Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Civic Commons - Sustainable Citizenship

Sustainable Citizenship aims to encourage, test and support local people’s ideas that make green behaviour easier. We will invite people like you to innovation events that spark off brilliant ideas, and help you test the best of them in a local neighbourhood. You will be supported through a network of like-minded people that can help, along with access to seed-funding. We hope that the outcome will make Peterborough even better known for its environmental innovation.

Report: The Ecology of Innovation 

by Kerry McCarthy
The Sustainable Citizenship project aims to make environmental innovation commonplace among citizens and communities, and contribute to Peterborough's reputation as a centre for environmental sustainability.

We face unprecedented challenges from climate change, long term health conditions and an ageing society, which generate costs public services can no longer afford. Solutions devised and delivered by central authorities are unlikely to work; they are not based on enough local knowledge, nor are they flexible enough to respond to what is happening in a specific local context. So we need to learn how to devolve power to communities and enable them to innovate.

To be effective, communities need resources, skills, support and connections in a way which traditional 'top down' models of working on social and environmental challenges do not provide. Radical new ways of working collaboratively at a local level are needed; not just to come up with new ideas, but also to better access and work with the value that exists within communities.

Find out how we can support communities to take action - download The Ecology of Innovation report (PDF, 227KB). Read the report's press release.
The first innovation event was held in October 2010. Twenty-five Peterborough residents pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, and two were awarded seed-funding and non-financial support to allow them to become pilot projects. One pilot will encourage a wider segment of the community to manage local plots of unused land: the community plan to map unused land in their neighbourhood and throughout Peterborough to encourage local people to take an active role in stewarding the land. The other pilot will encourage residents living near an area of ancient woodland to take an active forest management role. Currently neglected and the scene of anti-social behaviour, the community has decided to create a woodland walk to make walking through the forest a normal activity for local residents.
More innovation events are planned with the help of Peterborough Environment City Trust.

How can I find out more?

Contact Jamie Young at the RSA.