Leading-edge urban development advocates from the Netherlands and the United States are to share learning on the innovative, ground-up solutions being generated to the challenges that towns face today. 

Delegates at Scotland’s biggest gathering of town stakeholders will hear from Geurt Grosfeld, Managing Director, The Embassy for Creative Affairs, and Rob St Mary, Director of Outreach, Patronicity, Detroit.

Scotland’s Towns Conference takes place on 21st November in Paisley Town Hall, and all those with a stake in Scotland’s towns and city districts are strongly encouraged to attend. Book here today!

Lessons on Community Resilience

Geurt Grosfeld will give a keynote talk, ‘From Communities to the United Nations: Reinventing Places from the Ground Up’. This will explore the links between local action and international strategies, and the emerging lessons on community resilience in a period of change, with Geurt stating:

“It may sound a bit contradictory, communities from the ground up and the United Nations. Yet, nowadays our towns and cities are multi-layered, every layer having its own speed, language, economy, culture and needs”.

“How equipped are our traditional towns and cities for this complexity? Where do we find resilient communities? What can we learn from them? The transformation from old towns to new towns is not only a matter of updating, it concerns major improvements. The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations help to keep a clear view on the future of our towns and their communities”.

Describing themselves as ‘creative doers’, The Embassy for Creative Affairs is an internationally connected, independent network of communities, bringing together high tech and high touch; social values and technology; and providing new perspectives.

From its base in the province of Noord-Brabant, it is linked into the global Districts of Creativity Network which unites 13 of the most creative and innovative regions around the world (including Scotland) to share practices on harnessing the power of creativity. It’s project work relates to regional social issues, the EU Urban Agenda and the Global Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

Emerging Fundraising Models

Attendees will also hear from Rob St Mary of Patronicity, on how this innovative platform is harnessing public, private and social buy-in to transform communities in Michigan State and beyond.

Rob writes of the project,

“Patronicity is a tech startup based in Detroit focused on using crowdfunding as a way to improve community through developing events, businesses, and arts. Since mid-2014, the platform has helped to raise over $8m for community efforts throughout Detroit and the State of Michigan. Patronicity has also worked with grant agencies to help provide matching dollars to leverage crowdfunding's potential for social good. Similar statewide programs have also been created in Massachusetts and Indiana”. 

You can also check out this short video case study, "Public Spaces, Community Places", about Patronicity’s partnership with Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

Key features of Scotland’s Towns Conference

  •  Leading speakers on place-making, towns and heritage, including Rob St Mary (Director of Outreach, Patronicity, Detroit), Kevin Stewart MSP (Minister for Local Government and Housing, Scottish Government), Sandra Black (Chief Executive, Renfrewshire Council & Board Member, Paisley 2021), Riddell Graham (Director of Partnerships, VisitScotland) and many more. 
  • Guided walking tour of Paisley’s strategic activity areas; learn about the regeneration strategy of Scotland’s finalist to UK City of Culture 2021.
  • 'Back to the Future' town centre innovation labs; "Tourism in our Towns" and "Digital Future Proofing" with VisitScotland, BT Scotland and CityFibre.
  • Networking, marketplace and cultural performances.
  • Competition exhibitions: Most Beautiful High Street winner announcement, and FutureTown Design Competition exhibition and voting. 

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