Networked City is a loose framework within which people, projects and organisations can learn how to use mapping, network building, data and technology for community and social benefit.
We began the Networked City exploration in December 2016, initially funded by the London Council for Voluntary Service. The context was proposals from London funders and partners, called The Way Ahead, which stressed the importance of a community-based approach, and co-production, in plans to support civil society. Our aim was to explore how network thinking and digital technology could help.
Over the past the 18 month our group, operating as Connecting Londoners, has included at various times David Wilcox, Drew Mackie, Matt Scott, Barbara Brayshay, Nicolas Fonty, Pete Burden and others.
The Networked City exploration.
The Way Ahead and Hub for London
The Way Ahead initiative, led by London Funders, LVSC and Greater London Volunteering, produced a report in April 2016 on how to reframe support for London civil society. This report proposed.
a vision and system that puts London’s communities at the heart of the way we all work. From co-producing an understanding of need and how to tackle it with our communities, through to better sharing of intelligence and data, and making sure that civil society’s voice is heard in decision-making at a strategic level, there are recommendations for us all.
This provided the context for the Networked City exploration.
The main recommendation in The Way Ahead report was for a London resource hub, and in November 2017 the City Bridge Trust announced first year funding of £350,000.
In May 2018 the Hub advertised a Network Partners role. The recruitment pack reflects some of the ideas discussed with the Hub advisory group. Details of Networks partner role at the Hub here. Leah Whittingham has now been appointed to the post.
Connecting Londoners was formed from people in the Networked City exploration who wanted to put into practice ideas about mapping assets and networks, building networks and developing networked communications. We took the name from a report by consultant Steve Wyler, commissioned by LVSC, that made proposals for the Hub recommended in The Way Ahead report. We created a blog, and collaborated with Our Way Ahead on events.
This group is now superceded by the proposed network.
Our Way Ahead
Decisions have been taken in the name of communities without their involvement, poverty pervades ever deeper, inequality is rising, and lives have been lost as services fail those most vulnerable. Our vision is to ensure that grassroots communities have a meaningfully powerful agency in the response to issues that affect their lives. It is those at the level of grassroots communities, the direct burden takers, who are best placed to lead the push for change, and the OWA Planning Group seek to work in solidarity with them through the facilitation of critical dialogue and storytelling, mapping of community activity and the support of collaboration on campaigns among groups within like communities of interest.
Many of the proposals reported here have been developed with Our Way Ahead, together with a series of events.
Network and Communities of Practice
We developed proposals for the Hub for London on a Community of Practice of mappers, network builders and civic tech specialists to support new stage development of civil society infrastructure. We discussed these ideas further at an event of March 27 2018, and created a map of potential CoP members. We are now thinking in terms of a network with a number of communities of practice.
How games and simulations can help us understand and plan network developments
Networks and mapping