Research Strategy

Land is one of our most fundamental resources and its management is one of the key social, economic and environmental justice issues of our times – whether for dealing with climate change, tackling poverty, or creating a more sustainable food system. However, land is rarely discussed in the UK, and most people know little about it. This means we need to find ways to popularise the evidence around historic and current land use, and create powerful narratives about how we use, manage and make decisions about land that capture imaginations. For this reason, Shared Assets thinks it is vital to undertake and communicate research on land, in order to:

  • Raise awareness and develop an evidence base about land, and the ways it links to many other key issues we’re facing as a society, amongst people involved in land work, policy makers and funders, and the wider public 
  • Bring to light some of the challenges people who work with the land, or those who would like to, have to deal with to survive in the sector
  • Put forward or test potential solutions to these problems, or new models for managing land

We prioritise research which is participatory, practical, and pressing – read more about our Research Approach here.

Shared Assets contributes to land-based research in two main ways:

  • We work alongside communities involved in working on the land to help us collectively understand the challenges and opportunities the common good land sector offers to address some of the systemic issues mentioned above.
  • We offer bespoke consultancy services and respond to tenders for clients interested in finding out more about a specific issue related to the land in their work.

By undertaking research in both these spheres, we seek to create the conditions in which people using or stewarding land for the common good can thrive, through making an impact at a local and a systemic level. You can see details of our current research projects, and ways to get involved, here.

We are interested in applying our skills and experience as part of any research project, partnership, bid or consortium looking at the intersection of land issues with those of communities, local economies, social justice or the environment. Some key areas we have identified with our peers as useful for research currently include:

  • Community organising around land use
  • Community accountability in practice (i.e. governance and decision making with respect to land use)
  • The different business models at work in the sector (specifically to better understand their potential to scale and the conditions that need to be in place to sustain repayable finance)
  • Volunteering in the land sector (its ethics, opportunities and complexities)
  • The life cycles of community land projects, to understand how learning from those no longer active can be carried forward, and to calculate more comprehensively their impact on the local economy/links to community wealth building
  • The benefits of public land and the potential to increase its social, economic and environmental value for a local area

We would be delighted to hear from people interested in developing, collaborating on, or funding research with Shared Assets. Get in touch at research@sharedassets.org.uk with your idea or proposal, and we’ll be happy to have a chat.