Today was the next step in the ReThink process, the “Your Vision, Your Future” event. This is the next phase of the process, following the June 11 Discover Your City night (my article for Metro News London on it can be read here.)
There were two sessions for everyone’s convenience, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. It branched from the introduction to the City citizens were given June 11, and quickly caught up everyone that wasn’t able to be at the event.
I came to the afternoon event, and met with many people I’ve seen at these and similar events, as well as a great many that were new to me. There seemed to be a diversity of ideas and perspectives, though common themes came up often.
The event was hosted at the Convention Centre with several small round tables. After an introduction by several City staff, each table was asked to come up with general ideas/visions for our city’s future. After each table shared 1 or 2 visionary ideas they had put together, people were asked to join a “pod” of 3-4 tables discussing clear objectives for one of the 5 major themes of ReThink (Live. Grow. Green. Move. Prosper.).
From there, each table was asked to build up to 5 clear objectives over half an hour, before moving to another theme and building on what the first table had done. In the end, the sheets were put up for everyone to examine, and each person was given 3 sticky dots to place on their favourite ideas from each of the themes. These sheets will be looked over by the city staff involved in the ReThink process to determine what Londoners are most interested in seeing happen, which they’ll come back to citizens with in a future session.
After the event, I asked the Twitter community what the ReThink process means to them. A few of the responses I received were:
Dean Sheppard (@DeanShpprd): “citizen chance to tell the politicians how to run *our* city. It’s *ours* not * theirs*”. “Staff can make great policies but in end votes on Council make the decisions”.
Anne Arnott @AArnott22: “What I enjoyed the most about #rethinkldn today is the people, the Londoners that ask questions, spark creativity and engage for the better.”
Stephen Turner (@st3v3turn3r): “was very impressed how similar people’s visions were for #ldnont. #rethinkldn 4 me is boiling the plan down to reflect that.”
As well, the event organizers have put together what they call “workshops in a box” for those interested, which allows citizens to create their own ReThink events with their friends/family/coworkers etc. to get them to share their thoughts and visions for our city’s future. Anne-Marie Sánchez (@anma_sa) had this to say:
I thought it was a great event and everyone felt energized afterward. It’s critical to get buy-in from citizens and this is a great first-step. I was especially hopeful with the concept of “workshops in a box”. I think it’s a great idea to leverage those enthused by the process to bring it back to their circles (eg neighborhoods, family, friends) and get as much feedback as possible. So many citizens have competing priorities that we can’t expect for everyone to come to the City to give feedback, the City needs to go to them in as many creative ways as possible.
It is so important for as many people as possible to get involved. Today many ideas came forward with a large group giving input and sharing which ideas they think should have highest priority, but it isn’t up to just the people there to have their say.
Everyone in the city have a voice and a part to play. My hope is that even more people will come into the process, share their perspectives, support the ideas they think have merit, discuss and constructively criticize the ones they think don’t, and bring their own to the table.
We also have a shared responsibility to make sure it happens. At the end of the process, as Dean said, staff will bring citizen ideas forward to Council who will have the final approval. It is up to us to ensure that citizens’ views are properly represented and respected when that time comes.
The process is ongoing, and works to be accessible to everyone interested no matter what point they come into the process. If you’d like to learn more, make sure to check out their website (including videos of the talks given on the June 11 introducing Londoners to everything the City does), share your ideas, and keep an eye out for future events! Everyone is encouraged to participate, share the ideas with fellow citizens and the City as they work to put together everyone’s ideas and build objectives for our city to achieve.
I’m excited by this process and will continue to participate as it moves forward. We’re all in this together London; make sure to have your say!