Media, Community Involvement in Town Renewal Is Great

Town Haul seems like a fine idea. [“Who Will Clean Up Once Town Haul Leaves?”] Who says that it’s all image and gloss? Who knows if anything would have happened to make Jeffersonville a bright and livable place, unless the TV producers had stepped in? I’m a TV producer running a project in the UK that’s improving a town. It will be the subject of a series of TV shows in 2006, four years after it started.

We have top class architects, planners, and public space experts involved in the process—people like landscape designer Martha Schwartz and Danish public space guru Jan Gehl. Over four thousand local people have gotten involved to turn the town into a more livable, prosperous place. Everyone involved would agree—including the community, local government, and agencies who supported us to the tune of $11 million—that if the TV hadn’t taken an interest, the process would have been less dynamic. We have run a process that is independent of past structures of renewal, and has enabled the community to become engaged in improving their town without institutional baggage.

Media involvement in the renewal of a town has acted as culture-led regeneration. Private investors have now pledged to invest over $150 million in retail and residential development, citing media interest in the town as a big vote of confidence. It takes all sorts of things to make the world a better, brighter, more prosperous place.

David Barrie
Executive Director, The Castleford Project
Executive Producer, Talkback Thames
London, U.K.

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