Transforming disadvantaged places: effective strategies for places and people

Marilyn Taylor

This study summarises evidence about the underlying forces affecting deprived places across Britain, and explores how interventions aimed at both people and places can be strengthened to tackle disadvantage.

Summary

Summary

Approaching poverty and deprivation in the context of place is an increasing focus of regeneration policy. How can integration be strengthened between social and economic interventions for deprived places, and what are the key challenges to more effective delivery?

This paper:

  • summarises evidence about the underlying forces affecting place-based economic deprivation across Britain, and explores how interventions aimed at both people and places can be strengthened to tackle disadvantage.

Key points

  • Spatial polarisation of wealthy and poor people increased in Britain from 1970 to 2005. Urban clustering of poverty has also increased.
  • Overall unemployment decreased between 2000 and 2005 in areas with high claimant and poverty rates, but high levels of worklessness persist in many areas affected by economic decline, often concentrated amongst social housing tenants.
  • There is varied evidence on the recovery of areas affected by economic decline in terms of people’s access to work, for example in former coalfields. There is no universal model for successful regeneration.
  • Attachment to locality based on strong family and social networks in deprived neighbourhoods can limit people’s horizons and willingness to consider opportunities elsewhere. However, strong social networks can also foster resilience within deprived neighbourhoods.
  • Sustained place management in deprived neighbourhoods can help to stabilise and turn around their prospects. This approach should pay equal attention to issues affecting people as well as place-related disadvantage.
  • Fragmented policy and governance arrangements, particularly in relation to social inclusion and economic development, remain key barriers to the delivery of more effective interventions.
  • Debates about whether to focus on place or people interventions impose a false divide. The social equity principles of sustainable development require effective, interlinked approaches across social, environmental and economic domains at all spatial tiers of governance.
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