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Shaping Public Policy

Research in the School often informs public policy and as a result, has a direct impact on people's lives.

Exploring co-housing: new ways of living in later life

One of the challenges presented by an ageing population is how can older people maintain a good independence and quality of life, within this housing is very critical. Traditionally older people have been faced with a limited number of options: staying in their family home, moving to smaller accommodation, moving to supported accommodation such as sheltered housing or, for those experiencing greater frailty, extra care housing. Through a piece of work  starting in November, older people in Newcastle may in the future have an enlarged housing offer that includes co-housing which is a successful model of living found in the United States and also in Scandinavia. In co-housing people have individual accommodation but they also have a common house in which they come together to cook and eat and sometimes to share crafts and hobbies. The essential quality of co-housing is that it is self managed and that older people maintain independence by a system of mutual reciprocity.

By pooling together their beacon theme leader funds, Rose Gilroy (APL) and Lynne Corner (Faculty of Medical Science) in partnership with Newcastle Elders Council have been able to fund a series of workshops with older people and key actors in finance, legal, social care/health and housing/planning sectors to explore the opportunities and the potential issues that co-housing raises. Newcastle City Council has made a commitment to take co-housing forward if it can be seen as a viable option for older people. The results of the research will be published in spring 2012 and an event is planned to coincide with the year of the societal challenge in social renewal.

From Park to Club: Youth, Alcohol and PlaceFrom Park to Club Image

Although increased alcohol consumption amongst young people has been attributed to a number of different factors, there are significant regional variations in England and Wales. Three concepts have been put forward that may explain place-based variations. These are firstly the opportunities to drink on the one hand and conversely, the lack of opportunity to take part in other forms of leisure and entertainment. Secondly the regulatory environment as in, for example planning, licensing and policing, mediates opportunity with regard to both premises and behaviour. Finally the cultural capital and circumstances of the young people themselves will also influence their responses to direct and indirect inducements to drink, whether it be in a park, club or bar. Whilst different studies have investigated aspects of each of these concepts, there has been little or no attempt to understand their interrelationship, as framed by specific places.

This £150K project, led by Professor Marion Roberts of University of Westminster in partnership with Tim Townshend of GURU, SAPL, aims to investigate the influence of local variation in youth drinking practices, with regard to opportunities, regulation and cultural capital. The research is highly relevant to central government policies towards place making, alcohol harms and criminal justice. It has local relevance for policy makers in planning, licensing, enforcement, youth services and health.

Simin Davoudi's research on Waste Management

Professor Davoudi's research has been cited as a case study in the ESRC Strategic Plan 2009-2014 'Delivering Impact Through Social Science'. It says: "How Britain disposes of its waste has become an urgent issue. Research led by Professor Simin Davoudi has been instrumental in shaping government policy on waste management by investigating how policy and political pressures are influencing current processes across England. The findings have been central to new government guidance on waste policy. Both the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have responded by strengthening the role of regions in developing waste planning policy."

Carlos Calderon's Evaluating Climate Change Mitigation Measures at City Scale Carbon roadmap plans

Overwhelming evidence indicates that climate change is a serious and urgent issue.  Furthermore, this rapid change is mainly a result of increases in greenhouse activities by human activities. (Stern, 2007). The Stern Review highlights that managing the transition from high carbon to a low carbon economy is a key stage in the process.  The Review estimates that the cost of no action is at least 5% of global GDP each year.  However, if a wider range of risks and impacts are taken into account, this estimate could rise to 20% or more. 

This project will establish and implement a long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (measured as carbon) in Newcastle upon Tyne. It provides an interface between civic action and academia, coupling practical and pragmatic carbon reduction with technical insight and rigor. The project will deliver a comprehensive carbon footprint of the city. Integrated roadmap ‘plans’ will then be developed to reduce carbon emissions across all public, commercial, industrial, transport and domestic sectors. The project will strengthen and build upon existing partnerships, between Newcastle University, the Council, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), CarbonNeutral Newcastle (CNN), and Newcastle Science City. This high standard of city-wide carbon management will become a beacon to other cities.