Connected Communities Shearer West presentation June 2010
CONNECTED COMMUNITIES Connected Communities ‘Summit’Birmingham, 28/29 June 2010 Professor Shearer West Director of Research AHRC
Programme Vision To mobilise the potential for increasingly inter-connected communities to enhance self- reliance, regeneration, sustainability, health & well- being by better connecting research, stakeholders and communities.
AimsTo contribute to:• community self-reliance• community resilience• active citizenship• flourishing diverse & cohesive communities• health & well-being• regeneration• cultural vibrancy• sustainable development
The Coalition:our programme for government Vision to: • “completely recast the relationship between people and the state: citizens empowered; individual opportunity extended; communities coming together to make lives better”. • “end the era of top-down government by giving new powers to local councils, communities, neighbourhoods and individuals” “The Government believes that the innovation and enthusiasm of civil society is essential in tackling the social, economic and political challenges that the UK faces today. We will take action to support and encourage social responsibility, volunteering and philanthropy, and make it easier for people to come together to improve their communities and help one another”
The Coalition: our programme for government• “We will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups”• “We will … give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live”• “We will introduce new powers to help communities save local facilities and services threatened with closure, and give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services”• “We will implement the Sustainable Communities Act, so that citizens know how taxpayers’ money is spent in their area and have a greater say over how it is spent”.• “We will support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co- operatives, charities and social enterprises, and enable these groups to have much greater involvement in the running of public services”
The Coalition: our programme for government• “We will train a new generation of community organisers and support the creation of neighbourhood groups across the UK, especially in the most deprived areas”.• “We will introduce National Citizen Service. The initial flagship project will provide a programme for 16 year olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds, and start getting involved in their communities”.• “We will take a range of measures to encourage volunteering and involvement in social action, including launching a national day to celebrate and encourage social action, and make regular community service an element of civil service staff appraisals”
A UK-wide Agenda • England: “Communitybuilders is a £70m investment fund which takes forward a commitment within the Communities in Control: real people, real power White Paper to build more cohesive, empowered and active communities” • Scottish Government National Outcome Indicator: “We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others” • Welsh Assembly Government: “Our vision for Wales calls for strong, safe communities that people will want to live in now and in the future. Wales has a strong tradition of community identity and self- help. We want to enhance this identity by giving people the confidence to develop local solutions to community problems and by providing them with the funding and support to do so.” • Northern Ireland: “People and Place – A strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal” “to develop confident communities that are able and committed to improving the quality of life in the most deprived neighbourhoods”
Community Perspectives “The welfare state that was build up after the great economic crisis of the 1930s was designed to address Britains material needs - for jobs, homes, health care and pensions. It was assumed that peoples emotional needs would be met by close knit families and communities. Sixty years later psychological needs have become as pressing as material ones: the risk of loneliness and isolation; the risk of mental illness; the risk of being left behind. New solutions are needed to help the many people struggling with transitions out of care, prison or family breakdown, and to equip people with the resilience theyll need to get by in uncertain times”. Sinking & Swimming Understanding Britain’s Unmet Needs Young Foundation 2009
Community PerspectivesA community led agenda for urban sustainability research:• 1. Crime and Safety• 2. Eco-Social Housing• 3. Affordable Green Energy Services• 4. Urban Food Production and Consumption• 5. Sustainable Urban Transport• 6. Greenspace, Parks and Places to go• 7. Rubbish and Recycling• 8. Community Cohesion and Empowerment• 9. Shopping and Local Services• 10. Health and Well-being http://www.suscit.org.uk/
What do we mean by ‘Community’?• For the purposes of this Programme, and subject to further consultation, we are currently thinking of ‘communities’ as: “cooperative or interactive groups sharing a virtual or physical environment and aspects of identity (such as location, race, ethnicity, age, history, occupation), culture, belief or other common bonds and/or a shared interest in particular issues or outcomes”.• We recognise that such communities are nested and overlap and are interested both in the relationships within these communities and the interactions between communities and their outcomes for broader society and economy.
Why Connected?In terms of the research:• Focus covers both the changing connections between individuals and groups within communities and the connections between different communities – communities as complex webs of inter- connections.• Interest the connections between communities and their broader environments• Aim to examine the connections between research issues often considered in isolation to deliver more integrated understanding of the roles of, and impacts on, communities.
Why Connected?In terms of how the Programme will achieve its objectives:• Connecting researchers, knowledge and data from across disciplines to deliver more integrated understanding• Connecting UK and international research• Connecting researchers, stakeholders and communities in the co-production of knowledge and knowledge exchange.
Understanding Patterns of Connectivity and Change within & between Communities Community Communityparticipation, Community Sustainable Community cultures,self-reliance Health and community Regeneration diversity and and well-being environments cohesion resilience Connecting Research on Communities Connecting Research with Communities & other Stakeholders, Stimulating Research Partnerships and Enhanced Harvesting of Research for Impact
Cross-Cutting Themes: UnderstandingChanging Connectivity & Communities Some key cross-cutting questions • What are communities for in modern societies? How do they contribute to quality of life? What do flourishing communities look like? How are community values and identities changing? • Changing connections within and between communities. Inter-relationships and networks. Ties to communities & places. • Understanding communities as complex systems • Factors shaping changing communities – interfaces between technological, environmental ,social, cultural & economic factors
Cross-Cutting Themes:Connecting Research on Communities • Already c. £40 million p.a. of RCUK funding in communities-based research , but discovering more all the time! • Aim to add value to this base - potential for major additional impact building on this existing base • Improved co-ordination and alignment of research • Potential for strategic additional investment and partnerships to facilitate added value & address key needs & gaps
Museums and Galleries ProgrammeDESIGNAGAINST CRIME Research on culture & regeneration
Centre for Charitable Giving & PhilanthropyUKCRC Public Health ResearchCentres of Excellence
Environment, pollution and human health EnvironmentalUKPopNet Exposure & Health Initiative (EEHI)
National Prevention Research Initiative NPRI MRC-HPA Centre for Environment & Health MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit MRC/Scottish Collaboration forPublic Health Research and Policy Understanding Individual EuroSTRESS: Stress and Mental (SCPHRP) Behaviour (MRC/ESRC) Health
Suburban NeighbourhoodAdaptation for a Changing Climate (SNACC) Energy & Communities
Cross-Cutting Themes:Connecting Research on Communities • Funding from other stakeholders is fragmented, often small-scale or focused on specific area • Connecting researchers across disciplines and subject domains • Conceptual and methodological development e.g. modelling, systems, complexity, networks, data, ethnography etc • Designing and learning from community initiatives, case studies and interventions, including evaluation methods • Learning from the past and across cultures (incl. international collaborative research)
Cross-Cutting Themes:Connecting with Stakeholders, Partnerships & Harvesting for Impact•Partnerships and co-production toaddress strategic research gaps•Support knowledge exchangewith key stakeholders e.g. CLG•Stimulating innovative ways ofengaging communities in and withresearch•Better ‘harvesting’ of existingresearch: synthesis, review,translation…
Action plan for 2010• Today’s ‘Summit’• Convene first meeting of expert group• CLG Policy seminars (ESRC/AHRC)• Civility project (AHRC, ESRC, Young Foundation)• Collaboration with RSA Citizen Power in Peterborough Programme• Collaboration with CABE on ‘Beauty’ (AHRC)• Commission initial scoping studies• Highlighted cross-disciplinary networking call and Fellowship scheme highlight in 2010 (AHRC )• BIS SIN US network event on communitarianism• Enhance interim webpages• Workshop on ‘crime & communities’, 27 July 2010 (tbc) led by ESRC• Plan for possible ‘ideas collision’ on culture & regeneration in 2011
Aims of the Summit• Map the research landscape to identify areas of intersection & potential synergies• Stimulate and support research connections between participants & beyond• Promote novel cross-disciplinary connections & broader collaborations with policy-makers & communities• Identify ways in which the Programme can add value in the field• Identify potential research gaps / needs & help to shape future priorities for the Programme