Research and Intelligence

Places Research

About us 

Thinking spatially about the regional economy is the key to developing new ideas and ways of connecting both at the local and global scale. This region is very diverse geographically, socially and environmentally, for example Cumbria is a predominantly rural sub-region, Greater Manchester in contrast is home to the regions largest city, is predominantly urban and contributes 40% of regional GVA.

It is becoming increasingly important to take a broader view on why places matter, through how the differing economies interact. Indeed, one of the fundamental drivers behind Local and Multi Area Agreements is the notion that geographically discrete places can often share common interests and therefore present many opportunities for economic growth as well as shared social and environmental benefits.

The RIU has undertaken work to examine places and their potential as part of developing our economic understanding of the region and preparing the evidence base for the development of a regional strategy. The work analyses the potential for growth at Northwest local authority level and building this up to functional geographies by examining interactions between places. One of the main purposes of this work is to help to assess the role played by place in shaping and influencing the economy of the Northwest and give a better understanding of the functional economic geography of the region.

This project aimed to examine places and their potential as part of developing our economic, social and environmental understanding of the region and provides an assessment of the characteristics of places in the Northwest, their future potential and inter-relationship with each other. An expert Technical Advisory Group (TAG) undertook work to examine places and their potential as part of developing our economic understanding of the region. The work develop and analyse the potential for growth at a functional geography level. It will help develop characterisations or a typology for places and provide a basis for understanding roles and issues around businesses, people and infrastructure. The TAG will be informing and developing the methodology, through delivery of peer review, technical and statistical expertise and delivering ad hoc support to the RIU to enable them implement the methodology and repeat it.


Spatial Evidence Study:
This research study was commissioned by the NWDA to establish the spatial patterns of economic performance in the North West region. This will be used to inform the debate on key policy issues and the development of the single integrated Regional Strategy, which will replace the existing Regional Economic Strategy (RES) and Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). The main purpose of this research is, therefore, to develop a robust evidence base to inform the development of the spatial priorities for growth and development and the selection and testing of strategic options for the single integrated Regional Strategy.

The research involves a major multivariate statistical analytical exercise of a range of area development indicators and GIS visualisation methods are used to present the spatial distribution patterns of local authority areas across the region.  The analysis focuses on four key components of regional economic development which are past performance, recent development trends, deprivation and spatial context and accessibility and spatial dynamics.