Navigating the rapids of urban development: lessons from the Biospheric Foundation, Salford

Perry, B; Walsh, V & Barlow, C (2017) ‘Navigating the rapids of urban development: lessons from the Biospheric Foundation, Salford’. In Henneberry, J. (Ed) Transience and Permanence in Urban Development. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp.85-101.

Publication type
Book chapter
Beth Perry Vincent Walsh Catherine Barlow
Published year



Localised experiments have the potential to reshape cities in prefiguring the realisation of greater ecological and social justice. These experiments are not without their challenges as community entrepreneurs seek to navigate the rapids of urban development and mitigate the tensions that emerge in the movement from vision to practice. In responding to the call for more practice‐based examples, this chapter offers the experiences of the Biospheric Foundation in East Salford, UK, as an instructive case for revealing the challenges of urban socio‐ecological experimentation. A prefigurative vision to deliver food justice is contrasted with the day‐to‐day narrative of dealing with embedded city network configurations, limited by the fundamentally temporary nature of the experiment within mainstream urban development plans. The key lesson to be learned is the critical extent to which the success of localised experiments depends equally on the mundanity of governance and business planning, as on entrepreneurship and vision.

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