Shaking up places all over.
Dan Thompson is a troublemaker and placeshaker extraordinaire. Kingpin of Revolutionary Arts, founder of the Empty Shops Network and #wewillgather, started #riotcleanup, author of Pop Up Business For Dummies, award-winner of Coast ‘Unsung Hero’ Award 2011, Twitter’s Top Tweets of 2011, Culture 100 list, Independent Happy List 2012.
While Dan hails from Worthing, he has roots in Bedford. His Granddad, Edward Thompson, was a Bedford man who left our town in search of work, and he walked to Worthing. He ended up a successful local businessman. But what’s happened to Worthing since then, where has the traditional industry gone and what can we replace it with? What does this mean for Worthing, Bedford and other towns in the UK? Our towns need a rethink, with a different way for people to live and work, and placeshaking is the way to do it. For many years, it’s been believed that the way to make a place better is urban regeneration; iconic buildings, big projects and financial investment that fix a place, make it better. This idea of placemaking believes bricks are what make places but while we tinker with placemaking, many of our towns have lost their purpose.
A growing number of people, driven by the failure of big projects to consider people and the way the recession has stalled many projects, are exploring a new idea: Small-scale interventions, DIY urbanism and guerilla regeneration are shaking the foundations, and that’s placeshaking.