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February 2023

Review refresh: Places, spaces, and social connections

Review refresh: Places, spaces, and social connections
In partnership with

The quick read

In 2018 we published a review of the changes made to community places and spaces that are designed to boost social relations and individual and community wellbeing.

Five years on, we have refreshed the review demonstrating how the evidence base has grown. Its findings were combined with those of the original review.

We found:

  1. Strong evidence for community hubs and community development improving social relations, individual and community wellbeing (evidence was moderate in 2018 review)
  2. Many interventions brought about both positive and negative impacts on wellbeing – for instance, local events can improve community wellbeing for many but have a detrimental impact on those they exclude (as also found in Different People, Same Place).
  3. The number of studies in this evidence base has doubled in five years. (51 included papers from 2017-2022; 51 included studies from 1997-2016).

The refresh provides greater differentiation between types of interventions and their impact on wellbeing and social relations.

The refresh was conducted by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with the University of Liverpool, and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Close The quick read


The study

What did we find?

Community hubs

Community events

Neighbourhood design

Green and blue space


Alternative use of space

Urban regeneration

Community empowerment


Research implications

Recommendations for action

Suggested citation

Further resources


You may also wish to read the blog article on this document.

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