Your Square Mile aims for “8000 local democracies”

Things are developing on the Your Square Mile front in advance of the announcement next week of substantial Big Lottery funding, which I reported first here. I’ve now also written a summary of past developments over here on Our Society.
I’m delighted to discover that there is now an official holding page and video for YSM, in advance of a more substantial site, and it fills out the very ambitious vision that BIG will be supporting.

The site says:

Imagine 8,000 local democracies in which citizens, groups and local businesses are all interlinked and can actively share resources and create change.

We will help people set up and organise networks of like-minded individuals and groups who want to make their communities better places to live. We will provide a range of tools, services and benefits that will make it easier for anyone to create change in their neighbourhood. Many of these tools have been gathered over the last year by learning about the brilliant ideas already at work in the voluntary sector. These ideas and the organisations behind them, from tiny local charities to national bodies, deserve to be spread more widely.

The site goes on to promise the establishment of a mutually-owned organisation that any citizen can join, and web sites for local communities.

In one sense none of this is new, if you have been following YSN developments – see my summary. On the other hand, these plans now have the backing of the Big Lottery, who are weaving them into their vision for People Powered Change, as described here.

The plans do raise a lot of issues, but there isn’t yet anywhere on the YSM site to raise them, so Emma Lees has copied the content across to a forum on Our Society, where you can discuss them. I hope you’ll join in. It’s the first really big attempt in the UK to use social technology for community building, and deserves close attention.

Update: I’ve now add some first thoughts on the pros and cons of York Square Mile, over on Our Society. Am I being too optimistic?

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