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Place, Community and Connection in the Fens

Painting of green space

A project led by Dr Dan Taylor, with support from Lorena Hodgson, Dr Peter Wood and colleagues across the Open University

What does it mean to live in a “good place”?

What kinds of things do you need to feel like where you live is somewhere you can live a good life?

Read more about our project below and how you can get involved – or skip down and watch the film.

What’s it all about?

Over 2024 and beyond, we’ve been commissioned by the Open University’s Open Societal Challenges competition to understand place, community and connection in one beautiful, fascinating part of England, the Fens. This delightfully flat and historic part of the world produces much of the UK’s food, and has been a vital contributor to skilled industries and European trade. Today, the story is changing. Market towns like Wisbech and Boston, and the small city of Peterborough, are facing new challenges, from the supply of infrastructure and national investment, to changes in work, changes in shopping habits and our high streets, to government cutbacks and the cost-of-living crisis, the supply of affordable good quality housing, to the changes that have come from immigration from across Europe and indeed the south of England. Yet these are places where communities are strong, where brilliant, civic-minded local people are taking it into their hands to bring people together, support one another, and champion the identities of where they live.

Map of eastern England, showing position of the Fens along with the major settlements within it
Photo credit: Wikipedia

To get a deeper understanding of place, infrastructure and community here, we’d like to talk with as many people living in Wisbech, Boston and Peterborough as we can. We want to hear from you the experts about what the strengths and challenges are of where you live. We believe that the rest of the UK can come and learn about the good things happening here as well as the policy solutions we might need to adapt to a changing world.

Imagine you were taking the Prime Minister on a walk around where you live. What makes this place a good place to live? What challenges do you encounter day to day? What can we do about them, together? What can government, local and national, do to help? What power would you like to have in your life, and in your communities, to make things better?

We’re planning to produce a report and short film at the end of 2024 and we’d love your input.

Get involved

If you’ve got the time, we’d love to talk with you. Watch our very short films below about how you can get involved in Peterborough, Wisbech and Boston. Take a look at our information leaflet. Send Dan an email to find out more.  


Painting of Peterborough market place


Painting of Boston marketplace. Photo Credit: Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network (CCAN)


Painting of Wisbech – Brink 2.  Photo Credit: Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network (CCAN)

Thank you

Our thanks to the many, many people who have given us their time so far. The list would be too long to fit on a page, but special thanks so far go to Lorena Hodgson and Wisbech Eco Hub, the Rosmini Centre Wisbech, the Boston Lithuanian Community, Fishtoft 400, Jay Gearing, and Metal Peterborough. And the many anonymised people we’ve had the pleasure to interview so far. This list will grow. Thank you.

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