The redevelopment of Brixton’s town centre continues to be one of the most impassioned issues impacting the lives of the Brixton community. Involvement in past schemes has failed, leaving people feeling cynical, fearful and disconnected from any sense that changes that happen to our town might benefit them. The feeling that regeneration happens to us – not with and for us is prevalent, and negatively impacts our capacity for agency in local life.
Community involvement in regeneration now needs to be secured and represented by a self organised community group that is community owned, driven and governed. The group will have the capacity to sit independently of any one local development project as a constructive and informed community stakeholder in local regeneration.
More than ever it is now essential that Brixton creates a robust model to invest the knowledge, experience and intelligence of local people in the future of the town centre; supporting our need to be involved in developing the environment and amenities that shape local life now and in the future.
What is the Brixton Project’s role in this?
The Brixton Project is helping to bring this community group together to create an equal voice in a co-design process that will steer Brixton’s regeneration from now on. We are dedicated to supporting the coordination of all voices as an independent and resilient community vehicle.
The Brixton Project’s role will be to support networks to come together and help shape the groups’ voice. We invite suggestions for further expansion of the following values:
- The community must have real involvement and genuine influence over the character of developments and their occupants – as public spaces, amenities, workspaces and job providers
- Community co-designers must be seen as ‘expert consultants in local people, culture and daily life’
- The community voice must be considered equal to stakeholder priorities in key decision making
- The community must have a real opportunity to create jobs, businesses and services that support a green, more equal and holistically healthy environment for Brixton
Who will form the co-design group?
The community’s co-designers will be drawn from Brixton’s local grassroots networks, organisations and socially focused businesses. The group will be absolutely representative of Brixton in all its diversity.
This is not an engagement exercise
Each organisation in turn will represent the local people they work with and commit to involving them in the activities of the co-design group, bringing the heart of local knowledge and culture to the core of the local development plans now and in the future.
Putting people at the centre of the process from the outset in ways that promote their growth and resilience is essential to building trust and developing equity across community life.
This process will ensure the diversity of voices are represented, sustaining the evolution of the group for the future.
What will be the remit of this group?
From pre-planning consultation to operation – all aspects of development that touch local people should be covered by the remit of this group.
Below are just some of the areas we can identify where the community needs to influence decision-making:
- Local master planning
- Environmental impact and strategies
- Construction impact management
- Vacant space
- Job, employment and skills
- Local supply chain
- Creative public realm
- The Brixton Imprint – preservation of culture, heritage and values
We have an opportunity to innovate and develop a co-design model that will influence and inform not only future development in Brixton, but also ensures that the whole community benefits from our evolving landscape.
We have a responsibility to connect the dots and create an entity that is more than a forum for opinion. We need to be better informed and better organised, so we are able to act as a community with the whole community in mind.
With the community as client and active agent, in robust conversation with the Council and commercial stakeholders from inception to operation, this plan has a chance to build on the lessons of former interventions that have failed to create power and empowerment for local people in central Brixton.