Neighbourhoods made by everyone, for everyone – that is the aim of Every One Every Day, a large scale initiative in Barking and Dagenham, formed out of a partnership between Participatory City Foundation and Barking and Dagenham Council.
Every One Every Day is the largest participatory project of its kind anywhere in the world. It provides a platform for tens of thousands of local residents to connect, share and collaborate to build neighbourhoods and livelihoods together.
Since its launch in October 2017, over 6,000 people have participated through Every One Every Day. Together they have developed 146 projects and spent 34,000 hours learning, playing, sharing, food growing, tree planting, building, repairing, trading, cooking and making with other people from their local area.
Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, said: “A project on this scale has never been done before and I think that is a truly exciting prospect for the people of Barking and Dagenham.
“Residents told us they wanted a more integrated, cohesive community with a renewed sense of community spirit. This ground-breaking initiative will offer people the chance to shape where they live by participating in projects happening in and around their neighbourhood.”
Why are Participatory Cities important?
There is clear evidence of the positive outcomes that can be achieved through practical participation. Over 9 years of research have demonstrated that participation helps people to feel included, build new friendships, grow confidence, deepen learning and feel excited and optimistic.
Tools to Act (the year two report into Every One Every Day) has shown that these outcomes are being experienced by residents facing a host of challenges in their lives.
A sense of individual and collective agency is increasingly understood as a vital stepping stone to broader outcomes such as community cohesion, mental and physical wellbeing, finding well-paid work, lifelong learning, greener and cleaner neighbourhoods and raising happy families.
Every One Every Day is researching what it takes to grow peer-to-peer participation on a borough-wide scale. With four locations, a fully equipped 3,600 square meter makerspace and 30+ staff the project is building the infrastructure required to achieve this. This is public social infrastructure, sitting alongside our libraries, roads and parks and just as important to our communities.
How do we build a Participatory City?
At its heart the Participatory City is one where it is incredibly easy for residents to meet, connect, and build with one another. In many respects our urban and civic systems have designed-in barriers to these things. In Barking and Dagenham we are using design approaches to remove these barriers. This isn’t always easy. The collective impact of many thousands of small actions is sometimes difficult to see, takes time to build and requires political leadership and commitment for the long term.
Councillors are critical in this. Building a Participatory City needs Councillors who can facilitate and enable all residents to be a part of creating neighbourhoods, communities and boroughs. It also requires political bravery and a commitment to building this infrastructure, even when results are not visible straight away. We know that councillors themselves are the best people to shape the role of Participatory Councillor and to create the tools needed for this role.
The vital role of councillors
As part of HERE & NOW – the new school of Participatory Systems and Design, Participatory City Foundation and the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham council are organising a Participatory Councillor Design Camp. Local councillors across the country are developing exciting new practices to support residents to do these practical projects in their neighbourhoods and create great places to live. The focus for this Design Camp will be on creating tools for councillors to help residents with practical everyday projects. These tools are distinctly practical, rather than relating to democratic participation methods.
The Participatory Councillor Design Day is an invitation for Councillors from across the UK to share and discuss new practices. The Design Camp will take place at The Warehouse in Barking, the largest public makerspace in the UK, designed to stimulate regenerative, circular and inclusive economies.
There are limited places, you can sign up here.
Or let us know if you would like to speak at this event. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org