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Place-based development Placemaking as an economic development strategy, also called place-based economic development, is the practice of using a community’s public amenities to make economic progress. This approach focuses on the unique features of particular places, building on existing assets, and using them to attract new investment and strengthen existing businesses. Placemaking as an economic development strategy is particularly relevant in today’s age of globalism. Jobs tied to this form of economic development are tied directly to specific places, and therefore cannot be outsourced.

Primer on Place-Based Development

Sean Markey, 2010

Place-based development, in contrast to conventional sectoral, programmatic or issue-defined perspectives, is a holistic and targeted intervention that seeks to reveal, utilize and enhance the unique natural, physical, and/or human capacity endowments present within a particular location for the development of the in-situ community and/or its biophysical environment.

The ascendancy of place within the context of rural development reflects Massey’s (1984) work, which recognizes that combinations of assets, populations, histories, and circumstances mean that general processes are always modified by the matrix of place. This contextual turn is found in a variety of ongoing rural research themes, including post-productivism, conceptualizations of the role of competitiveness within the new economy, and the adoption of a territorial, rather than sector-based, orientation to rural policy development. Each of these themes provides insight into the role and meaning of place within the rural development process.

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(Re)appraising place-based economic development strategies

Lee Pugalis, Gill Bentley (2014)

The place-based approach to local and regional development is a potentially significant emergent paradigm, which is finding favour across different supranational institutions, national-legal contexts, regional jurisdictions, as well as numerous other socio-spatial formations. With some strong affiliations to European policy discourse, place-based narratives have also permeated, mutated and circulated around other places and policy spaces throughout the globe.

Consequently, it has been the subject of academic, policy and even popular debate. It is therefore timely to (re)appraise the thinking and practice of place-based approaches. This editorial introduces and outlines the body of empirical and conceptual work in the 19 contributions from across the world in this special issue of Local Economy. The articles, individually and collectively, indicate some of the potentialities of contextually distinct place-based approaches,  although different (supposedly) place-based variants do not escape critique. This provokes a stark warning that the policy appeal of place-based thinking and place-based narratives could inadvertently nullify its emancipatory feature: that context of place matters.

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