Our vision and research themes

Our research is framed through what we see as the triple emergencies. This framing is crucial and sets us apart from many other groups and networks.

We know that change has to be urgent and transformational, and we recognize the scale of the task. The triple emergencies are:

  • Nature, species, and habitat loss
  • Social and economic inequalities
  • Climate

We recognize the interconnections and interrelationships between various challenges and the triple emergencies, and the differential impact on different social groups.

We take a transdisciplinary approach, which allows us to engage across issues with the complexity of transformative change. We recognize the unique problems of our time – balancing pace with transformation, urgency with justice and participation. 

Our focus

Based on interventions involving deep engagement that aim for transformative system change embedded in principles of equality, justice, and participation, we focus on:

  • New forms of democratic management, ownership and control, so that places can manage their futures.
  • System change and interconnection.
  • Experimentation and ‘test and learn’ interventions.
  • A collaborative approach to place-making – including researchers, public sector, civic leaders, and business.
  • Co-production and action research.
  • Playfulness, hope, and imagination.
  • New ways of measuring and evaluating, drawing on ideas like doughnut economics, sustainable development goals, planetary boundaries  
  • Translation of complex ideas to facilitate effective communication and action.
  • Internationalism – drawing on, learning from and connecting to activities across the world and decolonizing our world views and practices.

Core themes

We want to see system change across a number of key place-based areas that make up a good life. These include:

  • Mobility – reducing car dependency and creating easier, greener, more local travel options for accessible and affordable transport.
  • Community economies – new forms of local prosperity and employment based on a greater social or foundational economy, such as fairer distribution of wealth, investment in local infrastructure and services, and circular economy.
  • Food – a new approach that brings people together, repairs nature,and ensures food is accessible, nutritious and affordable.
  • Energy – zero/low carbon, affordable, sustainable, owned and controlled by cities, places and the people who use them.
  • Housing – new forms of community-led homes that can transform places – such as co-ops, co-housing, land trusts as a means to developing sustainable, affordable and accessible housing that meets diverse needs.
  • Nature – restoration, regeneration, rewilding, inter-species and ethics.

Our vision

We want to:

  • Open up and nurture new transdisciplinary capacity and research agendas, skills and expertise.
  • Support and train researchers to be transdisciplinary change makers who can engage with place-based coalitions, make connections across systems and ensure actions and ideas meet the scale of the emergencies we foreground.
  • Create a repository of stories to show that change is possible.
  • Test our approach with place-based coalitions right now to make real change.
  • Blueprint an approach that we can use and share to engage with place-based coalitions across many contexts.
  • Explore and disseminate the key concepts, methods and practices that underpin our work.
  • Create a theory of change – a pattern or direction of how we see change happening.
  • Develop and seek funding for new research projects that support our work.

Become a part of our network

Find out how you can get involved as an academic, researcher or partner.

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