We have all believed for a long time that lots of people involved in local activities would make a big difference to people and neighbourhoods. This is not a new idea. Many approaches have been tried, by many different people, but we have discovered collectively that creating a lot of neighbourhood participation is very hard to achieve, and even harder to keep going.
Participation in neighbourhood activity across the UK is very low compared for example to sports clubs and religious organisations. We have many wonderful examples of strong, growing neighbourhood projects, but we also see many that are isolated, struggling to survive working on their own, and often small scale and low impact. Successful projects who want to help other neighbourhoods replicate new models are also struggling to do this, because our current emphasis on single projects and entities makes that very difficult.
The people behind work which led to Participatory City started asked 1000s of people across the UK what they thought about participation, about starting projects, and why the current way of doing things isn’t working for many them. The primary conclusion from this research was that we needed to redesign how participation works at neighbourhood level.
This Learning Lab is an opportunity to explore 10 design tips for participation, which have been tried and tested in a number of places, including Dudley! The session will be led by Lorna Prescott from Dudley CVS. Wayne Trevor and Rachita Saraogi from the Participatory City team are also around during the afternoon, feel free to chat to them too.
(The extract above is from the Illustrated Guide to Participatory City by Tessy Britton, illustrations by Amber Anderson).