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Decline narratives and the power of the public realm

Visible decline of the public realm can describe a number of things. It takes in local issues, like boarded up houses, empty shops or closing pubs, as well challenges like anti-social behaviour and littering. And it relates to other problems too, like traffic, green space and air quality.

Our research generally shows that these types of issue, varied as they are, can all feed into lower resilience. A feeling that the immediate community is in decline reduces trust – in decision-makers and each other – and amplifies suspicion of change and difference.


At this event we explored this. What works when it comes to stimulating pride in the public realm? How can specific approaches – be they grass roots arts projects or strategic initiatives by the local authority – make a difference?

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