Debate 24 - People or place

Monday, January 24th, 2005 | Debates

Can the concept of physical capital help determine what makes a great neighbourhood? The ODPM and Treasury have been considering how to measure the benefit of public investment in the Urban Renaissance and Sustainable Communities — who benefits and how. ODPM, Yorkshire Forward and CABE held a workshop on the Economic Case for Investment in ‘Quality of Place’ on 25 November 2004. CABE commissioned two think pieces from Geoff Mulgan and Francois Matarasso (Comedia), which formed the basis of this debate.

The Fabric of Visions; a reflection on the democratic potential of physical capital has been prepared by Matarasso and Public Value, Physical Capital and the Potential of Value Maps has been prepared by Dr Geoff Mulgan, formerly of the Cabinet Office and now Director of the Institute of Community Studies and Visiting Professor at LSE.



Matarasso writes, “Physical capital is one element of an interdependent group of resources which contribute to social change and economic development.” It is but one element of the Asset Pentagon of Human, Natural, Financial, Physical and Social Capitals, but how useful is the concept for us today in pursuit of the holy grail of the Sustainable Community? Chris Murray presented thoughts from the Matarasso paper.

Alternatively, one might ask “What is the game plan for the nation?” Recent Edge debates were informed by the work of Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) and the concept of creating environments for cross-fertilization and provided a useful counterpoint.

The debate was chaired by Robin Nicholson, Edward Cullinan Architects.

Speaker 1: Dr Geoff Mulgan (pdf)

Institute of Community Studies, formerly at No 10.

Speaker 2: Adam Poole (pdf)

Construction industry lobbyist, africanist and bid consultant

Speaker 3: Chris Murray (pdf)

Director of Learning and Development, CABE

Notes from the debate

Issues arising from the debate

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