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Future Communities

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  1. Future Communities Seminar 1: Wellbeing and belonging in new communities 1 October 2010

  2. Designing in social sustainability • New thinkpiece • Practitioner toolkit

  3. New partnership with Malmö, Sweden • Exploring potential partnerships in China, Thailand & Australia

  4. What makes new cities and communities socially sustainable? • SIX in the City, Singapore


  5. Today’s discussion • What do we mean by belonging and wellbeing? • Why do they matter in new communities? • What are the practical implications for our work?

  6. Social infrastructure • Need for services and support, not just buildings • Early provision is crucial • Lack of social infrastructure affects community wellbeing • Identity and reputation

  7. Voice & influence • Giving voice and influence at the planning stage • Shaping opportunities for influence • Maintaining structures and initiatives for the long term

  8. Space to grow • New communities evolve slowly as social networks develop & populations age & shift • Master-planning needs to be flexible and adaptable • New communities need flexible use of land & buildings • Informal spaces & temporary uses should be encouraged • Local engagement & governance structures also need time to develop

  9. Social and cultural life • Community identity & belonging • Tolerance, respect, engagement • Pro-social behaviour • Good design supporting social life

  10. What makes us feel we belong? National • Governance of Britain • National identity and shared values – i.e. liberal, secular, democratic Collective • Wider networks – ‘Familiar strangers’ • Where you are versuswhere you are from • Profession/ethnicity/ religion/social class/school/university  Individual • Family/ Friends • Hometown – where you’re from

  11. Home, neighbourhood & physical environment Feedback circuits Religion and voluntary orgs Power&politics Family&friends Economy

  12. Contact between neighbours and neighbourhood empowerment has the potential to improve resident wellbeing • Wellbeing focus in community engagement policies, spatial planning and new housing developments, would place greater emphasis on social networks and belonging

  13. The myth of neighbourliness?

  14. Modern-day neighbouring • Ideal neighbouring has three common aspects • Awareness of situation of other residents • Respect for their privacy • Readiness to take action if help is needed

  15. Why belonging matters • Takes time for local social networks to evolve • Often tensions between newly arrived and established communities • Shapes experience of public realm, perceptions of safety and fear of crime • Issues for stability, housing management • People that can leave, will leave

  16. “… where these facilities were already in place when people began to arrive, the community came together and networks were formed more easily.” • CLG, New Towns Review, 2006

  17. Cambourne, New Town Blues • “ … planning for hard infrastructure alone would never build a community … it would only be done by a matrix of formal and informal opportunities or supported activities.” • Cambridgeshire PCT (2007)

  18. Three factors necessary for sense of community: • Length of residence • Local character • A shared common history • Michael Young, New Earswick

  19. Small things matter – so does timing Making connections – “weak ties” Greeters: idea from the New Towns Micro-grants: help to get neighbourhood activities started – toddler groups, dog socialising, exercise classes, street parties Places to meet: community houses, temporary spaces Lots and lots of information sources … newsletters, coffee mornings, hyper-local websites Early interventions Start to establish norms

  20. Strengthening networks Timebanking: promoting mutual exchange and self sufficiency/sustainability Community champions: active residents who can advise and give out information to newcomers Local engagement opportunities – connections to power: community councils, residents associations, volunteering Celebrating culture: “people like me” – festivals and events Small things matter – so does timing Community capacity Building networks, local identity and opportunities

  21. Home, neighbourhood & physical environment Feedback circuits Religion and voluntary orgs Power&politics Family&friends Economy

  22. Afternoon workshop • How are these feedback circuits working locally? • Which are the most important in your area? • Which circuits can you influence?

  23. Saffron Woodcraft • saffronwoodcraft@youngfoundation.org • www.futurecommunitiesneveragain.wordpress.com • www.futurecommunities.net

  24. About the Young Foundation • The Young Foundation brings together insight, innovation and entrepreneurship to meet social needs. • We have a 55-year track record of success with ventures such as the Open University, Which?, the School for Social Entrepreneurs and Healthline (the precursor of NHS Direct). • We work across the UK and internationally – carrying out research, influencing policy, creating new organisations and supporting others to do the same, often with imaginative uses of new technology. • www.youngfoundation.org