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Growth for all along the A13?

Map of much of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham from Google EarthThis project, “Growth for all along the A13?”, is an in-depth exploration of growth, development and change in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, an area hailed as London’s “growth opportunity” and undergoing substantial change.

It is led by Dr Dan Taylor, Lecturer in Social and Political Thought in POLIS, with support from Dr Peter Wood, Consultant in Geography for The Open University.

In this page you can watch or read the project callout and find out more about the background of the research.

Researching Growth and Change in East London

Personal Connection

Having spent years supporting people with disabilities in Barking and Dagenham, Dan is passionate about the borough. Now, working with colleagues and the BBC, he’s focused on generating ideas to enhance people’s lives nationwide. In 2023, he was selected as a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker for my research in the A13 area.

Project Focus

Our focus is the A13 corridor, a key route that connects the traditional East End to South Essex through London’s historic and modern docks and industrial areas. These areas have typically faced high levels of unemployment and deprivation, but there have been significant efforts in recent years to stimulate inclusive growth. The borough of Barking and Dagenham, for example, has seen transformative change with the redevelopment of Barking Town Centre, the Gascoigne Estate, and new neighbourhoods at Barking Riverside and Beam Park. More change is on the horizon, from the new film studios at Dagenham East to the proposed A13 tunnel.

Aims and Methods

We want to explore and evaluate these changes at a critical time for the borough. With funding for some community initiatives coming to an end, and with mounting pressure on the local authority budget, we want to hear from around 20 residents across the borough. Our goal is to understand your thoughts about these developments, how they’ve impacted you, and what you’d like to see in the future. We’ll use interviews, focus groups, and reflective tasks to explore the meaning of "growth" in the context of place, lived experiences, and regional inequalities.

Why Your Participation Matters

Your participation can guide our research and contribute to national discussions about growth and regeneration. The insights gained will help inform a larger study across multiple boroughs.

Rewards for Participation

To thank you for your time, we will offer you an Amazon gift card of up to £40 if you are able to complete an interview, a short reflective task and a focus group. If you have time just for the interview, it would be a £20 Amazon gift card as a token of appreciation.

Project Outputs

The initial outputs will include two reports evaluating growth strategies and drawing from the interviews to understand what works and what can be improved. Dan is also writing a new book about the big social challenges facing the UK over the next decade in which this research will feature prominently. We want to use residents’ ideas and input to better understand what works well, what are the key issues, and what the rest of the UK can learn from the borough of Barking and Dagenham.

If you’re interested or have questions, please get in touch with Dan Taylor . We also encourage you to share this page with others who might be interested.

Ethics Approval

This research project has been reviewed by, and received a favourable opinion, from The Open University Human Research Ethics Committee – HREC reference number 4759/Taylor. 

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