A major theme for the Institute is the relationship between problems of poverty, deprivation and policies for social inclusion and the local urban setting, particularly the neighbourhood but also the wider housing and labour market. We are particularly engaged with the place dimensions of poverty and disadvantage and with developing the notion of social sustainability in urban development and regeneration.
This theme within I-SPHERE takes forward the work of CRSIS, the Centre for Research into Socially Inclusive Services, which worked from 2000 onwards to promote the concept and practice of social inclusion in the provision and consumption of local public and private services. It aimed to raise awareness and intelligence about issues of service inclusion in deprived communities in the face of rapid economic and technological change, and in the context of policies to promote social justice and urban regeneration.
The work of CRSIS has focused on particular service areas including financial services/inclusion and retail services, as well as the more general range of local government provided services. Over time there was a particular focus on children/young people and education, and there has been significant recent work on local environmental services and local public/green space, linked to wider research programmes on sustainable urban form, and the burgeoning of potentially significant work on health and wellbeing. Some work looks at poverty more generally, including the distribution of income and wealth, and this is often linked to housing issues, for example affordability, debt or fuel poverty.