Austerity is increasing pressure on local authorities to reorganise the delivery of services and the management of public assets. Community Asset Transfer (CAT) is one response to this situation where the management and/or ownership of public assets, such as community centres and sports clubs, are transferred from local authorities to local communities. While some recent work has explored the mechanisms of CAT (See Aiken et al., 2011, Murtagh, 2015), there has been little debate on the way these public assets provide opportunities for the practice of transformative local governance and the creation of new public space.
This research draws on literature that calls for an open exploration of the actual practices of localism to identify and acknowledge the emergence of outward looking practices (See Featherstone et al., 2012, Williams et al., 2014), where working within the system can be considered as a strategy to effect social change. I aim to analyse the structure of production and resulting use of these spaces through quantitative mapping and intensive qualitative interviewing to develop an understanding of practice. This project contributes to the wider issues of community development and citizen participation in the production of the city.