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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 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 information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 492 361 27
PDF Downloads 250 177 23