Regaining confidence and a sense of self

The first step in getting a city back on its feet is to regain a sense of self, and psychological factors play an important role. Change processes initially cause places to lose their self-confidence as those things that are distinctive about them and the tried and tested ways of doing things are shown not to work. This might range from industrial decline, the loss of services or the brain drain of the more gifted leaving town. Gijon in Spain took two decades to regain some confidence after the loss of its shipyards, coal industry and role as a port city; Glasgow's re-emergence from its slow decline stretched many decades, as did that of Pittsburgh.

Unless cities have that rare 'can do' attitude or have reestablished a new position, they will tend to suffer from a culture of constraint. This is because the public and private bureaucracies, the organizational form that changes most slowly, will be holding things back. A sense of needing to ask for permission to do things will prevail over an attitude that says 'go for it', which means accepting some mistakes and being aware of the distinction between competent failure (good, trying hard, learning from mistakes) and incompetent failure. Normally, unconfident places focus too intensely on the detail rather than the bigger picture. Effecting the necessary psychological change can happen through shock, seduction or vision. Shock, such as a major employer going under, can stun and deflate. Clearly, preventative approaches, such as having a vision or taking global dynamics into account, are better. A vision needs to touch people individually and viscerally. The strategies that hang off this vision need to ensure a city has a 21st-century soft and hard infrastructure. The hard concerns - airports, rail, roads and IT - and the soft - the collaborations and connective tissue that makes a city work, as well as atmosphere - must both be in place, but building confidence is key. This requires a strategy of smaller, well-judged risks and the occasional imaginative leap with investment to match, so that momentum is built by achieving step-by-step successes.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment