Are neighbourhoods dynamic or are they slothful? The limited prevalence and extent of change in neighbourhood socio-economic status, and its implications for regeneration policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes what we know about neighbourhood change, and regeneration policy intended to encourage it, using the example of the past 15 years in England. Then it introduces new data on unemployed and middle-class residents as a proportion of all residents in all neighbourhoods in England and Wales over the periods 1985–2005 and 2001–2011. Neighbourhoods are generally slothful rather than dynamic. Thus, we should expect significant change for significant numbers of neighbourhoods only over the long term, and longer time periods than standard for regeneration policy time. This provides important new context for policymaking and evaluation. In this context, we could see the best of neighbourhood regeneration as remarkably successful in creating measureable change against the odds, and as a very valuable part of public policy. Alternatively, we could also see neighbourhood regeneration policy as generally doomed to fail to transform the relative position of neighbourhoods, and as not worth pursuing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-784
Issue number5
Early online date25 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

© Informa, 2016. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • urban regeneration
  • socio-economic status
  • neighbourhoods

Cite this