Place Governance: Testing the Limits of Localism

When it comes to public space, neighborhood residents are too often removed from the stewardship of the places they share, with responsibility for management divided between government agencies with narrow objectives. Transportation agencies control traffic; planners allocate building use and density; parks departments resist new uses that could lead to greater risks or costs, and so on. While this “turf” mentality in government has often inhibited the genuine stewardship of places, many placemakers from around the world are at the forefront of inventing new models of Place Governance that test the limits of localism, exploring how and how far we can devolve governmental powers and responsibilities.

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