Rachel Reay “Decline, destruction and divides: beneath the surface of regeneration in seaside towns”

In Students by Debbie Curtis

  • Durham University
  • Sociology, Social Policy & Social Wor
  • rachel.reay@durham.ac.uk

Assessing the impacts of the Coastal Community Fund (2012-2021) and exploring community-led initiatives, my research will consider the balance between economic, social, environmental, political and cultural outcomes in seaside towns.  

Active citizenship, defined broadly as ‘action by residents to improve place and wellbeing’, will be explored as an alternative focus for regeneration policy.  Harvey’s concepts of ‘creative destruction’ and the ‘neo-liberal mask’ will be applied to the research, determining the extent of uneven development and hidden outcomes associated with regeneration at the local level.  This draws upon the Marxian mode of analysing society at two levels: firstly ‘what appears to be happening in seaside town regeneration’ will be identified through secondary data analysis and observation; and secondly, deeper narratives of ‘what is happening beneath the surface’, will be identified by adopting participatory methods with stakeholders involved in regeneration.  

Combining academic and stakeholder knowledge and practice, the research will explore how regeneration policy can evolve to encompass holistic outcomes.  Moving beyond the current approach of evaluating the funded phases of policy implementation, the research will develop guidance and resources to enable organisations to evaluate long-term impacts of regeneration.