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.

Local and regional responses to connected and autonomous vehicles

Project Director: Professor Ed Ferrari
Project Duration: 2020 - 2022

Technological advances and regulatory changes for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C/AVs) create a set of new policy problems for local and regional policy makers required to accommodate C/AVs within built environments. Concerns around safety, urban design, and infrastructure (amongst others) will not be solved immediately and instead will form part of a long transitional period as C/AVs compete for a place in already complex transit systems. Concurrent efforts to increase levels of walking, cycling, and other Active Travel modes in response to climate and public health concerns will further problematise this transitional period, requiring solutions to challenging policy problems.

Room to Move – Impacts of road-space reallocation (REMODEL)

Project Director: Dr Stephen Parkes
Project Duration: 2020-2021

Sheffield City Council (SCC) and Lancashire County Council (LCC) are currently implementing road-space reallocation measures to facilitate social distancing and increase levels of active travel in the post-lockdown landscape. The adaptations address road-space capacity issues for non-vehicle users along key commuter routes. These measures are an important element of the creation of a ‘climate-smart’ recovery and support the longer-term goal of de-carbonising transport.

Understanding supply chain, employment and skills implications of energy infrastructure investment

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2020-21

Not enough is known about the detailed supply chain, employment and skills implications of investing in urban low carbon energy infrastructure. In particular, there is a need to better understand the nature and geography of jobs in low carbon energy sectors, and how employment and skills support can ensure that those who most need work can access new opportunities.

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)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (DecarboN8 Network)
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
Regional Studies Association
RICS Research Trust
Sheffield City Region
Visit Wales
Voluntary Action Rotherham
Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council
Working Links
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