the pull to use this funding for narrow programmes is strong. If this programme is to create better places then all of the local society, not just a few activists, need to be engaged in supporting the steps each person can take to improve their local place. This needs a big change in direction for some of the planned investment. The opportunities from sustainable development unlocked through smarter places should be some orders of magnitude greater than attempting to squeeze more value from top down efficiencies driven from economies of scale.
For more information about DHC’s 18 years of experience in this field pioneering in the mid 1990s jobseeker travel to work schemes and safer routes to school project to today’s leading technology enabled approaches contact one of the team.