Making Local Strategies Work, Jonathan Potter

Labour markets operate over ever larger spatial areas as mobility
increases and as the distance that people can commute grows ever longer.
This represents an issue of growing importance in determining objectives for
local development strategies. It means that local areas need to be well
connected to employment nodes and that their residents may need to be
prepared to travel further than in the past in order to access jobs that lie
considerable distances away. This may in part be a question of improving
public transport links, but may also be a matter of encouraging people to
overcome any reluctance to consider working outside their immediate
neighbourhood. For example, in many “traditional” industrial areas work
was literally to be found on the doorstep since factories and houses were
intermingled in a single neighbourhood and workers could walk short
distances to work. Many such areas no longer have local jobs since factories
have closed. Even where there are adequate transport links between the
home and the workplace, there is sometimes a psychological barrier to be
overcome in persuading local residents to look for work outside their
neighbourhood rather than attempting to provide new jobs locally.
Conversely, the challenge may be to persuade potential employers, who may
“red-line” neighbourhoods that are thought to house unreliable or “difficult”
residents, to offer jobs to people from such areas. Overcoming these kinds of


The ultimate objective of any local development strategy must be to
overcome the weaknesses and build on potential strengths of target areas.
Well-defined objectives need to prompt focused efforts to create, maintain
and/or improve economic and social conditions of a location, whether for an
underperforming area or for an already steadily growing local economy.
In considering what may be the most appropriate objectives for local
development strategies and interventions, policy makers and practitioners
participating to the process face two main questions:
1. Understanding the origin and nature of the economic challenges
confronting such areas.
2. Considering the types of intervention that might be most relevant.
Gaining agreement about objectives is a process that requires, but does not
always receive, considerable attention, reflecting a number of obstacles:
• The situation is often complex and this leads to the impression that it is
too difficult to determine priorities.
• Strategies may conflict across different agencies or spatial scales.
• Residents and/or businesses may have different priorities.
• It is difficult to get the private sector on board.
• It may be perceived that the strategy can only tackle the supply-side
issues – the market determines demand.
• Monitoring and evaluation are considered as unnecessary and premature
and the whole exercise as too bureaucratic.
• There is no clear understanding of the need for a specific development
strategy when the local area is already prosperous.
This chapter will address some of these issues and show which activities are
important in arriving at appropriate objectives. Some of the responses to the
list of the obstacles may include:


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.