A key objective for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) was to develop meaningful relationships with key stakeholders across the housing system as broadly as possible from policymakers, practitioners, frontline staff, residents and other academics, to ensure that the work we do can help have a positive impact on policy and practice and to make evidence more accessible.
At the inaugural meeting of the North England and Midlands Knowledge Exchange Hub we ran a prioritisation workshop which brought participants together to participate in a deliberative exercise to identify key housing challenges for the north and midlands of England and ensure that CaCHE’s research agenda and knowledge exchange priorities reflected these.
Drawing on their varied perspectives and expertise, participants agreed that we should be working to develop an evidence-based narrative, setting out the rationale and making the case for investment in housing and placemaking that reflects the specific challenges and opportunities in the north and midlands of England. Participants resolved to develop this holistically, ensuring that views and perspectives of residents, tenants and communities, as well as policymakers, practitioners and frontline staff and should be included. It was agreed that we would adopt a place-based approach to our analysis, seeing housing as part of the local economic, physical and social infrastructure of places, and how they are connected. It was widely agreed that a narrative for housing and placemaking in the north and midlands of England needs to focus on the quality of existing stock and places as well as questions of new supply.
We have also determined five specific thematic priorities, which we believe are essential components of a sustainable housing system in the north and midlands. These are summarised in the diagram below:
It is recognised that this is a significant and ambitious task. Participants in the hub have been taking forward this agenda through three parallel workstreams, which address three interrelated questions:
- Who? Which communities and other interests have a stake in making a stronger case for housing and place? How can they be engaged?
- Where? How can we best understand and act on housing issues geographically? How do they relate to the economies, physical and social infrastructure of places, and how are they connected?
- What? What sort of housing do we need and should we be aiming for? What conditions need to be tackled?
We are always looking for other people to get involved in our work, highlight relevant studies and ongoing projects. We are always welcoming new participants, so please do get in touch if you are interested to find out more about the work we do and how you might be able to contribute.
The North England and Midlands Knowledge Exchange Hub is Chaired by Jo Boaden CBE and led by Prof Ed Ferrari of Sheffield Hallam University. Coordination and support is provided by Dr Gareth Young at the University of Sheffield (Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fellow, CaCHE).
For information about the Hub, or to express an interest in becoming involved, please contact Dr Gareth Young in the first instance.