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Housing and Community Planning

Handsworth and Lozells Community Dialogue Programme:

Handsworth and Lozells form one of the most economically deprived and culturally mixed areas of the UK. The main objectives of the Community Dialogue Programme were to gather information that would improve current understanding of the key issues and challenges in the area, assist local people to produce an aspirational and practical vision for the future, and help to develop a community-inspired call for action. Two of the key outcomes from the Community Dialogue programme project were:

arrow the identification of the local community’s key solutions and priorities for action for Handsworth and Lozells; and
arrow the formulation of the key elements of a long-term a vision for Handsworth and Lozells based on the views of the Dialogue programme participants.

The Community Dialogue programme was delivered by consortium comprised of the Governance Foundation, Birmingham Settlement, Carol Coombes, and Birmingham City University. The Governance Foundation brought together information from interviews, community meetings and an extensive literature review to produce the final report for Birmingham City Council.

The Social and Economic Impact of Large-scale Housing Investment:

The main aims of this project, funded by the Housing Corporation and Gentoo Group, were to measure the social and economic impact of housing investment in Sunderland and develop a methodology that can be used by other organisations involved in the delivery of housing and sustainable communities. Following stock transfer, the report presents the results of the first stage of a longitudinal study that will analyse the impact of Gentoo’s £600 million investment in improving and replacing social housing in the city. However, there have also been important management and cultural changes within the new housing organisation and there are new relationships with external stakeholders in the city and region. All of these factors are important in the pursuit of social and economic change in deprived communities.

Assessing the Impact of Housing Investment in Area-based Regeneration

This feasibility study, funded by the Housing Corporation’s Innovation and Good Practice fund, sought to investigate and evaluate good practice in the development off mechanisms for gathering and recording information that would assess the impact of social and physical regeneration programmes on the social housing population. The main conclusion from the research, that no one was properly monitoring the impact despite claims to the contrary, led to the above work in Sunderland.

Bournville Village Trust: Neighbourhoods that Work:

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Bournville Village Trust jointly funded this project, which sought to identify a) what ‘works’ in the making of better communities; b) what characterises successful estates and neighbourhoods; and c) what indicators of success and viability can be monitored over time. The research was undertaken using a multi-faceted approach, comparing six neighbourhoods within the BVT Estate using Area Profiles, Focus Groups, in-depth interviews and a comprehensive survey. The study was undertaken jointly with CURS at the University of Birmingham.

Hillbrow Regeneration Feasibility Study:

Working with the Inner City Office of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council (GJMC), researchers from the Foundation examined the feasibility of undertaking a community consultation project within the Hillbrow area of inner city Johannesburg. Recommendations from the study have already been carried forward by the GJMC, who used the research to bid for further funding for the inner areas of Johannesburg.

Informal Traders and Regeneration in the Historic Centre of Quito, Ecuador:

Quito’s city centre was one of the first to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site. This project was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Development Company for the Historic Centre of Quito and it involved the development of models for the incorporation of informal commerce in the renaissance of the historic centre. Research was carried out on the needs of local residents and traders and on how they could be incorporated into the development of a tourist-friendly historic centre.

Wolverhampton Connects Action Research

This project provided an assessment of the £5.3m Wolverhampton Connects SRB4 Programme. In particular, the action research project sought to gauge the opinions and perceptions of individuals from target beneficiaries (disadvantaged groups across the borough and residents from the neighbourhoods of Heath Town and Low Hill) regarding projects and services delivered via the Connects Programme. The final report provided a number of recommendations to increase the accessibility and effectiveness of Connects’ projects for its target client groups.

Skills and Knowledge for Neighbourhood Renewal: Local Strategic Partnerships (LSP):

Government Office for the West Midlands contracted Foundation staff to carry out a skills and knowledge needs analysis for the key stakeholders in the Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal Agenda. Interviews were carried out with co-ordinators of the 7 Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and Community Network Contacts in the West Midlands region and a survey was conducted with LSP Board Members, front-line professionals and the voluntary and community sector. Priority needs were identified and reported back to Government Office and the LSPs.

Ingoldsby Estate Community Consultation Project

Staff were commissioned by the Ingoldsby Estate Development Group and Birmingham City Council’s Housing Department to carry out a consultation exercise on behalf of the residents of this outer Birmingham estate. An in-depth community participation project provided the local community with an opportunity to shape the City Council’s policies for the social, physical and economic regeneration of the area. The methodology included a residents’ survey and a community-based planning exercise.

Highgate Estate Community Consultation Project

The central aim of this project was to provide information which would assist Birmingham City Council in developing a framework for the regeneration of the Highgate estate which is responsive to local priorities and which allows the resident population to play a major part in policy formulation. The programme sought to engage the innate talents of the community and enable them to participate in the process of change. The methodology included a household survey, Planning for Real meetings, a business survey and interviews with key actors in the local community. Working in close collaboration with the Highgate Housing Liaison Board, the project developed a strategic and integrated approach for the regeneration of the area.

Buttershaw Community Regeneration Strategy

The Buttershaw Regeneration Strategy was commissioned by the Buttershaw Advice and Social Centre. The Buttershaw estate is a stigmatised and extremely deprived, predominately public sector housing area on the periphery of Bradford which houses 5,500 people. The regeneration strategy was prepared over a two year period and was unique in that from the onset it was led and driven by the area’s residents. The strategy followed on from a comprehensive community participation programme involving hundreds of local people. As part of this programme, a skills audit and social survey was carried out with local people who were given training in research skills.

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