The key aspect of the changing fortunes of British towns explored in this book is the ability of individual localities to exercise any control over their growth and decline. Arising out the the Changing Urban and Regional System in the UK research program, this book examines local political initiatives seeking to influence economic and social development. The books states that the 1980s have seen local government in the UK facing two challenges: to survive in the face of Thatcher government hostility and to adapt to the powerful forces of economic restructuring. This book examines what has happened in a range of seven selected localities, identifies the conditions that make for successful policy interventions, and explores the future role of local government. The book is intended for students and lecturers of urban and regional studies, sociology and urban geography. The key aspect of the changing fortunes of British towns explored in this important book is the ability of individual localities to exercise any control over their growth and decline. "Place Policy and Politics" arises out of the "Changing Urban and Regional System in the UK" research programme, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The book examines local political initiatives seeking to influence economic and social development in seven contrasting localities, ranging from the economically devastated outer council estates of Merseyside to the boom towns of Cheltenham and Swindon. The book asks the following questions: To what extent are localities able to harness trends in the national and international economy to provide jobs and a better standard of living for their inhabitants? Why do local authorities vary in their capacity to initiate economic policy? To what extent do national urban and other policies inhibit or encourage their efforts? How might central government modify its policies to facilitate the prospering of localities? These are now key questions in debates among policy makers and among students of urban social theory. Intended for all who take a serious interest in the nature of contemporary British society, this book should have special appeal to geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists and urban planners. The authors, drawn from a wide range of social science disciplines, include many who have been at the forefront of urban social research.