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Welfare reform on the Web (July 2007): Community regeneration and development - UK

Building sustainable communities: spatial policy and labour mobility in post-war Britain

M. Raco

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

In 2003 the Labour Government published its ambitious Sustainable Communities Plan. It promised to bring about a 'step change' in the English planning system and a new emphasis on the construction of more balanced, cohesive, and competitive places. This book uses historical and contemporary materials to document the ways in which policy-makers, in different eras, have sought to use state powers and regulations to create better, more balanced, and sustainable communities and citizens. It charts the changes that have taken place in community-building policy frameworks, and core spatial policy initiatives in the UK since 1945. In so doing, it examines the tensions that have emerged within spatial policy over the types of places that should be created and the forms of mobility and fixity required to create them. It also shows that there are significant lessons that can be learnt from the experiences of the past. These can be used to inform contemporary policy debates over issues such as migration, uneven development, key worker housing, and sustainability.

Narratives of neglect: community, regeneration and the governance of security

J. Karn

Uffculme: Willan, 2007

Reducing crime and fear of crime has become increasingly central to urban policy in the UK, particularly to regeneration of areas of social exclusion. Encouraging citizen participation is at the heart of these efforts to transform urban areas and build safe, sustainable urban communities. The book is an ethnographic study of a multiply-deprived council estate in the north of England, conducted during a period of consultation with residents prior to regeneration. It explores residents' and professionals' explanations for the decline of the estate - their narratives of neglect - and the role which crime and disorder plays within them. The analysis highlights the interplay between maintenance of identity and sense of social position and relationships with authorities within residents' accounts, particularly in contributing to a tendency to blame problems on denigrated 'others'. This informs observations of miscommunication between residents and professionals and the potentially exclusionary and punitive effects of participatory processes that do not take account of the way that local problems, particularly of crime and disorder, are politicised.

Planning for a sustainable future: White Paper

Department of Communities and Local Government, and others

London: TSO, 2007 (Cm 7120)

The White Paper sets out the Government’s detailed proposals for reform of the planning system, building on recommendations from reports by Kate Barker and Rod Eddington for improving speed, responsiveness and efficiency in land use planning. It proposes reforms of how decisions are taken on nationally significant infrastructure projects including energy, waste, waste-water and transport and on responding to the challenges of economic globalisation and climate change. It also proposes further reforms to the Town and Country Planning system, building on the recent improvements to make it more efficient and more responsive, including further devolution to local authorities.

'What to do about political context?' Evidence synthesis, the New Deal for Communities and the possibilities for evidence-based policy

J.S.F. Wright, J. Parry and J. Mathers

Evidence and Policy, vol.3, 2007, p. 253-269

Political context may modify how research evidence is used by policymakers. In this analysis of New Deal for Communities documents, the authors have attempted to assess how policymakers have required evidence to be used to inform local decision-making. The review suggests that while early guidance to stakeholders upheld the primacy of research evidence as a means of informing the implementation of the policy initiative, later advice was more circumspect and recognised explicitly the role of the wider political environment within which the NDC initiative was being delivered. Issues such as the requirement to demonstrate progress, financial imperatives, the hierarchy of local governance and mainstreaming, and abstract ideals such as citizenship, participation and social inclusion all acted to constrain the simple application of evidence to policy making.

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