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September 15, 2005 || 5:54 pm
And another report...

Another week, another Demos report. This time its on 'People making Places', paid for by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Again, it is another worthy retelling of the old tale that it's actually the way that people use places that make them successful, and this has to do with the way they are programmed and managed, not just how pretty they are. Well I never.

David Wilcox blogs it aptly:
The issue in many of the areas researched by JRF these days is not so much knowing the problem, but getting the public agencies who can do something about it engaged and working together. I fear that the more research you produce, the more Government and other agencies can say - "ah yes, we know about that and are working on a comprehensive strategy".

I.e.: less research, more action. Or maybe, action research - that idea so novel that the guy who coined the term died in 1947. At the Rural Studio, each team every year learns exactly the lessons that this (and every other public space report) puts out, simply by actually trying to do something on the ground. And hey, at the end of the year, the community has four or five new buildings to use, too! Our thinktanks might come up with more radical conclusions if their researchers actually tried to implement a real, built project on the ground.

And if our think-tanks and public agencies continue to lack the action streak, well, lets do it ourselves, rather than whinge about how useless they are.

[Note to Demos: I'm not picking on you in particular. But as you've put yourselves in the field of doing a lot of work around issues that I'm interested in, you are opening yourselves to critique. But I mean for this to be a more generalised criticism of the system of thinktanks/researchers/endless policy recommendations that all say the same thing, when perhaps that money should be spent more fruitfully by implementing actual projects, rather than talking about it. Just in case you flame me like last time...)

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