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Local Regeneration and Community Wealth Building Place Making: Co-Operatives as Agents of Change.

Webster, Anth0ny and Kuznetsova, Olga and Ross, Cilla and Berranger, Cécile and Booth, Michelle and Eseonu, Temidayo and Golan, Yaron (2021) Local Regeneration and Community Wealth Building Place Making: Co-Operatives as Agents of Change. Journal of Place Management and Development. ISSN 1753-8335


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Purpose This paper aims to provide an introduction to how worker co-operatives and other organisations based on principles of the participatory economy have been adopted in a range of international contexts as a vehicle for transforming places with a strong aspiration to address location-specific social challenges. Design/methodology/approach Through a presentation of four narrative cases, the paper exemplifies international experiences of co-operative approaches to place-making. It critically reflects on the philosophical and strategic underpinnings of the projects implemented in Rochdale, Preston, Bologna, Rome and Cincinnati. Findings The practical experiences of a number of local projects of place-making involving co-operatives are conceptualised. The research has identified the importance of institutional, organisational and legal constraints for transformative cooperative-based place-making initiatives. It shows a strong relevance of the place’s historic legacy and communal governance for the choice of place-making approaches. Research limitations/implications Further investigation is needed to establish whether co-operatives have the same driving force potential in terms of local regeneration and community wealth building place-making in non-Western contexts and less developed locations. Practical implications The paper highlights cases that incorporate place-making practices involving the co-operative organisation and municipal participation and considers their transferability potential. Originality/value The paper advances an important conversation relevant to researchers, educators, co-operators, politicians and local officials on diverse contemporary approaches in towns and cities that seek to reshape and regenerate local socio-economic fabric by engaging tradition, principles and organisation models developed within the co-operative movement.

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