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Current Research Projects

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Exploring the Durability of Community Businesses (CBs) across England - A Robust Comparative Analysis

In recent years, across England, the community business sector has grown in terms of size, attention and impact. Alongside a long desire to promote forms of ‘citizen-centred governance’ , many local responses reflect innovative and enterprising ways that are sustainable over the long term and allow local people to directly benefit from local ventures. As with regular businesses, a key question is what factors contribute to the long-term survival and durability of community businesses. Durability is defined here as the combination of developed capacities, the level of goal realization and the business’ legitimacy which influence the continuity of community businesses over time. The aim of the proposed research is to get a better understanding of the interplay and combined impact of various conditions upon the durability of community businesses in England. The research will uncover whether certain conditions are necessary, and which may be sufficient for durable community businesses to emerge.

In this project, I will co-operate with Steve Clare (Cyta Consulting Ltd., London) and Dr. Ingmar van Meerkerk and Dr. Astrid Molenveld (Eramus University, ESSB). 

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Advanced Decision Support For Smart Governance (SmartGov)

The SmartGov project seeks to strengthen contemporary urban governance by offering decision support and two-way communication between citizens, governments and other stakeholders in (Smart) Cities. There is a huge, but underdeveloped potential of Linked Open Data and Social Media as crowdsourcing tools that complement regular data collection for decision-making. SmartGov will innovatively integrate these data sources with Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs), to enable quantitative modelling of complex problems and simulation of dynamic behaviour of factors underlying these problems. Hence, decision-makers and citizens can effectively utilize (currently inaccessible) Open Data, Social Media feeds and expert-based FCMs to simulate impacts of different scenarios and to improve two-way communication between governments and citizens.

This project has already resulted in several open access papers (see under Journal Articles).

Project Website
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Resituating The Local in Cohesion and Territorial Development (RELOCAL)

Spatial justice involves the fair and equitable distribution in space of socially valued resources and the opportunities to use them. As part of addressing the challenge of uneven spatial development, territorial cohesion, along with social and economic cohesion, is a major goal of European policy. 

RELOCAL project proposes bottom-up perspective within a multilevel context. It departs from the basic premise that localities and their functional spaces represent the contextual nexus where the relationship between individuals and spatial justice unfolds. Therefore, the principal rationale of the RELOCAL project is to contribute to conceptually and empirically enhancing the knowledge base on spatial justice and territorial inequalities and it also contributes to identifying policies promoting spatial justice and socio-economic well-being at various levels of governance.


Residents’ Perceptions of Impending Forced Relocation in Urban China

Since 1978, urban redevelopment in China has resulted in large-scale neighbourhood demolition and forced residential relocation, which can severely disrupt established people-place interactions in the demolished neighbourhoods. 

The aim of this study (a PhD thesis project conducted by Xin Li) is to gain a deeper understanding of the influence of urban redevelopment and its induced forced relocation on residents, by investigating their behavioural and emotional responses to the state-led urban redevelopment in Shenyang, a Chinese city. In particular, it highlights the agency of the affected residents, through exploring their interactions with other stakeholders. The study investigates the interaction between people (residents) and place (neighbourhoods) from the perspective of place attachment and ageing in place, to show the influences of urban redevelopment and forced relocation on the residents. By revealing the lived experiences of homeowners and older people in danwei communities and urban villages, we found that residents have ambivalent attitudes towards forced relocation and urban redevelopment.

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