Step 5. Set
Set, find or create a space to help deliver the action plan (Digital Community Platform & Neighbourhood Hub)
Space is an important part of working on any community based project, whether it serves as a temporary space for carrying out an action plan or as a permanent space for ongoing community engagement. Finding or creating a space will help to plan actions, test ideas, share experiences, inspire and make it possible to meet on a regular basis. Setting a space can be achieved on two different levels - physical and/or virtual. A physical place (in the case of COMENSI - the Neighbourhood Hub) enables centrality and is usually required to activate and maintain the community dynamics. A virtual space (in the case of COMENSI - the Community Platform) can act both as an inspiration and a transparent way of sharing progress. It is also considered an extremely useful tool for community engagement.
The Neighbourhood Hub is the physical space in which to work and meet with the target group(s) during the planning process. The Hub should be a point of reference of the community and should be identified as an open and collaborative space to develop ideas and visions by the local community. The Community Platform can be used in different ways: from collecting memories (through video, interviews, photos) of the neighbourhood to collecting proposals for urban transformation. The Neighbourhood Hub can be used to introduce the practical use and application of the Digital Community Platform:
Library of THINGS
Good practice in Savsko naselje, Ljubljana
Library of THINGS is a new form of public service, where members can borrow various useful items such as tools, home appliances or electronics. The Library helps their users to save time, money and space by renting the items that they would only need occasionally or couldn’t afford them on their own. The Library was established as a result of revitalization of the local community centre in Savsko naselje neighbourhood. Opening of the Library enabled the use of its space free of charge for various events. Anyone can organise an event as long as the event is free and open to the public.
The inventory of the Library can be used during different workshops, which helps organisers/visitors who don’t have their own equipment. The Library hosts various lectures, board game nights, swaps, as well as workshops such as knitting lessons, yoga or analogue photo printing. This way the Library of THINGS is strengthening the social life inside the neighbourhood and building stronger social networks among the locals. Since the space can be rented free of charge by anyone it benefits certain groups which are otherwise marginalised as it would be too expensive or complicated to rent similar spaces at other locations. In the last few years the Library has already hosted different groups of disadvantaged adults, since the space is equally accessible to everyone without any financial risk.
Local residents, students, young adults, groups with fewer opportunities.
Good practice in Southwark, London
Maps are the ideal starting point for conversations, decisions and actions that will affect your local area. Participatory maps encourage people to contribute their ideas, and bring all perspectives together onto one page.
Southwark Council commissioned Mapping for Change to support it in its pledge to build 11,000 new homes over the next thirty years. An interactive online mapping platform was used to enable residents to help the Council identify where the new homes should be built, and participate in the decision-making processes throughout the programme. The Southwark Community Map was a great success with the council going on to conduct full feasibility studies on 68% of the potential sites suggested by residents.
The engagement process and information gathering was not only pivotal in choosing sites for new homes but also alleviated the potential friction within the community where redevelopment may have been seen as gentrification of their neighbourhood.