Local Government Officers, Pragmatism and Creativity during Austerity – The case of Urban Green Newcastle

Daly, Siobhan, Chapman, Rachael and Pegan, Andreja (2023) Local Government Officers, Pragmatism and Creativity during Austerity – The case of Urban Green Newcastle. Local Government Studies. ISSN 0300-3930 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/03003930.2023.2179995


In the UK during austerity non-statutory services such as parks have been subject to funding cuts. Local governments face pressures to identify transformative financial solutions to parks provision and to protect parks as public spaces. Yet, how local government officers tackle the problem(s) of parks and balance these demands is under-explored. This article discusses how local government officers led the transfer of Newcastle upon Tyne’s parks from local government to a new entity, Urban Green Newcastle (UGN) a charity and company limited by guarantee. Working within a project framework and across the local authority, as well as in consultation with the public, we show how local government officers crafted narratives to legitimise their work and to provide an ex-post rationalisation for: (i) the need to act creatively; (ii) the changes to democratic accountability and control in the new model; and (iii) the risks involved in creating UGN. The article deepens our understanding of the agency of local government officers during austerity via its attention to legitimisation narratives. More specifically, for the first time in debates about parks, we show how local government officers contribute to the (re)conception of parks as public spaces through the negotiation of alternative narratives of parks management, governance, and democratic accountability.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The work was supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 [770591].
Uncontrolled Keywords: Austerity, Parks, Agency, Local Government
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
L900 Others in Social studies
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2023 11:01
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2023 15:12
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/51310

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