Research reports

This page lists recent public interest reports which are outputs from current or past research projects.

Our latest research reports

Transformation in Atzgersdorf  (April 2022) In foundational thinking, places are where essential economic and social needs come together and are met.  But, in a time of nature and climate emergency, these immediate needs must be met within planetary limits as part of a social-ecological transformation. Richard Baernthaler’s research report on Atzgersdorf  provides some indications about how to gain majority political support for this kind of transformation project.  The ideals of the “15-minute city” can be transposed into the local setting of an unremarkable district town on the edge of Vienna where citizens can see the everyday convenience of shorter journeys and active travel.

Restanza in Blaenau (March 2022) After 100 years of deindustrialization, the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in a North Wales slate valley could be condescendingly described as a “left behind “place. Using survey evidence and the Italian concept of “restanza”, this report emphasises that the people of the town and valley are attached to their own place and its social networks so that staying behind or returning after graduate education is a positive choice not the default of the less capable and ambitious. The economic policy question is then reframed in foundational terms: what provision of essentials will empower restanza and enable young adults to stay? Survey evidence shows that affordable housing is just as important as jobs.

SMEs in the Welsh food system (August 2021) This independent report analyses a foundational reliance system where the number of SMEs has not increased over the past decade. The Welsh food system is heavily dependent on imports and exports to England and the EU because Welsh farm producers are narrowly specialised in meat and livestock. SME processors can only access volume demand through supermarket chains and food service distributors which offer narrow financial margins that make expansion difficult. Hence the recommendations to refocus Welsh Government policy around more infrastructural support through food parks and innovation centres and public contracts which encourage locally owned food service distributors to stock more Welsh lines.

Small Towns and Big Issues (August 2021) The Welsh government has now published Small Towns, Big Issues which analyses three small towns in their hinterland. It highlights how mass automobility and permission for edge of town development make it difficult to realise the current planning ideal of compact centred towns. Official statistics and big data highlight the business model problems which limit in town redevelopment and the continued advantage of town centres as places of sociability. From this point of view, policies on edge of town use and development are as important as the business model conditions which will allow urban alliances to deliver a stream of social renewal projects.

Covid-19 Pandemic reports:

What Comes after the Pandemic? (March 2020) proposes a ten-point platform for foundational renewal after the pandemic; it is available in five languages and was  downloaded 15,000 times in the months after publication

When Systems Fail (June 2020) explains how and why NHS hospital and public laboratory systems lacked buffers and surge capacity. And, after hyper innovation, foundational renewal depends on a new kind of care-ful practice of policy

What matters (July 2020) is a short report, available in Welsh and English, based on a survey of a small North Welsh  town which shows how the early months of lock down brought the community together

Die Leistungsträgerinnen des Alltagslebens (November 2020) or The High Performers of Everyday Life from the Austrian members of the collective is about the key workers in foundational activities who,have kept things going by working through lock down, often at risk to their own lives.

Other recent reports on foundational systems

Enabling Renewal (February 2021) on vocational education and Welsh economic and social renewal. A further education system which serves business by certification has produced a Welsh workforce which is overqualified for the jobs available. Instead the report argues that further education campuses should assist with reforming labour demand by broadening occupational training, building workforce capabilities and coordinating local business communities.

Serious about Green (October 2020). our first major FE 2.0 report is about building a new resource reliance system, wood economy, where the carbon sequestration benefits of afforestation can be levered by a strategy of downstream value capture for higher value products. The report explains that this opportunity can only be realised through supply chain co-ordination which has been absent in Wales where strategic good intentions have not been carried through into planting and processing.

Some earlier reports since 2016

How an ordinary place works: understanding Morriston (May 2019) presents argument and evidence about a district town with a population of 30,000 just north of Swansea, It presents new evidence about a liveable, low income community formatted around car use where social infrastructure (like park, library and youth clubs) are valued highly by citizens

This report on a district town is part of our ongoing work on Wales which is represented by earlier reports on the sub regional and Welsh national levels. What Wales Can Do (2017) concerns the sub regional economy of the Swansea Bay area. This follows up an earlier report on the Welsh national economy, What Wales Could Be (2015). Commissioned by the Federation of Small Businesses (Wales), this 2015 report has had a major impact on the thinking of the political classes in Wales.

Two reports on the city region of Manchester are part of a broader concern with regional trajectories and innovative foundational service provision. policy.  From developer regeneration to civic futures (2018) sets Greater Manchester’s current choices in a historical context and argues that the city region is at the end of a trajectory of property led regeneration which has done very little for the mass of citizens. Our earlier Manchester transformed (2016) report was the first to document how a growth coalition of councils and property developers had promoted the overbuilding of 1-2 bed buy to let flats for young professionals in the city centre.

Other collective members are doing innovative work on their “home” regions. From Australia, we already have Peter Fairbrother’s report Doing things differently (2017) on regional strategy for Gippsland after brown coal. Collective members in Vienna and Brussels are involved in local debates and conflicts about land use which is a perennial big city issue.

Sectoral studies have been an important part of our output. Coming Back (2017) reported on the reshoring of UK textiles.  Previous U.K reports, like Where Does the Money Go (2016)  on adult residential care, report results from what are, effectively, ongoing group projects.

Scroll down to view and download a full list of reports in Chronological order

Small towns, Big Issues: aligning business models, organization, imagination (August 2021) Foundational Economy Research Ltd

Enabling Renewal: further education and Wales (February 2021) John Buchanan, Julie Froud, Mark Lang, Caroline Lloyd, Bruce Smith, Karel Williams

Die Leistungsträgerinnen des Alltagslebens (November 2020) or The High Performers of Everyday Life  Astrid Krisch, Andreas Novy, Leonhard Plank, Andrea E. Schmidt and Wofgang Blaas

What matters: a north Wales community in the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown (July 2020)  Lowri Cunnington Wynn, Julie Froud and Karel Williams

Serious about Green: Building a Welsh Wood Economy (October 2020), Foundational Economy Research Ltd

When Systems Fail: UK acute hospitals and public health after Covid-19 (June 2020), Julie Froud, Colin Haslam. Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams

What Comes after the Pandemic? – A ten-point platform for foundational renewal (March 2020) Foundational Economy Collective.

How an ordinary place works: understanding Morriston (May 2019) Luca Calafati, Jill Ebrey, Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams

From developer regeneration to civic futures Report (August 2018) Julie Froud, Mike Hodson, Andy McMeekin, Anne Stafford, Pam Stapleton, Hua Wei, Karel Williams

What Wales Can Do: Asset Based Policies and the Foundational Economy (June 2017) Joe Earle, Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal, Michael Moran and Karel Williams

Doing things differently: A strategy for the Gippsland region (April 2017) Amanda Coles, Peter Fairbrother, Natalie Jovanski, Fiona MacDonald, Val Prokopiv, Dominik Safari, Helen Scott and Karel Williams

Coming Back? Capability and Precarity in UK Textiles and Apparel (March 2017) Julie Froud, Steven Hayes, Hua Wei and Karel Williams

Manchester transformed: why we need a reset of city region policy (November 2016) Peter Folkman, Julie Froud, Sukdev Johal, John Tomaney and Karel Williams

Why we need social innovation in home care for older people (September 2016) Diane Burns, Joe Earle,Peter Folkman, Julie Froud, Paula Hyde, Sukhdev Johal, Ian Rees Jones, Anne Killett, Karel Williams

Where does all the money go? Financialised chains and the crisis in residential care. (March 2016) Diane Burns, Luke Cowie, Joe Earle, Peter Folkman, Julie Froud, Paula Hyde, Sukhdev Johal, Ian Rees Jones, Anne Killett, Karel Williams

What Wales could be (September 2015) Lucy Brill, Peter Folkman, Julie Froud, Sukdev Johal and Karel Williams