Understanding local economies

An issue of growing concern for London communities is the rent and displacement pressure on jobs caused by rampant land price escalation for speculative housing development. Industrial estates, workshops, shops and high street premises of all kinds are being converted to housing at speed. Businesses and non-profit activities face dwindling space availability, rising rents and often such short insecure leases that they can’t invest in equipment confidently.  It’s become clear to Just Space that neither the GLA nor the London Boroughs have a real grasp of the detailed economic workings of the city outside of the centre and a few key sectors.  UCL has been supporting Just Space in its work on this and two new bodies of research have now appeared:

An entire class of students in the School of Planning Masters module benvgPD3 From Strategic Vision to Spatial Plan undertook meticulous studies of economic activities in large blocks of north London, between Dagenham in the East, through Ilford and Romford to Southall in the west.  The project was taught by Elena Besussi, Pablo Sendra and Michael North. The student reports are now available on Google Drive (copyright of the authors) at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B-3peQ2Q2zeOemIzODVwNXBYN3c

In parallel, and with some connection, Jessica Ferm, Michael Edwards and Ed Jones did a small research project, surveying, evaluating and making recommendations about the methodologies used in local economic studies by community groups, local business groups, boroughs and GLA. This was supported by a grant from UCL’s “London 2034” fund administered by the Vice Provost for London. The summary press release from the project and the full report are both now available. Revealing local economies in London: methodological challenges, future directions, Download eprint http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1566799

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