RACHEL LAURENCE

What I am working on at the moment

I lead the New Economics Foundation’s work on transforming how the economy works for communities: that includes working with many small community partnerships on community economic development approaches in their neighbourhoods, but equally, working with regional level policy makers about how our broader approach to ‘growth’, infrastructure, business and investment does or doesn’t end up providing the kind of system we all want to be able to live in.

I am based in London, but my work is based around the whole of the UK, and I’m mostly to be found in a community centre, a local authority meeting room, the back of a local shop, a town hall, an empty warehouse, a school, or one of the many other amazing spaces incubating new community economic models these days.

Why I wanted to join the Participatory City Global Advisory

I am fascinated by what Participatory City has tested, explored and achieved, and think it holds the keys to so many questions my work grapples with: what does it look and feel like to live in a place? How do our communities engage with their local economies, why does our economic system seem to prevent many communities from functioning in the way they want to, and how do you change that from the bottom up?

A little bit about my background

Before coming to NEF I worked on child poverty policy, programmes and campaigns with place based community and voluntary organisations as well as local authorities. This grew out of many years working directly as a participation practitioner, running youth participation and community campaigning programmes both in London and in Manchester, around child rights, poverty and inequality, and refugee and migration issues, with stints doing welfare rights advice and community development work.