How to create resilient neighbourhoods

Regeneration and economic development

We have a longstanding interest in researching and evaluating regeneration and economic development programmes. Our staff have national and international reputations in these areas, and many act in an advisory capacity to national and local government.

Through our wide-ranging work, we research deprived areas and populations, and the drivers and impacts of community involvement and participation. We evaluate programmes and projects that aim to support regeneration and community development, and assess their impact.

In 2010, we completed the ten-year evaluation of the New Deal for Communities initiative on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government. It was the largest and most comprehensive evaluation of an area-based initiative ever commissioned in the UK.

In the field of economic development, we look at local and regional economies, and what may be the drivers for economic development in a given context. We evaluate programmes and projects that aim to promote economic growth, and assess their impact on geographic areas and communities. Our research has informed EU, national, regional and local strategy and policy.

Examples of our work include

  • an assessment of schemes promoting higher level skills as a basis for improved economic performance
  • a review of rural community-based social enterprises as a basis for reviving village economies
  • a study of the economic links between coalfield areas undergoing regeneration and neighbouring cities
  • an estimate of the scale and nature of the seaside tourism industry
Search our work

Evaluation of the Community Investment Enterprise Facility

Project Director: Chris Dayson
Project Duration: 2018-2024

An evaluation of a major investment by Big Society Capital in Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) that aims to promote the growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Future Parks Accelerator programme evaluation

Project Director: Dr. Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2019 - 2021

The Future Parks Accelerator programme aims to create a step-change in park management, funding and value through innovation, collation and dissemination of ‘best in class’ practices, adapting ‘what works’ from other sectors and blending for parks. The evaluation will: examine different emerging models for parks funding and management; the processes involved in doing so; and the impacts of the different approaches taken by the nine funded projects. Empirical material is being gathered through in-depth cases studies of funded projects, using participatory methods to ensure that projects and their stakeholders play a meaningful part in the evaluation process. The evaluation will focus on sharing learning throughout the course of the project, through learning events, blogs and insight reports.

Parks for People programme evaluation

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2019 - 2020

This project examines the social and economic impact of investment in parks on people and places. There are two phases to the research. The first phase involves a rapid evidence review of existing academic literature on the social and economic value of parks in relation to government policy goals. The second phase involves in-depth case studies of parks that received funding through the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Parks for People programme to better understand the different potential impacts of parks investment on people and places.

Exploring the impact of community businesses delivering foundational infrastructure

Project Director: Dr. Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2019 - 2020

This project aims to understand the existing scale, potential, and impact of community businesses (CBs) in delivering, managing and owning different forms of foundational infrastructure. The idea of foundational infrastructure goes beyond common focus on land and buildings as community assets to consider – for example – utilities (e.g. energy, water, digital infrastructure), transport, green infrastructure and core services (e.g. care, education, food provision, finance). These foundational infrastructures underpin sustainable places and are undergoing transformation relating to different financial, developmental, social and environmental pressures.

Talent Match Evaluation and Learning Contract

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013-2019

Talent Match is a Big Lottery Funding initiative of up to £100 million. It is investing resources in a number of areas in England where youth unemployment is a significant issue. BIG will invest for a period of up to five years to improve the lives of people aged 18-24 who have been out of education, employment or training for 12 months or more. The aims of the evaluation and learning contract are: to track the success of the programme and projects within it; to identify what works well, for whom and in what circumstances; and to share learning and improve practice.

Key clients

Big Lottery Fund
Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation
Community Fund
Délégation interministérielle à la ville (DIV)
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Work and Pensions
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)
Financial Inclusion Services (Yorkshire)
Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)
Furness Enterprise Ltd
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Labour Party
Lambeth Council
Local Trust
National Lottery Community Fund
National Lottery Heritage Fund
National Trust
New Deal for Communities Partnerships
North East Derbyshire District Council
Northern Housing Consortium
Oldham Council
Power to Change
Sheffield City Region
Visit Wales
Voluntary Action Rotherham
Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council
Working Links
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