Building resilience and well‐being in the Margins within the City: Changing perceptions, making connections, realising potential, plugging resources leaks

ArticleinCity 15(2):181-203 · April 2011with 26 Reads
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Abstract
Regeneration policy in the UK has failed to deliver real gains for many of the inner‐city neighbourhoods that it was meant to help, but particularly those on the margins of our most prosperous and affluent city centres. In Leeds in 2008 an independent group of professionals came together through a project called ‘Margins within the City’ to challenge thinking about regeneration in the city. We wanted to find new ways of understanding the neighbourhoods in the rim around the city centre, uncover the potential of these neighbourhoods for future resilience and well‐being and suggest ways forward. A year‐long programme of action research was undertaken to pilot an approach to investigating the social networks, skills and enterprise, and under‐utilised land and buildings in a case study neighbourhood. This paper shows the approach and method for the research, the cross‐cutting themes within the findings and the recommendations for future policy development. It suggests that if social and physical connections are mended, established and extended, then perceptions can be radically changed, resource and ecological leaks plugged, and under‐utilised potential more fully realised.

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    This article evaluates the current attempt to develop local "compacts" between local government and the voluntary and community sector, as a way of structuring the evolving relationships between these sectors. It is based on documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with key national and local informants. The first part of the article charts local government-voluntary sector relationships in England from 1979 to 2000. The second part introduces the concept of the "voluntary sector compact", and argues that this is central to the Government's approach to these relationships. The third part explores the implementation of the Voluntary Sector Compact in England at both the national and local level. Finally, the authors draw out key lessons for the future of relationships between local government and the voluntary sector in England.