In Bearing, we often talk about place managers and how important they are in creating prosperity and growth for their local place. Place managers should be pragmatic problem solvers who focus on getting the job done.
Key place managers are the mayors, politicians and and civil servants who have the formal responsibility to run a place, but in a sense we are all place managers. We are devoted to “our” place or places. We develop deep relationships to some places where we have lived as residents, where we have stayed as tourists or where we have worked or invested time and perhaps even capital.
Place managers can be anonymous individuals, active ambassadors for the place, business leaders with promising ideas for the place, family members with a pro-place attitude, city planners in the town hall or official icons linked to the place. What connects them is a commitment in the “place DNA”, the challenges and perhaps even a limited number of actions which might improve the place position. The potential impact of these individuals is immense.
To political theorist Benjamin Barber, it often seems like nation and federal-level politicians care more about creating gridlock than solving the world’s problems. So who is actually getting bold things done? He argues that it should be the obvious place manager, the city mayor. In the TED-talk below, Barber argues we should give the city mayors more control over global policy. It is a bold speech with a powerful message.