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How do people feel about the places they live in?


Community Dynamics is a prototype platform that maps data that predicts how people are likely to feel about where they live. Our aim is to complement the data commonly used by local agencies - information about deprivation, crime, public health - with data that tells us how people experience everyday life in local neighbourhoods.

This prototype website focuses on London only, however our method can be applied to the whole of the UK. Our ambition is to build a more advanced site that will allow us to display all of these maps. We want to work with everyone involved in shaping places to understand how this type of data can support decision-making.

Community Dynamics is a pilot project to map selected data from the Understanding Society Survey  to Output Areas, small geographic areas, using the Office for National Statistics' Output Area Classifications (OACs). The maps allow different council areas to be explored, and within this individual wards.

Social sustainability

Data has been selected that reflects different aspects of social sustainability. Social Life’s social sustainability framework is set out in our report “Design for Social Sustainability”. More on our approach to mapping data is in our report “Understanding Local Areas”. 

Subjective data

Compared to other countries our lives in the UK are well researched and quantified but much of this data remains inaccessible to local agencies and to residents. Subjective data about peoples' perceptions of places can tell us whether communities are thriving, as well as how residents experience problems like debt and mental ill health.

Data sources

The Understanding Society Survey – supported by the UK government and research councils - generates rich data about how people feel about the areas they live in. This includes their relationships with neighbours, whether they feel they belong, whether they feel they have control and influence over their local neighbourhoods and their overall quality of life. The Understanding Society Survey is the largest longitudinal survey of its kind. It is repeated annually.

About Social Life


Social Life is an independent research organisation that aims to put people at the heart of places. We work with local authorities, developers and local community groups in the UK and across the globe to find practical ways to build stronger communities.


To find out more about our work, visit


Get in touch if you'd like to find out more about this project, contact 

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