The presentation introduces a distinctive approach to understanding how places work which rejects per capita GVA criteria and policies of “making the economy work”. It focuses instead on well-being in a new framework about the drivers of foundational liveability which is illustrated from recent work on residual income by UK region and a study of Morriston, a district town outside Swansea. The immediate concern is to challenge the distinction between successful and unsuccessful places and the condescending description of many ordinary places as “left behind”. The foundational approach highlights how housing tenure and house prices determine residual income and wealth accumulation within and between regions where reliance systems and social infrastructure are always locally important. A place marketing concept of liveability has been widely used to rank world cities and major UK towns; by way of contrast the foundational concept of liveability opens a new policy agenda about new kinds of place specific intervention in ordinary places.
This continues the work of the foundational economy collective whose most recent book is available as Foundational Economy (MUP, 2018), Economia Fundamentale (Einaudi, 2019) and Die Okonomie des Alltagslebens (Suhrkamp, 2019). The research draws on a public interest report on Morriston and a working paper on foundational liveability by Luca Calafati, Jill Ebrey, Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams. Both are available on the foundationaleconomy.com web site.