A Futurist’s Solution to City Transformation Part 1 The Good Old Ways

Many years ago I was studying Asian Studies which is a cross-disciplinary studies including nation constructing and deconstructing.  I studied History, Economics, and politics and religion as part of Asian Studies as well as an Asian language.  For me this was a continuation of a long journey of seeking why people think the way they do.  My entire life I felt almost an objective observer of life outside and around me and that I could choose to engage or ponder changes.  2020 has been many things including a year of constant changes in the way we do life.

In recent years shopping centres have at times become the hub of the community with their creating attractive spaces for a wide cross-section of the community to gather.  On a trip to Perth, Western Australia, a few years ago I visited a shopping centre frequented by my parents.  It had a new lease of life with a trendy outdoor area, markets, outdoor entertainment supporting local talent and raising awareness of local issues, on this day homelessness.  Wow!  So, the community place making spaces have often become the domain of the local shopping precinct or what are sometimes called Living Centres.

Fast forward a few years to the third quarter of 2020, shopping centres have seen a reduction in occupancy rates, decrease in retail sales to the extent that even the biggest and/or most successful centres have been unable to continue to serve their customers in the way they used to.  Coupled with the even more pronounced move to shopping online, their must be a better way.

There is a better way.  Strategic Social Enterprise (SSE) or Social Enterprise Evolve (SEE) which must include a winsome advantage.  I have written extensively on this topic in a 9 part blog series – SEE Your Way to a Better World.

Some companies have been doing a great job at their Corporate Social Responsibility or sustainability models, however I challenge them for 2020 and beyond that the good old ways are no longer enough! 

So what do we at Imagineering 2 a Better World see as the solution.  Firstly, it must be about bringing together a broad cross-section of the community into the consultative process from the

  • Arts and Entertainment sectors
  • Business, the economy, and banking (from small, medium, and big business)
  • Church and other religions
  • Digital, Print, and other Media
  • Education at various levels – students, teachers, and leaders
  • Family represented by community workers
  • Government at local, state and federal levels
  • Community policing representatives

This need not be long and tedious.  It could be driven from a central space where there could be invitations to one central Imagineering session to inspire and facilitate interactive workshop/s to identify a common vision for a better world for the area in focus.  Then choose a few key goals and work together to create simple plans within a specified time-frame to move forward toward that vision. 

Expected outcomes as a minimum would include collaboration with local business groups such as the local chamber of commerce, rather than the current tenants of the shopping precinct.  This may even include bilateral councils depending on the composition of the locale.  From statistics prior to COVID, it would be reasonably be expected that 44 % of customers would be employed by small businesses then add to that those employed by medium enterprises the percentage increases to 68%.

(source: https://www.asbfeo.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/ASBFEO-small-business-counts2019.pdf)

The complications of the response to the Corona Virus has resulted in mass job losses, underemployment, loss of business income and closure of businesses.  Many of these statistics are obscured as we are still in the artificially propped up phase of the job keeper program.  The bottom line is much of the population is struggling to pay their base bills, it seems probable that mass bankruptcies of individuals, organisations and even countries must follow in the next few years.

However there is a better way, where we can come together and support the various sectors in society especially the small business sector thus the customers in these shopping precincts as this has been the major employer of local residents / rate payers in general.  Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will drill down into the winsome advantage to city transformation via Strategic Social Enterprise.

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To see how we can help you, contact us.  In the initial stages it may be via hosting an Imagineering 2 a Better World think tank session with key stakeholders, then it could be working with you to create a detailed SMART plan to achieve your vision/s.  Consulting is also available to come alongside your organisation to completion of the vision/s.

to see the blog series https://imagineering2abetterworld.com/blog-series-a-futurists-solution/

or Social Enterprise Evolve blog series

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