Dr Matthew Thompson

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


    New municipalism, cooperative cities and the social and solidarity economy

    Matt’s research interests lie at the intersection of the production of space, economic democracy and urban change. His work investigates processes of urban transformation through social innovation and the development of the social and solidarity economy, with the theoretical tools of critical urban studies. His current research, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship entitled ‘Reimagining the City: New Municipalism and the Future of Economic Democracy’, aims to understand the recent emergence of alternative strategies for more socially just, democratic and transformative local economic development in the face of neoliberal austerity urbanism. It focuses on municipalist initiatives to incubate and stimulate a new cooperative economy in cities contending with advserse conditions of global capitalist restructuring. It seeks to trace the intellectual, historical and geographical origins and evolution of movements emerging especially in the USA and UK around the concepts of community wealth building and cooperative cities to better grasp their political and socioeconomic potential. A theoretical concern animating this research is how new (and old) ideas for cooperative economies are circulated through transnational networks of policy mobility. Another is how value is being reimagined and alternative circuits of value are constructed.

    Collective housing and urban regeneration

    Matt is interested in collective alternatives to public and private ownership of land and housing and to state and market-led forms of urban regeneration. This was the subject of his PhD, which explored Liverpool’s hidden history of collective alternatives to municipal housing development, specifically two periods of experimentation: the cooperative housing movement of the 1970s and the community land trusts emerging today. A forthcoming monograph, based on this research and published open access by Liverpool University Press, investigates how these two movements were shaped by, and in turn transformed, the politics, economics, culture and urbanism of Liverpool; how such community-led experiments may be institutionalised and replicated elsewhere; and how collective housing alternatives – as articulations of the commons – can be put to work in, against and beyond the state and capital.

    Research Grants

    Reimagining the city: new municipalism and the future of economic democracy


    September 2018 - August 2021

    Evaluation of the post-transfer legacy of the Hattersley Estate, Greater Manchester


    October 2017 - July 2018

    Evaluation of the Urban CLT Project


    July 2017 - January 2018