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The 10 Commandments of Regeneration

The 10 Commandments of Regeneration

Director Ben Reynolds was invited to speak at yesterday’s Swansea City Centre Conference; an event organised by 4theRegion to facilitate discussion about Swansea’s future.

It brought together businesses, professionals, decision-makers, third sector organisations, community groups and residents. In addition to talks, there was also an exhibition showcasing the businesses, projects and initiatives happening across the City.

Ben joined a panel consisting of Gareth Davies (Coastal Housing), Bruno Nunes (Creative Hospitality Group) and Fran Rolfe (Natural Resources Wales). The panel discussed the priorities for the ongoing development of Swansea.

For those who missed it, here’s a summary of the points Ben made in his talk – his 10 commandments of regeneration:

1. Know thyself

  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses
  • Be clear exactly where you’re going and why
  • Back your strongest assets
  • Address the weaker areas – have a plan

2. Get others to know thyself

  • What’s your brand?
  • Create shared goals
  • Cohesion – everyone needs to buy in
  • Understanding – everyone needs to ‘get it’
  • Tell a story

3. Thou shalt communicate better amongst thyselves

  • Engage
  • Educate
  • Create and sustain networks

4. Thou shalt collaborate

  • Build social capital
  • Talk
  • Enable
  • Build a more supportive infrastructure

5. Thou shalt get over thyself

  • ‘Can do’ approaches
  • Enablement rather than enforcement
  • Break or bend / try to change rules that don’t work /are stupid
  • More responsive
  • More confident
  • Kinder

6. Thou shalt create a nicer and healthier place for thou to live, work, play and learn in

  • Make people places
  • We are creatures designed to walk (at about 3mph) – plan for that first, not cars!
  • We made the problems with our towns and cities, so we can fix them too
  • Remember we’re not always that rational as creatures

7. Thou shalt not leave anyone behind

  • Social capital (again)
  • Empower
  • Poverty, homelessness – if we aren’t addressing these ultimately, then what are we doing?
  • Ask for every initiative: what does it mean for the guy on the dole in the regeneration estate?

8. Thou shalt remember there are other thyselfs

  • Embrace diversity
  • More tolerant and inclusive places tends to foster creativity (Richard Florida)
  • Remember the many cultures
  • Culture as a ‘way of life’
  • Create a sum greater than its parts

9. Thou shalt stop screwing it all up for thyself and the next lot of thyselves

  • Biophilic cities – work with nature
  • Make healthier places
  • Circular economy (which is about more than just reducing waste)

10. Remember thyself isn’t infallible

  • Few cut and paste solutions
  • Recognise sometimes we’ll get it wrong
  • Learn and improve
  • Don’t forget to have fun and be happy doing it


For more information about 4theRegion, visit

To talk to Urban Foundry about urban regeneration or to book Ben Reynolds to speak at an event or run a workshop email