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The Mission-Driven Venture: Business Solutions to the World s Most Vexing Social Problems by Marc J. Lane

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Chapter 8Social Impact BondsAligning Financial and Social Returns

The residents of Peterborough, a resilient “heritage city” standing on the River Nene 45 miles north of London in the heart of rural East England, proudly trace their roots to a settlement pre-dating the Bronze Age. This is where archaeologists unearthed what they believe to be the oldest wheel in Britain. Peterborough is also the site of the ancient Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint Andrew, a Norman church without architectural precedent but distinguished as the burial place of two queens—Mary Queen of Scots, whose remains were later removed by her son James I to Westminster Abbey when he became King of England, and Catherine of Aragon, resting at the Cathedral Church to this day.

The people of Peterborough, numbering fewer than 200,000, glory in their storied history, but they also eagerly anticipate the promise of tomorrow. The city has been designated an “environment city,” one of only four in the U.K., and it alone is seen as its inevitable “environment capital,” already boasting the largest mix of environmental businesses in the nation. Peterborough's destiny is bolstered by a £1 billion redevelopment initiative that has attracted service-sector companies to the city, replacing manufacturing concerns that have shuttered in Peterborough, as elsewhere, along with a realistic hope for urban regeneration.

Yet Peterborough's reputation has suffered from a singular blot. In 2008 Her Majesty's ...

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