Social Integration and Regeneration Learning Network: evaluation report

Stirbu, Diana, Prior, Alex and Zschomler, Silke (2021) Social Integration and Regeneration Learning Network: evaluation report. Project Report. London Metropolitan University, London.


This is an evaluation report for the Social Integration and Regeneration Learning Network, a programme commissioned by the Mayor of London in 2020 and delivered by London Metropolitan University between September 2020 and April 2021.

The built environment is key to creating socially integrated cities. The Mayor of London wants the city to be a beacon for genuine social integration. This means giving people more chances to connect with each other in positive and meaningful ways; enabling Londoners to play an active part in their communities and the decisions that affect them; and reducing the barriers and inequalities between us, so that Londoners can relate to each other as equals.

Accessible, well-designed buildings; public realm; and the people, communities and services that operate in these spaces are integral to this ambition. London’s neighbourhoods, high streets and public spaces provide Londoners with the opportunity to meet people and build relationships with those different to themselves; become involved in their local communities through volunteering, sports or civic participation; and access support and services that help tackle inequality. If we do not plan, design and manage it well, the built environment can serve to separate and isolate.

Local authorities hold vital levers to create socially integrated communities. Through their services, spaces and funding, they can create opportunities for Londoners to share experiences. Through planning and regeneration, they also have a key role in shaping the places that matter most to us.

COVID-19 has further demonstrated the importance of well-designed community space to the health, wellbeing and resilience of Londoners in times of crisis. As we move from response to longer-term recovery, and face the challenges of reduced funding and competing land claims, it is crucial that policymakers keep a laser focus on how the built environment supports and builds a stronger, more socially integrated city that all Londoners can call home.

Over the last four years the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its commissioned partners Snook, New Economics Foundation (NEF) Consulting and London Metropolitan University have made significant progress in this space. From 2018 to 2019 we ran the Social Integration Design Labs, a programme that brought together 17 local authorities that wanted to lead innovative regeneration practices to promote social integration in their local areas. The Labs provided a stimulating space to design, test and share interventions that support a more socially integrated London.

We also published our Connective Social Infrastructure report (2021), which provides an evidence base and best practice examples; and sets out, through actions and design tactics, how policymakers and those involved in the design and delivery of social infrastructure can realise social integration.

The Social Integration and Regeneration Learning Network builds on this programme of work, creating a space for all London boroughs and other social integration and regeneration professionals to share knowledge. This report shows how the network helped to build participants’ confidence and capacity to embed social integration principles into their work on regeneration and the importance of cross-sector collaboration.

SIRLN_Report_Final.pdf - Published Version

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