UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Saffron Woodcraft

Executive Lead, Prosperity Co-Lab UK (ProCol UK),

Principal Research Fellow and

Director of Social Policy


My research focuses on understanding lived experiences of prosperity and inequality, and developing new forms of knowledge, partnerships, and collaboration for action on place-based prosperity. 

My work focuses on citizen 'social' science as an approach to developing new kinds of knowledge about transformative pathways to prosperity.  I collaborate with citizen scientists, community organisations, local and central government policymakers, and businesses to connect local lived experiences of prosperity to innovation, regeneration planning, and decision-making processes that affect place-based strategies.  

Current projects include:
•    UCL’s Citizen Science Academy, an ambitious new initiative to deliver community-based, practice-led research training to empower communities to lead change through social action and shaping policies that impact their livelihoods 
•    The London Prosperity Board, a collaborative multi-stakeholder partnership developing citizen-led evidence and metrics to change thinking and action on prosperity in east London 
•    The Prosperity in east London 2021-2031 Longitudinal Study, a 10-year study examining the prosperity of over 4,000 households in 15 areas where large-scale and long-term urban regeneration is driving rapid physical, economic, and social changes in local communities  
•    Good Life Euston, a partnership with the London Borough of Camden, Lendlease, The Euston Partnership, Camden Giving, and the Euston Voices Researchers - citizen social scientists from Somers Town and Regent’s Park Estate - to develop new ways of measuring how urban regeneration impacts on the prosperity of local communities 
•    The Maisha Bora Index – a research project in Dar es Salaam that focuses on understanding and measuring pathways to prosperity from the perspectives of people living in unplanned settlements.

My published work explores the value of place-based approaches to research and policy development, citizen-led models and metrics of shared prosperity, and processes of local social innovation. This work engages with questions about the social and political implications of reimagining prosperity as situated and diverse, and the theoretical and methodological challenges this presents to developing new forms of evidence and policy directions.  I explore these topics drawing on several years of ethnographic research in east London, and mixed methods research in urban areas in the UK and Tanzania.


Bernstock, P., Singh, P., Rouf, S., Amoah-Norman, I., Lorgat R., Woodcraft, S. B. (2023) 'Connecting Communities': Evaluation of a Pilot Project aimed at promoting digital inclusion in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. (Research Evaluation of a Universal Basic Service). UCL Institute for Global Prosperity: London, UK

L. Moore H., Davies M., Mintchev N., & Woodcraft S. B. (2023) Prosperity in the Twenty-First Century. Concepts, models and metrics

Lavell A., McFarlane C., L. Moore H., Woodcraft S. B. & Christopher Yap, (2023) Pathways to Urban Equality through the Sustainable Development Goals: Modes of Extreme Poverty, Resilience, and Prosperity, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development (pp 215-229).

Woodcraft, S. B, Osuteye E., Ndezi T & Makoba, Festo D. (2022) Pathways to the ‘Good Life’: Co-Producing Prosperity Research in Informal Settlements in Tanzania - with Swahili translation. UCL Institute for Global Prosperity: London, UK. 

Woodcraft, S. B., Collins, H & McArdle, I. (2021) Re-thinking livelihood security: Why addressing the democratic deficit in economic policy-making opens up new pathways to prosperity. UCL Institute for Global Prosperity: London, UK. 

Charalambous, F., Pietrostefani, E. & Woodcraft, S. B. (2021) Ethnicity and prosperity in east London: How racial inequalities impact experiences of the good life. UCL Institute for Global Prosperity: London, UK.

Woodcraft, S. B., & Smith, C. (2018). From the ‘Sustainable Community’ to Prosperous People and Places: Inclusive Change in the Built Environment. In T. Dixon, J. Connaughton, S. Green (Eds.), Sustainable futures in the built environment to 2050: a foresight approach to construction and development (pp. 72-93). UK: Wiley Blackwell.

Woodcraft, S. B. (2016). Reconfiguring “the Social” in Sustainable Development: Community, Citizenship and Innovation in New Urban Neighbourhoods. In P. McDonagh, F. Murphy (Eds.), Envisioning Sustainabilities: Towards Anthropology of Sustainability. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Woodcraft, S. B. (2015). Understanding and Measuring Social SustainabilityJournal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal.

Woodcraft, S. B., & Bacon, N. (2013). A new role for “place difference”?. NESTA.

Woodcraft, S. B., & Dixon, T. (2013). Creating strong communities–measuring social sustainability in new housing developmentTown and Country Planning -London- Town and Country Planning Association-, 473-480.

Woodcraft, S. B., Hackett, T., Bacon, N., & Caistor Arendar, L. (2012). Design for Social Sustainability. London: The Young Foundation.

Woodcraft, S. (2012). Social Sustainability and New Communities: Moving from Concept to Practice in the UKProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 68, 29-42. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.204

Woodcraft, S. B. (2012). Social sustainability and new communities: Moving from concept to practice in the UK. , Cairo.