Category Archives: Community Wealth Building

Re-imagining the village as a socio-economic rural powerhouse?

The Reimagined Village cover image...
Get your copy here (.pdf)

The architects BroadwayMalyan have just published a new report, which looks at the historical context, and future, of the UK village.

It views the village in its historic landscape and looks forward to how the village might develop given the ‘right’ or ‘necessary’ infrastructure support.

View, print or download a copy of The Reimagined Village here (.pdf)

In the sixties the economist J.K. Galbraith came to see suburbs as a sort of camp, or island,  for the affluent. There is something of this perception in the BroadwayMalyan analysis.

‘However, existing villages do have their drawbacks. Villages are the most expensive places to live in the UK outside London…’

The report attempts to map existing constraints on village life, and overlay new opportunities, or issues, that might be grasped. For example…

• Rural villages, as bases of multi-faceted active economic output, have diminished capacity historically.

• UK villages tend to have an older, affluent demographic and this affects the utility of local village schools, for instance.

• As costs rise, and services need to adapt to new consumer demand, the village needs to be flexible and opportunist to take advantage of new markets. Many are not able without creative development thinking.

• The internet plays a key role in community and economic development, particularly post-Covid. The slow spread and lack of investment in high speed broadband hampers village development economically.

• Low density of population mitigates away from the delivery of core direct health and well- being support. Another factor hampered by the reach of the internet, as above.

• With older age cohorts in villages, the use of the car is a necessity to many, which contributes to poor distribution of joined up community transport and environmental harm, for example.

This document, The Reimagined Village from BroadwayMalyan, offers a number of new perceptions and objectives for a creative and effective socio-economic housing cluster – the UK village. Their view ahead is not all pessimistic…

‘If new villages are to become an effective antidote to
the housing crisis, they need to be reimagined to better accommodate the needs of modern society – both now and into the future – all while retaining the identity and charm that makes them an attractive prospect, and an integral part of Britain’s cultural fabric.’

Within the pages of the report lies an acknowledgement of difference and a recognition that each community, wherever it lies in the rural landscape, has a unique and particular tradition, and perhaps, a different view on the thorny political questions of economic development and new infrastructure.

It was comforting to see. Discover the work of BroadwayMalyan at their London office here.


Update: 19th May 2021

We subscribe to the Strong Towns Movement news-feed in the USA – they are currently publishing a set of articles on strategies and structures necessary for community development in the widest sense.

It is interesting, we think, how in the final analysis from the U.S./capitalist point of view, that public funding should be seen as the key catalyst for sustainable development in communities, of whatever size.

See the article The Modern Approach to Development Doesn’t Work for Local Communities

The Journal provides it’s readers with an eclectic mix of localism, community wealth building and enterprise creation that will not be unfamiliar to UK social enterprise readers.

Discover Strong Towns here..


 

Rural Economy Toolkit

Rural economy Toolkit - cover image
View, print or download a copy here…

Poverty and economic and social exclusion can often be invisible in rural areas, we would argue. The trees are no less green, the landscape no less bucolic, if the individual residents or communities are economically and socially disenfranchised.

During 2020 and our following of the thrashing dragon’s tail that is Covid, the media is full of economic data, socio-economic opinion and, perhaps the newest media feature, the ubiquitous graph.

How many of us, we wonder, fully understand the context of the data we are being asked to support or accept. How many of our communities can use data to successfully mount the argument that their’s is the community that needs to be refreshed and supported too?

There is a new toolkit on the block in 2020.

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) and the Rural Services Network (RSN) have devised a new practitioner-focused toolkit which is intended as a guide for “anyone seeking to raise rural relevance in the economic agenda”.

  • This pivotal report looks at the current policy drivers and meta-trends governing the development of the rural economy.
  • There is a strong section on the collection and analysis of data to establish the needs and desired outcomes for a given community of interest.
  • Finally, the document looks at best practice in the rural environment, ranging across coping with ageing in communities, wealth creation and digital expansion, or the need for it.

There is nothing in the toolkit that will be radical for the dedicated, urban social entrepreneur. What the toolkit does is to translate ambitions into a rural context, helping the players in communities to shape and define their developmental argument.

The toolkit also offers, we think, very sound thinking in its data analysis sections on how deep to drill for data, how to manage and structure what you find and finally, what the output should look like.

All skills and limitations that any or all researched arguments for economic development can use. Be they rural or devoutly urbanist in approach.

You can discover more here – https://ied.co.uk/insights/the_rural_economy_toolkit/

We wish all our readers, clients and new friends in 2021 the very best of everything and a brighter, busier, more convivial context for their projects…


Seasonal best wishes from all of us!

This is a great volume on Community Wealth Building, newly available from Polity Press. Inspired thinking – drivers for action.

Free delivery when you buy this book from SocEntEastMids…

Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill make the case that ‘…a new model of economic development is emerging in our cities and communities. Offering real, on the ground solutions to localities and regions battered by successive waves of disinvestment, de-industrialisation, displacement and dis-empowerment…(new) approaches capable of producing more sustainable, lasting and equitable economic outcomes’. (Source The Case for CWB, p.1)

Buy this book here

This book, and the work of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in Manchester were inspirational in 2019. You can read our response to this development thinking, and our micro-business approach to change, here.

We still welcome all enquiries for our services and support in 2020. SocEntEastMids – free resources for the building of socially useful business.