Assembling Newtown – Survey Report

In September 2016 Aberystwyth University conducted a rapid face-to-face survey of residents of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn, in Powys, Wales. These involved indepth discussions of on average 45-60 minutes with 162 residents (supplemented by an additional 72 shorter surveys). The report below provides a summary of some of the findings as they relate to Newtown.  We do not claim statistical representativeness but we hope it provides some useful insight and data that the town can use as it navigates a new period of economic and political change.

Key points:

Broadly speaking residents of Newtown seem to like it! It is a nice place to live and there is a reasonable level of satisfaction with many aspects of town life. It provides basic services for the community, appears to have a good degree of social cohesion and seems outward looking and engaged with wider issues beyond the immediate area. Overall people seem optimistic about its future. It also seems the town has, or is developing a ‘do it ourselves’ culture, evidenced by initiatives such as Newtown Unlimited, the town council led Big Lottery Fund proposals, and efforts to proactively plan a post-bypass future.

Like many “New Town’s”, Newtown does face challenges. It has some divisions; the needs of some areas may be masked by the relative affluence of others and some people are quite pessimistic about the future. The provision of services is a major issue for many – most starkly around healthcare, but more generally over the decline in other services in the town – reflecting wider rural concerns. There is an underlying concern about economic decline, specifically the availability of good quality jobs and the lack of opportunities for younger people.

Included in the report are sections covering:

  • Local perceptions of the town
  • The sense of community
  • Site specific requests for enhancements
  • The tourism offer
  • Views on globalisation
  • Hopes and fears for the future

Whilst written for Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn specifically rural researchers might find material of relevance and interest.

Please feel free to download the report and share as appropriate.

> > NEWTOWN & LLANLLWCHAIARN REPORT < <

“Assembling Globalization” – Call for Papers: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference – September 2015

This call for papers for the RGS-IBG Annual Conference seeks contributions that explore globalization and its impacts through the application of assemblage approaches in human geography.

The concept of assemblage has been deployed from various theoretical positions to examine; new translocal and transnational social, economic and environment complexes and relationships (Hollander, 2010; Li, 2014; Rankin, 2008), diasporic communities and networks (Mullings, 2012), translocal forms of organizing (Featherstone, 2011), the repositioning of cities with global networks (Sassen, 2006) and the involvement of ‘global assemblages’ in negotiating technological and ethical challenges (Collier and Ong, 2005). However, whilst these studies have illuminated particular dimensions of globalization, few efforts have been made to apply assemblage thinking in a systematic manner to a coherent, critical analysis of globalization as process. Such an endeavour has the potential to extend the relational analyses of globalization pioneered by Amin and Massey, drawing especially on the emphases within Deleuzian and Foucauldian-informed renderings of assemblage theory of dynamism, contingency, relationality, hybridity and territorialisation.

The session therefore seeks to bring together papers applying assemblage thinking to the study of globalization to formulate a dialogue around this proposed research agenda. Contributions are invited that employ assemblage thinking to the investigation of any aspect of globalization and its impacts, including – but not limited to – global economic and social relations, corporate networks, migration, new technologies, global environmental change, alter-globalization movements and translocal political action, and the renegotiation of community and the restructuring of place in the context of globalization. Contributions that approach assemblage from Deleuzian, Foucaldian, Latourian or other conceptual framings, utilising qualitative and/or quantitative methods, and drawn from any geographical context (urban/rural, global north/global south) are encouraged.

Proposals for papers, with a title, a short abstract of 250 words and your full contact details, should be sent to one the co-organisers by 5pm on Monday 16th February 2015:

Session organisers: Laura Jones (lgj@aber.ac.uk), Marc Welsh (maw@aber.ac.uk), Michael Woods (m.woods@aber.ac.uk).