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'Open Source' Place-making

'Open Source' Place-making



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Published by David Barrie
Essay arguing for a new approach to the development of real estate, informed by the rise of non-profit enterprise, the internet economy and sustainable development. Commissioned by UK agencies Architecture + Design Scotland and the Scottish Centre for Regeneration, as part of the Sustainable Communities Initiative of the Scottish Government.
Essay arguing for a new approach to the development of real estate, informed by the rise of non-profit enterprise, the internet economy and sustainable development. Commissioned by UK agencies Architecture + Design Scotland and the Scottish Centre for Regeneration, as part of the Sustainable Communities Initiative of the Scottish Government.

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Published by: David Barrie on Nov 04, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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‘Open source’ place-making
There is a growing appetite in industrialised countries orenterprises that merge proft-making with morality and a dramaticrise in the use o digital online technology or social networking.The two trends highlight an increasing attachment to social valuein business and thirst or a new social layer to everyday lie. They mark a change in the way in which we choose to organize and live ourlives, with implications or or-proft and non-proft businesses alike.The two trends recommend a new emphasis in urban policy andplanning towards embracing ‘citizen demand’, aggregating andusing it to make places that unold over time, through programmeso low-cost capital investment.They suggest that there’s value in taking a more interactiveapproach to the design and development o our cities, one gearedto multiple groups, relationships, entrepreneurial networks andmodular use o sites.Think o it as ‘venture urbanism’. Call it ‘open source’ place-making.
Throughout the world, social enterprise is on the rise. Dubbed the new ‘ourth sector’, thishybrid orm o or-proft/non-proft business is orecast to have a global value o over £300bn-a-year within 5-10 years.
Specialist social enterprise fnancial institutions like Charity Bankand Triodos report levels o lending in the frst hal o 2010 equivalent to all o 2009.
This isagainst a backdrop o investment by Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Funds in the UK:an estimated £764bn.
 The political message o the new Coalition Government in the UK is
to put more power andopportunity into people’s hands
, in part by supporting co-operatives, charities and social enter-prises; and by Autumn 2010, a ramework has emerged or this that eatures the rolling back o regional government, ormation o a Big Society Bank, unding support or community organ-izing and promotion o the idea o Open Source Planning.
 Upward trends in obesity, chronic disease and demographic ageing in the industrial countrieshave long drawn attention to the act that the biggest sectors o Western economies by 2020, both by value and employment, will not be cars, ships, steel, computer manuacturing orpersonal fnance but the social sectors o health, education and care.
 The rise o social investment, the policy programme known as ‘Big Society’ and cuts in expend-iture on public management seek to enhance the role o social business in the provision o these services in the UK.
Author — David BarrieSeptember 2010
 David Barrie & Associatesdavidbarrie.typepad.com
project design & delivery creative/economic planningpublic involvementsocial ventures
This essay wascommissioned by 
, Scotland’snational championor good architecture,design and planning inthe built environment.
‘Open source’ place-making
 When linked with the rise o the internet as a model or doing business, a modal shit in demandto localism in response to climate change and increasing awareness o the value o community to sustainable development, a orm o business that promotes people, moral resource and alter-native orms o shareholder value starts to look way more than just ‘avour o the month’.I social enterprise is to assume a greater role in the supply o public goods and services, howmight it change the way in which we deliver a key public service: the built environment?
As social enterprise has grown around the world, an army o new entrepreneurs has amassed inthe shadows o the ‘creative class’ o proessionals, knowledge workers and ‘Bobos’ championed by real estate developers and city administrators in their bid to turn around post-industrial cities.
 This is an army that is committed to what Jerr Boschee, President and CEO o the Social Enter-prise Alliance in the United States calls
merging the prot motive and moral imperative
– and they are oot-soldiers to a cause that is an hybrid o capitalism and ethics, rather than economicclustering, Richard Florida’s ‘Gay Index’ or the capacity o culture, principally the visual artsand the excess capital that ollows it, to re-purpose redundant urban environment.
 According to Boschee, an early explosion o activity took place across the United States in the1970s and 1980s,
as entrepreneurs, small businesses and major corporations discovered social marketsand started social enterprises
, and they were inspired by isolated incidents o private sectorcorporations addressing social need:
They began to run adult day-care centres; educational programs for small children, high-school drop-outs, and adult students; low-cost housing projects; vocational training and job-placement efforts;home-care services for the disabled and elderly; hospice care; outpatient mental-health and rehabilita-tion services; prisons; wind farms; psychiatric and substance-abuse centres; and dozens of other busi-nesses that delivered products and services previously provided by non-prots or government agencies.
The response o agencies in the United States at the time was to push more o the responsibil-ity or meeting social needs on to the non-proft sector, while simultaneously slashing ederaland state unding or human services.In the UK, a country with a powerul tradition o mutualism and state provision but weak cul-ture o philanthropy, a similar but less rapid and individuated trend has taken place. In recenttimes, it has witnessed the trebling in value o the charities sector, the rise o developmenttrusts to support regeneration and renewal – or example, the Royds Community Association– social enterprise provision o social care – or example, Turning Point – the birth o social businesses such as the Big Issue, ethical attractions such as the Eden Project and the osteringo devolved neighbourhood and community schemes by municipal authorities.
Social entrepreneurs such as John Bird, ounder o the Big Issue and Jamie Oliver, co-oundero the Fiteen chain o training restaurants have become lions o popular culture – with anemphasis upon them as charismatics, rather than CEOs like Georey Canada o HarlemChildren’s Zone in the United States.
 Ideas or social business grown in the UK have been successully exported abroad – with versions o the Big Issue now available in nine countries around the world and The Hub,
a multi-sited incubator for social innovation
, in twelve.
 If social enterprise isto assume a greater role in the supplyof public goodsand services, howmight it change theway in which wedeliver a key publicservice: the builtenvironment?
‘Open source’ place-making
In parallel with growing numbers o new social businesses in the UK, there has been agrowing inuence o ‘citizen-driven partnership’ as an alternative to the central designand delivery o governmental services.
 Certain policy thinkers have had a key inuence upon this, such as Proessor StephenGoldsmith at Harvard Kennedy School, sociologist Amitai Etzioni, economist Richard Thaler,David Halpern o the Institute or Government, Geo Mulgan o the Young Foundation and writer Charles Leadbeater.
Initiatives that emphasise community involvement have captured the public imagination,such as Time Banking UK and The Big Lunch.
 Public institutions and Government have been impressed by the participation o people inthe social sector in initiatives such as the Balsall Heath Forum, Southwark Circle, Teach First,NHS Choices and the St Giles Trust.
 With a persistent lack o trust in politics, social problems, inequality and unprecedentedchallenges to public fnance, these initiatives and others have impressed strategists inpublic policy and emphasised the value o user-driven and user-ocussed involvement asorces or change.This has been accompanied by an ideological shit in political culture away rom socialsecurity to ‘social productivity’: a trend emphasised by the new Coalition Government andits proposals to limit benefts, implement ‘open source’ planning, introduce ‘social income bonds’, support public sector co-operatives, boost volunteering and turn the ‘civil service’in to the ‘civic service’.
 The rise o social enterprise and ‘social productivity’ has important implications orregeneration and renewal in the UK. They prioritise human relationships, transactions o social, not just commercial value and shit the narrative o renewal rom the provision o space to services, with sites acting as places that enable change, rather than dictate them via a masterplan.
 The rise o social enterprise and ‘social productivity’ presses or a new narrative in urbandevelopment; but beore opening up this story, there’s a parallel phenomenon in contemporary culture that needs to be considered.
The appetite is insatiable just now or using the internet or social networking and as a toolor creating ertile communities and new entrepreneurial networks.At present, there are 51m users o the internet in the UK – 82% o the population. One in every our and a hal minutes spent by people online is on social networks and blog sites. In July 2010, the social networking website Facebook passed its 500 millionth user – 24.2m in the UK Five o the ten astest-growing online brands over the last year in the UK, in terms o uniqueaudience, relate to social and proessional networking. A new member joins the business-orientated site LinkedIn approximately every second.
The rise of socialenterprise and‘social productiv-ity’ has importantimplications for regeneration andrenewal in the UK 

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