By Stephen Syrett
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The work of the New Economics Foundation (NEF, 2002, 2005), for example, has sought to promote ways of increasing the circulation of money within a local economy through attracting in investment and reducing rates of outflow of money and resources. Such approaches also include a central commitment to the longer-term environmental sustainability of the development model, pointing out that locally based self-reliant economies provide a route towards a more environmentally sustainable future through promoting people to live, work, produce and consume more closely together and discouraging longer-distance supply chains for food and other basic resources.
Finally, although the IMD identifies deprivation at the small scale it is unable to say anything about the nature of the problem. While such an analysis permitted the identification of small-scale ‘pockets’ of labour market deprivation, it also amply demonstrated the limitations of such an approach. Such maps of localised worklessness were in fact little more than maps of the distribution of public/social housing. Merely mapping localised economic deprivation provides only very limited insights into the nature of the phenomena and how it is embedded within the wider economic development process.
Given that the economic problems experienced within deprived neighbourhoods reflect wider socioeconomic processes (for example in terms of deindustrialisation, rising inequality, labour market segmentation and so on), it might seem appropriate that the problems of such areas are addressed through mainstream programmes and policies. But deprived neighbourhoods are not merely empty spaces within which these wider processes are played out, but partially constitute these processes of change. Therefore the particular characteristics of a given place and the manner in which they are embedded within wider local/regional economies matter and policy responses must therefore be responsive to such local difference.