The Connected Communities – Supporting Inclusive Recovery in London is a research and knowledge exchange initiative funded through the University’s Transformation Grant Scheme between May and August 2021. The project is led by Professor Diana Stirbu, who specialises in policy and governance at the School of Social Professions, and is focused on inclusive engagement between local authorities and their constituent communities and will explore London’s local authorities’ approach and capability to embedding community engagement within their recovery plans. It builds on the successful delivery of a year-long peer learning programme for regeneration and social integration officers in London's local authorities (the Social Integration and Regeneration Learning Network). Read more information on our blog.
Professor Stirbu explained, "The aim of the project is to better understand barriers and enablers towards meaningful and inclusive engagement between London's local authorities and the communities they serve.
"Through research and knowledge exchange activities we test and shape a guiding framework for community engagement that can support regeneration teams in local authorities in pursuing inclusive recovery under the High Streets and Stronger Communities missions in London’s Recovery Programme."
“This work is consistent with the key strategic priorities for London Met and demonstrates the University's commitment to empowering London communities and supporting our London partners to address our capital's social and economic challenges."
The project in context
As a city, London is facing the most challenging period in recent history. The economic, social and health impact of the pandemic cannot be overstated. The disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on different communities has further exacerbated deep-seated inequalities. There has been a particular effect on local economies and high streets and the services that London boroughs and the Greater London Authority deliver have been put under significant pressure. There is an urgent need to:
- restore confidence in the city
- minimise the impact on London’s most vulnerable communities
- rebuild the city’s economy and society
As the focus shifts towards recovery, it is clear that local governments will not be able to achieve the social, economic or environmental progress needed by relying on old forms of development.
What we are doing
The Connected Communities Project uses community engagement in regeneration as a starting point to frame its aims, objectives and sought outcomes. The project is primarily interested in the question of what ongoing meaningful and authentic engagement with London’s heterogeneous and diverse communities entails in the context of the current challenges and opportunities and the missions-based approach to recovery as laid out in the London Recovery Plan. The project is interested in gaining an understanding of how the current challenges and opportunities can be harnessed to strengthen and cultivate participatory local democracy and to put forward and put in practice a transformative vision that is aimed at regeneration by common endeavour and alternative approaches to keeping wealth in the local economy, thus counteracting economic insecurity and inequality. In doing so, the project seeks to support the collaboration between local authorities and their residents/communities to enable a strong civil society.
The project will develop around two strands:
- Through document analysis and qualitative primary research we examine narratives and practices of community engagement within the context of regeneration work in London boroughs with the view to identify gaps and potential needs London local authorities face in terms of designing and implementing effective and meaningful community engagement strategies that would support reshaping London’s built environment (mainly town centres and high streets).
- Through knowledge exchange activities we explore themes such as the transition from impact of the crisis to recovery, community engagement between non-participation and empowerment, towards a citizen science place-making agenda and community wealth building together with our network members.
Image credit: Alex Fordham, 2021. Unit 12, Postgraduate Architecture
Prof Diana Stirbu
Project Leader Policy and Governance
Project Consultant Regeneration
Dr Natasha Choudary
Early Career Researcher
Dr Silke Zschomler
If you want to contact the project team, ask for further information or get involved in the knowledge exchange events, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep up to date with our work
You can read more about our work on our Social Integration and Regeneration @LondonMet Lab blog.
Events and seminars from the Connected Communities
The enigma of nature in the age of proto-globalisation
Professor Nicholas Temple will present his research at the next Art, Architecture and Design (AAD) Sessions event on 28 September.
"Major improvement" needed in biosecurity education of life scientists, say experts
The research identified key deficiencies in security education in bioscience, including a lack of people with expertise in humanities and ethics, and a lack of translated material.
London Met academic receives prestigious British Academy of Management Education Practice Award
The prize was awarded to Dr Eleni Meletiadou for her Digital Storytelling, Translanguaging, and Inclusive Collaborative Group Assessment project.
Broadcasting Britain: the BBC at 100
Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies, Patrick O'Sullivan, will take part in two events at the BBC at 100 Symposium.
'Irish Nurses in the NHS: an oral history' project receives a grant from the Irish Government
The funding will enable research leads Professor Louise Ryan and filmmaker Grainne McPolin to significantly expand the focus of their research.
Mistrust of national employment services, and structural barriers, fuelling BAME employment gap
Research participants reported feeling pressured into taking on unsuitable work.
Understanding the urban commons
A two-day workshop will bring together researchers across the arts, humanities and social sciences working on urban commons.
Understanding and improving the student experience
The new book, co-written by London Met Professor Jan Bamford, will be published in late May 2022 by Routledge.
Chaos at Kabul Airport: Lessons must be learned
Professor Louise Ryan, Dr Maria Lopez and Alessia Dalceggio from the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre discuss the failures of the evacuation mission last year.
"We are tired of being told it is not a big deal": Institutional Machismo in Mexico
A new paper from London Met’s Dr María E. López argues women suffer from a dominant male chauvinist ideology that is exacerbated by President López Obrador’s administration.
Sanctuary and freedom for women and girls
A new report co-written by Professor Liz Kelly explores the impact and importance of spaces for women and girls who have experienced violence, abuse and other inequalities.
London Met's international excellence highlighted in REF 2021
The impact of London Met's maths research was joint top in the UK, while overall 86% of our research is internationally recognised and 60% is world-leading or internationally excellent.
Essential Study Skills: fifth edition of London Met textbook released
This essential guide to university from London Met lecturers Tom Burns and Sandra Sinfield offers step-by-step guidance for new students.
Joining the dots
The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit are set to host international webinar series on violence against women.