Specific Research Questions
How has austerity impacted on the availability of, and access to, of public, free, informal learning spaces and resources in two English and two Portuguese communities?
How have character building, positive learning dispositions and the executive learning functions* of children been affected by the reduction in free, public community spaces and resources, especially for disadvantaged, low income families?
In the face of austerity, how have communities and services maintained and sustained free, public community spaces and resources, particularly with regard to building neighbourhood community building, solidarity and creativity?
What additional action can be taken to enhance informal family learning in free, public community spaces?
*Executive learning functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. It includes three basic functions:
1. Working memory; 2. Cognitive flexibility; 3. Self-regulation.