A Question from Rotterdam

Here we are, Nick Booth and Dave Briggs in Rotterdam. This is a post simply asking for your help. I’d love you to comment here and leave suggestions/examples of how active citizens are using the social web for the benefit of their neighbourhood.

We’re working with a group of people from across Europe. All of them have three things thing in common – they are active in their neighbourhoods, like to listen and love to talk.

They come together through an organisation (first created in Birmingham) called Residents for Regeneration Europe. From time to time typically 100 folk meet face to face, tell each other stories of what they do in their neighbourhood, learn from that, go home and apply those lessons in their communities.

So please tell us how you think this connects to social media.

We’ll share you comments with the group at about 3pm this afternoon.

Thanks in advance.


  1. blackpoolcommunitynews

    Local residents have been using http://www.fixmystreet.com/ to report Neighbourhood Problems. Everyone likes the interactive nature of the site,and its mapping functions, but it is too early to say if problems are being tackled anymore promptly or effectively.

  2. Issues Forums developed by eDemocracy.org are doing good work. Not only through their platform e.g. http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/oxford-hm & http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls but with the wealth of knowledge they have developed over the years in dealing with the challenges of recruitment and maintaining a healthy dialogue.

    On a similar line: http://www.talkswindon.org/ The local council have even used it to run consultations.

    The best example however is an event called I’m a Councillor, Get me out of here! (www.bigvote.org.uk). It gives young people and councillors a chance to discuss what is important and for the young people to decide which cllr they want to represent their views in the following year. [Disclosure: It is a Gallomanor event.]

    The list could go

  3. Spot.us is probably a good example, and Leics (?) local council in the UK set up a group of forums for local people to talk about local problems, suggest solutions, etc. Will keep thinking…

  4. There’s an excellent local sco.net called Harringey Online (http://www.harringayonline.com/) built on a combination of Ning and the dedication of founder Hugh Flouch.

    I was very happy to help shortlist them for the Catalyst awards earlier this year (http://www.internetartizans.co.uk/catalyst_awards).

    They act as a faremwork for local campaigns but also bring in culture, local history, book clubs and more.


  5. Have a look at our site http://www.harringayonline.com/ developed on Ning that is a bustling, hyperlocal social network for the Harringay area with over a 1000 members and growing. We seek to connect people, build social capital and a sense of place, get things done in the community. We have local councillors, local police and the office of the local MP as members as well as reps from local residents groups and local businesses. We’re totally grassroots, founded by a resident and run by volunteers.
    Come see!

  6. Using Facebook Groups as an ad-hoc tool for single issues seems to work quite well – the ease of joining and the ‘viral’ inviting of contacts can build a quick network – although it’s not powerfull enough for much more than keeping people updated after the inital push.

    Expecially usefull for getting the media intrested (easy for them to gage local support)

    A few examples near me:

    Moseley Rd Baths http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5578823688

    The Flapper http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24338507282

  7. The platforms which enable groups to build their own online social networks – like Ning – are great for this.

    In my neighbourhood, somebody set up a Ning group to raise awareness of changes to parking restrictions and get people talking about along with local councillors:


    It’s since expanded into a more general online community for the area, including local history, events and more.

  8. Guys, not a specific example of my own, but:

    “What is this JAM all about?

    Our co-founders Alberto, Marcus and Yann took their inspiration from their earlier involvement in a local resident association website named the Jam Factory, in central London.

    As neighbours, they had initially volunteered to develop a website to allow all residents to share connections, discussions and local recommendations in a truly collaborative environment restricted to the community of residents.

    The spark of interest from neighbouring buildings triggered the thinking and realisation of a more ambitious vision of enabling anyone to give a purpose to their online connections.”

    See http://www.myjamfactory.com/ for original site, and http://www.webjam.com/webjam/aboutus/ from which the above is extracted…



  9. Seb Crump

    Sorry, I don’t have a link to hand, but anti-Heathrow expansion have several websites and I know they have Facebook groups etc. (doesn’t seem to be nicely organised on one place though).

  10. Localmouth just put up a list of 10 great local community websites (including the Haringay one mentioned above) – http://www.localmouth.com/blog/2008/11/13/top-10-local-community-websites/

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