|Title||LONDON SOUNDINGS- London Creative Communities Towards Sustainability|
London Soundings is a new research project, which explores innovative and sustainable grassroots activi-ties by listening to the “soundings” of selected place-based initiatives throughout the Greater London and by revealing their ambitions and challenges. It aims at using the power of media to disseminate the re-search to a wider audience, through museum exhibition, artistic documentary film and a book to catalogue the exhibition and research. It expresses the challenges addressed by the communities and their respons-es, fostering a necessary platform for different groups to learn from each other’s experiences in synergy. In resonance with current citizen unrest worldwide, it is fundamental to understand such aspirations, which contribute to question and nurture the debate on sustainability and its complexity, through bottom-up lenses, at various scales, from personal, collective, local, and institutional, to national and global levels.
The project identifies key social and ecological initiatives in different boroughs and then profiles the range of enterprises and social models they use in order to showcase London’s innovative capacity. Twelve community-driven initiatives have been selected, addressing separately or in a comprehensive approach, various themes such as local economy, food and greening, housing, local heritage and identity, energy and fuel poverty, sustainable education, liveability, social care, and safety aspects. More globally, it identifies the need for the transition to more fully sustainable local ways of living. From raising awareness on climate change and lobbying for environmental concerns to be operational at the local scale, battling to preserve a local identity asset or for more affordable housing, to simply planting trees and vegetable gardens, remov-ing weapons from the public space or knocking on the door of the most affected by the cost of energy, local residents combine grassroots creativity with local sustainability through a tremendous amount of en-ergy carried out by people, mostly on a volunteer basis. Such major commitment, however, can also be limited due to its specific social demography. This underscores the imperative to share learnings across London, as well as further afield, using a wide array of media to reach large audiences.
Community projects we have selected for study and dissemination are collective human adventures, en-compassing all the complexity and states of human relationships. Given this, the researcher is systematical-ly sought, embarked on and engaged in local action, and hardly neutral. They highlight collaborative part-nerships with a wide range of actors from all sectors of society, and the necessity of strengthening the network to have an effective impact on the local community. The actions, among which are long term campaigns, constitute disruptions from the norm by challenging planning permissions, but mainly reflect the need for new processes and practices. Some collective enterprises are creative, and exhibit character-istics that enable their innovations to have broader impacts on society, by being scalable at local, London, and national levels. They also express the need for bottom-up approaches for sustainable place-making to be inspirational and duplicable, to balance private sector investments in London, and to be fairly addressed at the institutional level in order to have a greater and more efficient level of action.
|Keywords||grassroots, environmental sustainability, activism, citizen actions|
|Place of publication||London|
|Published||21 Oct 2019|