The community leadership and place-shaping roles of english local government: Synergy or tension?

Adrian Madden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


'Community leadership' and 'place-shaping' embody the outward-facing orientation of English local government to engage local communities in deliberative governance. The apparent synergies between them suggest they might be complementary roles yet one emphasizes 'sense of direction' while the other stresses 'sense of place'. What do they mean in practice? Evidence of the impact of community leadership since 2000 suggests the engagement of communities into community governance spaces such as Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) has been partially successful. Rather than empowering participation in governance spaces, community power has been concentrated into the hands of political and managerial elites. Policy statements since 2006 have emphasized a need for councils to exert strong local leadership. Do community leadership and place-shaping provide a complementary governance framework, or does place-shaping indicates a shift away from a normative and problematic model of community empowerment? Using Bourdieu's notion of the social space, this article considers the nature of 'governance space' and its role in a changing model of community governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-193
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Community governance
  • Community leadership
  • Place-shaping

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