Tuesday, February 18, 2020

David Boyle on taking power locally

David Boyle has written an essay - Counterweight: How Big Local areas are levelling the scales of local power - for the Local Trust:
Great steps forward in community development often happen as a result of crises or disasters, like the earthquakes in Kyoto or Christchurch. We don’t normally have earthquakes in the UK, but we have had similar, and it was one of these that led to the start of community development in the UK: when poverty-stricken Stepney in east London was abandoned to its fate during the blitz in 1940. 
One of those who were there, who broke into the locked and shuttered council offices in Stepney borough, and who witnessed the way that the neighbourhood regrouped and organised makeshift police and social services for itself out of the chaos, was a young Quaker ambulance driver called Tony Gibson. 
It was his memory of this, and his sense of the right people have (when they feel abandoned by those who administer them) to take matters into their own hands, that led to the launch of the ground-breaking unit at Nottingham University, Education for Neighbourhood Change; his influential 1978 Pelican book People Power; and other projects which led to community development, community technical aid, and so forth.
You can hear David discussing his ideas in a Local Trust podcast.

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