What are we doing?
LSE Housing and Communities, based at the London School of Economics, has received funding for a three-year research project to explore how low-income neighbourhoods have changed since 2010 and how they can become socially, economically, and environmentally more viable. We want to understand what has happened to low-income communities in different regions of the United Kingdom between 2010-2022, and what policies and interventions can help make low-income communities more sustainable in future.
Why are we doing this?
We want to learn from the lived experience of residents living in low-income communities, and of key organisations working to improve area conditions and tackle neighbourhood problems. Local communities will share their experiences and ideas about their neighbourhoods. Residents are experts in their own neighbourhoods and this study, grounded in real experience and action, backed by careful research, will feed through to policymakers, government officials, and key stakeholders, in order to make local communities more viable for the people living and working in them.
How are we doing this?
In order to understand changing conditions in low-income neighbourhoods over the last 12 years and uncover ways forward, we will visit 10 areas across England that we also worked in between 1998-2008. Making repeated visits to these case study areas over three years, we will uncover:
- What makes a low-income community viable socially, economically, and environmentally?
- What undermines its sustainability?
- What actions can be taken to improve conditions and make low-income areas more sustainable?
We will interview residents and frontline staff living and working in each of the 10 areas, alongside key organisations such as schools, social landlords, faith groups and community organisations based within the neighbourhoods.
We will explore the literature about high poverty areas, sustainable communities and government policies and actions in low-income areas. We will write up a portrait of each area, documenting their demographic, economic and social characteristics, along with any changes between 1998-2022. We will also compare the differences between the areas. We plan to organise two 'Think Tank' workshops to collect views on the impacts of policies on local conditions, and on the findings we uncover.
How will we share our findings?We will produce three reports over the project. In the first year, we will produce 10 case study reports about the selected neighbourhoods, covering the three core questions above. In Year 2, we will prepare and present a detailed analysis of community interviews, including vignettes and life stories of people living and working in the communities we are studying. In Year 3, we will prepare an overview report, pulling together our evidence on what makes a low-income area sustainable. We will highlight policies and practices that can help or hinder low-income communities, setting out the factors that increase their viability as places to live and work, making them more sustainable.
Who are LSE Housing and Communities?
LSE Housing and Communities are a small research group within the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics. They have many years’ experience in social housing, community, neighbourhood and urban problems. They have previously done research into neighbourhood conditions, including a long-running study of 12 low-income areas from 1998-2008 that form the backbone of this project.
The LSE Housing and Communities team is made up of:
- Professor Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy and Head of LSE Housing and Communities
- Laura Lane, Policy and Research Officer
- Ellie Benton, Research Assistant
- Ruby Russell, Research Assistant
- Jessica Rowan, Research Coordinator
If you would like to take part in this study, or receive updates about the research project please sign up here or scan the QR code:
You can also contact Jessica Horne Rowan, email J.Rowan1@lse.ac.uk for further information.
Image credit: London Fields, London. Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/4hcpIbqQM8c