Placing well-being and participation within processes of urban regeneration

Ryan Woolrych, Judith Sixsmith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The concepts of well-being and participation are prevalent in current regeneration policy, being seen as crucial to alleviating disadvantage and marginalisation in deprived communities. However little is understood about how such ambiguous concepts are articulated within urban regeneration practice. This paper seeks to present a reflective case study of research in a New Deal for Communities (NDC) area designed to understand different conceptualisations of well-being and participation in community places and regeneration practices. Design/methodology/approach: The perspectives of regeneration professionals, local residents and academics were revealed through the development of a multi-method and participatory research approach using interviews, observations, video diaries and workshops. An action oriented event aimed at developing overlapping communities of practice was held to engage in active dialogue and develop shared understandings between the resident, professional and academic communities. Findings: Conceptualisations of well-being and participation articulated through regeneration policy and practice between the different stakeholder groups are contradictory. The absence of a shared vision for regeneration and differing expectations of participation can have detrimental effects on both the well-being of local residents and the sustainability of the long-term participation of local residents in the regeneration process. This challenges the recent government approach to creating a Big Society which is underpinned by devolved decision making and the desire for local leadership through realising the potential of communities. Originality/value: The research has helped to create new relationships between residents and professionals organised around joint working and changed practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-231
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


    • Action research
    • Participation
    • Quality of life
    • Regeneration
    • Social planning
    • United Kingdom
    • Urban regeneration
    • Well-being

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Public Administration
    • Political Science and International Relations
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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