Exploring place-based opportunities for policy and practice in transition

Project Title

Exploring place-based opportunities for policy and practice in transition

Lead Researchers

Niamh Moore-Cherry & Alma Clavin


John Tomaney, University College London, UK
Tamara Krawchenko, University of Victoria, Canada


National Economic and Social Council

This project explores regional development, particularly of rural areas, with a focus on the potential of a co-created, place-based approach to policy and practice to enhance rural policy, sustainable development, regional development and support a shared island agenda in Ireland.

The potential for adopting co-design methodologies to support place-based sustainable regional development in support of a just transition is a particular focus of the project. International experience would suggest that spatial inequalities at a national scale can be mitigated by promoting more sustainable and inclusive growth, grounded in a place-based approach that fosters and values community wealth building and the building of community-based coalitions. 

Through three very different case studies – north Leitrim, the Inishowen peninsula and the town of Kilbeggan –  we develop insights from a variety of stakeholders and our community co-creation mapping process on what a just transition to a less carbon intensive economy might look like. Drawing on the capabilities approach and ideas from emerging literature on the foundational economy, we develop academic insights into, and lessons for policy and practice on, how quality of life and wellbeing must become central to our attempts to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises.  

JT framework

Key Findings/Lessons

  • There is an urgent need to enhance local capabilities through re-skilling, training and digital connectedness.
  • Engage meaningfully with communities through co-creation to define what just transition means in their specific context and to address immediate issues, such as housing, through a just transition lens.
  • Reimagine the urban-rural relationship and then supported it through policy, practice and funding streams that stimulate new opportunities for rural enterprise, aligned to the revitalisation of rural towns.
  • Prioritise significant innovation in central, regional and local government with dedicated senior leadership and accountability mechanisms is required.
  • Equality-proof new environmental projects to ensure that quality of life and societal wellbeing is balanced with environmental objectives.
  • Develop bespoke just transition initiatives responding to the particular nature and timing of transitions and potential in different geographical areas.
  • Audit all data that can usefully support a just transition to ensure that sufficient, quality data at the appropriate scale and time intervals is available to monitor the impact of particular interventions.

Project Outputs

Place-based opportunities

Exploring place-based opportunities for policy and practice in transition

Exploring place-based opportunities for policy and practice in transition

Moore-Cherry, N., Clavin, A., Krawchenko, T. and Tomaney, J.