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Issue 116: Autumn 2019

Building a new model

This issue of WHQ focuses on two themes that have moved quickly up the agenda for housing and regeneration in Wales: the foundational economy and decarbonisation.

Our cover story looks at the new ways of thinking about economic success represented by the foundational economy approach endorsed by Welsh Government.

With successful bids from the Foundational Economy Challenge Fund due to be announced later this month, Debbie Green explains how the idea is moving from theory to policy to practice.

Housing has a fair claim to have anticipated the foundational economy with the Can Do Toolkits approach that focussed on delivering benefits for local people and communities from the wave of investment that followed stock transfer. They are now getting the attention of a wider audience, say Keith Edwards and Elin Brock.

Illustrating the breadth of the new approach, Adrian Roper argues that foundational economy thinking can help to build a better social care system while Ellen Petts reports on how her social enterprise in the Rhondda is reusing commercial carpets, giving tenants affordable flooring and providing employability and training opportunities. We also hear from Y Prentis on its work to maximise community benefits.

However, the real test of foundational economy thinking is how it works on the ground. Debbie Green reports on how Coastal is applying it in its work in one community – Morriston in Swansea.

There is considerable crossover between the foundational economy and our other theme of decarbonisation because of the scale of the retrofit work involved in the recommendations of an independent review that Welsh Government has now accepted in principle.

Chris Jofeh, chair of the review, outlines why Wales should take a lead on climate change and what will be involved in residential decarbonisation.

Making that a reality involves coming to terms with the nature of the existing Welsh housing stock and what it will take to decarbonise it. Ed Green reports on research findings.

One crucial aspect of the programme will be how to scale up retrofit work. Steven Fawkes assesses lessons from around the world.

Turning to new homes, the latest in our series on the Innovative Housing Programme focuses on a project that aims to integrate proven renewable technologies into a familiar housing design.

Elsewhere in this issue, on top of all our regular features, we also look at the legacy of the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff and hear from three Welsh players and focus again on the debate on the right to housing.

Jules Birch, editor, WHQ

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