Understanding Welsh Places


The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) worked with data provided by Cardiff University to develop interdependence modelling for the new Understanding Welsh Places website, which was launched in Cardiff today.

This follows on from our involvement in the development of the Understanding Scottish Places platform and CLES Senior Researchers David Burch and Matt Todd attended the launch of the site.

Understanding Welsh Places is a bilingual website coordinated by the Institute of Welsh Affairs that presents information on the economy, demographic make-up and local services of more than 300 places in Wales in a quick and easy format.

Funded by the Carnegie UK Trust, and the Welsh Government, Understanding Welsh Places will be a vital tool for community groups, planners and policy makers to understand towns in greater detail. This will enable more targeted support for communities across Wales.

The statistics will provide information on a wide range of topics including the number of school places, shops and charities in the area, employment, commuting distances, national identity, and the number of Welsh speakers.

As well as exploring data about individual places, people can compare towns and find out about their place’s relationship with nearby towns across Wales. The aim is to encourage people to build relationships across community boundaries, to share ideas and to better understand the relationship between towns.

While other data websites present information at a local authority level, Understanding Welsh Places allows people to analyse statistics of every place in Wales with more than 2,000 residents.

At the launch of the website in Cardiff Bay, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said:

“I was pleased to attend this event today and have an opportunity to view this new impressive website. Its capability to aggregate data on more than 300 places and present it in an easy-to-use format is no mean feat. Too often data and statistics can act as a barrier to learning, so it is refreshing to see such an engaging and interactive tool. Supporting town centres is the cornerstone of our regeneration activities. Our towns have inspiring histories and their own story to tell.
Listening to the people here today has reinforced my belief the solution lies in supporting these many efforts to diversify, evolve and adapt. We want to work with those who have a passion in our communities to drive forward change.”

Auriol Miller, Director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, said, “Too often, town communities are overlooked by public policy and this is because of the lack of data available at that level. Understanding Welsh Places will enable people living in these communities to better understand their area and ensure that local planners, activists, businesses and charities have the right information. We’re adding even more to the website over the next year, such as extra environmental data and information about local cultural activity, and we’re excited to see the positive difference this brings to communities across Wales.”

Jennifer Wallace, Head of Policy at the Carnegie UK Trust, said: “How we live together in towns matters not only to our own wellbeing, but also to our community wellbeing. This new platform recognises that towns have varying needs and therefore require different services and resources. Each town has a unique identity, and this is how we need to think about places when we design services, invest, and innovate. We hope that the new data presented will help those in towns plan for their future and build relationships with similar places across Wales.”

CLES are delighted that the platform has now launched and recognise the hard work of the partnership that have developed the tool. We recognise that there is work to do improve the functionality and utility of the tool, and this will be the focus of the second iteration of the tool in 2020. We hope that the tool provides accessible data for communities to be able to understand their place, and more importantly to empower them to take action around local priorities that they are passionate about. This is how the success of the project should be judged.

The new website can be accessed at www.understandingwelshplaces.wales and a Welsh language version is available at www.dealllleoeddcymru.cymru.

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