Place-based collaboration: Leadership for a changing world

Open access


Placeless power, meaning the exercise of power by decision-makers who are unconcerned about the impact of their decisions on communities living in particular places, has grown significantly in the last thirty years. A consequence is that societies are becoming more unequal. Even in the wealthy global cities modern capitalism is increasing inequality at a formidable rate. In a new book the author provides an international, comparative analysis of the efforts being made by place-based leaders to create inclusive, sustainable cities. This article draws on the evidence presented in the book to suggest that place-based leaders can play a significant role in advancing social justice, promoting care for the environment and bolstering community empowerment. An opening section introduces the idea of place-based power, providing a context for the subsequent discussion. A second section sets out a new way of conceptualising the roles of place-based leaders in any given context, a framework described as the New Civic Leadership. This distinguishes five different realms of civic leadership. The third section provides an example of place-based leadership in action. It outlines the way local leadership has brought about a remarkable transformation of the central area of Melbourne, Australia. A final section presents a comparative discussion of three themes relating to place-based leadership and local collaboration: (i) the changing possibilities for place-based leadership in our rapidly globalising world, (ii) the need for outward-facing local government leadership given the changing nature of public policy challenges and (iii) the role of place-based leadership in bringing about radical public innovation.

Balducci, A., & Mantysalo, R. (Eds) (2013). Urban planning as a trading zone. New York: Springer.

Berners-Lee, M., & Clark, D. (2013). The burning question. We can’t burn half the world’s oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit? London: Profile Books.

Boone, C. G., & Modarres, A. (2006). City and environment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Bulkeley, H. (2013). Cities and climate change. Abingdon: Routledge.

Denters, B., & Rose, L. E. (Eds) (2005). Comparing local governance: Trends and developments. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. (2012). Putting people first: Action programme for effective local government. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Droege, P. (2006). The renewable city. Chichester: Wiley.

Elkington, J. (1997). Cannibals with forks. The triple bottom line of 21st century business. Oxford: Capstone Publishing Limited.

Fainstein, S. S. (2010). The just city. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Ferman, B. (1985). Governing the ungovernable city. Political skill, leadership and the modern mayor. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Flanagan, R. M. (2004). Mayors and the challenges of urban leadership. Lanham MD: University Press of America.

Flint, J., & Raco, M. (Eds) (2012). The future of sustainable cities. Critical reflections. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Girardet, H. (2008). Cities, people, planet. Urban development and climate change (2nd ed.). Chichester: John Wiley.

Hambleton, R. (2007). New leadership for democratic urban space. In R. Hambleton & J. S. Gross (Eds), Governing cities in a global era. Urban innovation, competition and democratic reform (pp. 163–76). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave.

Hambleton, R. (2009). Civic leadership for Auckland. An international perspective. Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, 4 (11), 515–52.

Hambleton, R. (2015). Leading the inclusive city. Place-based innovation for a bounded planet. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Hambleton, R., & Howard, J. (2012). Public sector innovation and local leadership in the UK and the Netherlands. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Harvey, D. (2012). Rebel cities. From the right to the city to the urban revolution. London: Verso.

Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice and loyalty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hoggett, P. (2009). Politics, emotion and identity. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

Hopkins, R. (2011). The transition companion. Making your community more resilient in uncertain times. Totnes: Green Books.

Illsley, B., Jackson, T., Curry, J., & Rapaport E. (2010). Community involvement in the soft spaces of planning. International Planning Studies, 15 (4), 303–19.

Jackson, T. (2009). Prosperity without growth. Economics for a finite planet. London: Earthscan.

Kahane, A. (2004). Solving tough problems. An open way of talking, listening and creating new realities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Kantor, P., Lefevre, C., Saito, A., Savitch, H. V., & Thornley, A. (2012). Struggling giants. City-region governance in London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Keohane, N. O. (2010). Thinking about leadership. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lefevre, C. (2010). The improbable metropolis: Decentralisation, local democracy and metropolitan areas in the Western world. Analise Social, XLV (197), 623–37.

Lewis, M., & Conaty, P. (2012). The resilience imperative. Cooperative transitions to a steady-state economy. Canada: New Society Publishers.

Monaghan, P. (2012). How local resilience creates sustainable societies. Hard to make, hard to break. Abingdon: Routledge.

Newman, P., Beatley, T., & Boyer, H. (2009). Resilient cities. Responding to peak oil and climate change. Washington DC: Island Press.

Newman, P., & Jennings, I. (2008). Cities as sustainable ecosystems. Principles and practices. Washington DC: Island Press.

Oliver, B., & Pitt, B. (2013). Engaging communities and service users. Context, themes and methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Parkin, S. (2010). The positive deviant. Sustainability leadership in a perverse world. London: Earthscan.

Pearson, L. J., Newton, P. W., & Roberts, P. (Eds) (2014). Resilient sustainable cities. A future. Abingdon: Routledge.

Peterson, P. E. (1981). City limits. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Savitch, H. V., & Kantor, P. (2002). Cities in the international marketplace. The political economy of urban development in North America and Western Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Skelcher, C., Sullivan, H., & Jeffares, S. (2013). Hybrid governance in European cities. Neighbourhood, migration and democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Tiebout, C. M. (1956). A pure theory of local expenditures. Journal of Political Economy, 44, 414–24.


Journal of the Institute of Public Administration of Ireland

Journal Information

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 269 209 16
PDF Downloads 165 147 10