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Patronage, power and probity: accountability and aspiration in publicly funded development

Croydon, Robert Henry 2016. Patronage, power and probity: accountability and aspiration in publicly funded development. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The research examines actions and relationships described as patronage which have contributed to the development of architecture and the built environment. In so doing it first seeks to identify the characteristics that have defined such patronage historically. It then moves to examine whether such characteristics could be identified in the promotion and execution of publicly funded projects in the modern day. The focus on aspirational forms of development which relied upon the commitment of public resources allowed the following proposition to be more fully tested. That is that the forms of patronage evidenced historically cannot be replicated in a democratic polity like contemporary Britain for reasons which include current requirements relating to the exercise of probity in management and public office. As an inevitable consequence of the universal franchise and wider democratic accountability those commissioning public works do not then enjoy the relative autonomy exercised by those described as patrons historically. A case study research strategy was adopted and undertaken focussing on major publicly funded developments in Cardiff between 1986 and 2006. Those, expressly or implicitly, aspired to the creation of places which would embody symbolic or cultural capital. Among the factors examined are the impartiality required of bureaucracies and political pressures for public bodies to prioritise quantifiable short-term outputs over less tangible longer-term assessment of environmental qualities. Other countervailing forces considered are prevailing economic conditions and market forces, which are similarly short-term, the cultural climate and public support for such development. The conclusions of the research then question the extent to which actions and relationship described as patronage can be the effective means of realising publicly funded urban development of notable quality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Architecture; Patronage; Probity; Democratic accountability; Cardiff Bay Opera House; Senedd;
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 April 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:03
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/99832

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