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  • Ecosystems and Rural Hub Towns

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Enhancing the Value of Rural Towns through Ecosystem Interventions: A report for the Local Enterprise Partnerships of Lancashire and Cumbria, to inform ecosystem approaches to place-based policy

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsCommissioned report

Publication date30/04/2021
Number of pages28
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This in-depth case study of a Rural Hub Town delivers new evidence for place makers, with insights that have resonance across the 182 Hub Towns in England. As the UK government performs its ‘pivot to towns’ through multiple strands of place-based policy, we need to better understand these critical sites. Hub Towns, as identified by DEFRA and the ONS, play a critical role at the nexus of urban and rural economies and society, and need to be better studied and understood.
We break new ground by unpacking the ways in which economy, culture and environment can come together to support thriving communities and economic growth in Hub Towns. Building on a robust core of academic research, we draw together a substantial body of data including 49 interviews with key stakeholders in a single town, along with public engagement data (collected by the District Council) constituting the comments and feedback from 1,663 individuals and organisations.
By studying the entire rural town ecosystem, we reveal how Place Value is created. Furthermore, we propose two economic, one cultural, and one environment related intervention that each deliver significant, cascading benefits through the town and its rural hinterland. Taken together, these interventions represent a cohesive approach to Rural Hub Town development, applicable in this site, whilst offering a start point for ecosystem-level research and policy making across the other Hub Towns.