Using Participatory City in your City

Stokes Croft or where you live…

Q. John Cook asked “How can we apply Participatory City to Stokes Croft?” (Or anywhere else?) Provide 5 key points!

1. Firstly – life is unpredictable, full of the unexpected outcomes that shape the future, but you need to *bring* a mix of formal & informal strategies. Which means working with differing groups of peeps.

2. It’s the people stupid! As John Cook found in the digital community centres research he did for us, and I am finding out on the Origin of Spaces project, it is the odd people who buck dominant trends to act on what they believe in, who matter. People are unpredictable and have varying characteristics & motivations, but that is what you have to work with & what will make any local activity work (and distinctive).

3. Work with the context on offer, and build around that (it’s where the motivating “hooks” will come from). In Covent Garden it was the market, in Deptford the Creek, in Bilbao the peninsula. What gives Stokes Croft (or your neighbourhood) it’s “sense of place” ?

4. Work with the council, not “for the council” but with them. Find out what you do that can help them in what they do. Do the hard yards. As I say in “Walking into Government” Solve the problem they don’t know they have got yet (it’s the future, so it’s up to you).

5. Use social media to create bridges between people, community & (representative) authority, by telling stories about the new… Which is what Nigel Ecclesfield & I call “citizen-generated contexts”

This is a first go at the answer & so it is (To be continued)

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