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Call for evidence: area-based regeneration

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We’re elbows-deep in reviews on government support for R&D and access to finance and are this week starting up a new review on area based regeneration (including neighbourhood renewal and estate renewal).

We think this topic will be of interest to a lot of our local authority and LEP users around the country. It will look at evidence on some of the major UK regeneration programmes of recent decades – such as the Single Regeneration Budget, New Deal for Communities and Housing Market Renewal – as well as casting the net to include evidence on programmes in other countries.

As we begin the review we’re thinking about how best to deal with the distinction between estate renewal-type programmes (where the objectives are focused purely on improving the physical quality of homes and public space); neighbourhood-level regeneration (where the objectives are often a mix of physical improvements for their own sake and people-focused economic interventions such as training and skills); and area-based regeneration programmes including public realm, which could include high streets or public spaces such as squares and parks. This latter group often has more ambitious stated objectives premised on the idea that improving the built environment leads to increased confidence, perceptions and ultimately stimulates investment and growth in an area.

The challenge for us will be how we evaluate and report on the ‘success’ of those programmes against economic outcomes such as GVA or employment. In some cases, these types of outcomes won’t have been the stated rationale (and won’t have been evaluated), but in similar programmes elsewhere economic rationales and testing may have taken place. We would love to hear your thoughts on this.

First things first, though. We are currently searching through all the evidence we can find on the issue, including putting out this call for evidence. We’d be interested to hear from you if you can point us to impact evaluations of area-based regeneration or estate renewal programmes – especially those which have before-and-after comparisons and which compare places that were subject to interventions with similar places that were not. We’re also interested in existing reviews of evidence in the field.

If in doubt – send it in! We would much rather filter out things which turn out not to meet our criteria than miss key pieces of evidence. As usual, please get in touch with us via emailor twitter. Or leave us a comment below, and we’ll be in touch.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 22nd August.