September Conference on Foundational Renewal

This year’s foundational economy conference is a three-day online event from Tuesday 7th to Thursday 9th September organised by the WISERD Research Centre at the University of Cardiff. Our theme is ‘Foundational renewal – Transforming reliance systems in the wake of COVID-19’. The opening plenary on the good working life is by Hilary Cottam who many of you will know as the author of the Radical Help book on welfare reform. As you can see from the attached programme, we then have sessions over three days with speakers from the collective and guests from Britain and Europe. As usual we mix academic and practitioner speakers. The conference closes in a session with Lee Waters, the trouble making politician who has driven Welsh Government commitment to foundational renewal and is now Deputy Minister of Climate Change.

Information about the event can be found on the WISERD website Foundational renewal – Transforming reliance systems in the wake of COVID-19 | WISERD  which also has the link to booking your Eventbrite ticket. Foundational renewal: Transforming reliance systems in the wake of COVID-19 Tickets, Tue 7 Sep 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite . There are a number of ticket options available and you can either book for all three days, or just for individual days. 

Small Towns and Big Issues

The Welsh government has now published Small Towns, Big Issues. Our independent report broadens the frame to look beyond declining town centres and analyses three small towns in their hinterland. It highlights how mass automobility and permissive planning have since 1980 allowed edge of town development and out of town commuting. Hence the difficulty of realising the current planning ideal of compact centred towns with active travel and overlap of live/ work/spend. The report draws on official statistics and on big data from mobile phone usage and property transactions. These highlight the business model problems which limit in town redevelopment and the easy profits which incentivise edge of town development; they also establish the continued advantage of town centres as places of sociability which have much longer visitor dwell times than edge of town retail. The report concludes with an argument about how imagination, organisation and new business models could address the embedded problems of Welsh towns. Policies on edge of town use and development are here as important as putting together the business model conditions which will allow urban alliances to deliver a stream of social renewal projects.