Tomorrow Today Streets

Creating essential micro-infrastructure for post Covid 19 neighbourhoods

We are launching a new project in Barking and Dagenham next week through the Every One Every Day initiative. It’s called Tomorrow Today Streets and it invites residents to work together on a range of practical projects. Twenty four projects, many of them designed and tested already in the borough, has a starter kit of materials and equipment (think pots and pans, hose pipes, bike tools, sewing machines etc) as well as other supports like promotional materials and insurance.

The launch video

Wanting the wonderful groundswell of neighbourliness to stay

There has been a wonderful groundswell of neighbourliness that many people have taken heart in during such a critical and depressing time, where illness, death, grief and isolation has characterised every day life. Many people would like to see this neighbourliness as an enduring legacy of this pandemic.

“Britons enjoying cleaner air, better food and stronger social bonds say they don’t want to return to ‘normal’”

Image created by Samuel Rodriguez. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives — help stop the spread of COVID-19.

If we all went back to our usual lives after lock down would this really matter?

I would suggest that if we did just spring back into our pre-covid shape — we would waste so much potential that exists right now. The time is right to start building on these new relationships we have created with our neighbours to work together to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our generation — mental health issues (including social isolation and loneliness), lack of social cohesion, the climate crisis, and of course … the next pandemic.

Tomorrow Today Streets

So at Participatory City we’ve listened closely and have gone back the drawing board — and over the last 6 weeks re-designed Open Steets and developed it into Tomorrow Today Streets — designing the project to work through lockdown and out the other side. It will replace the Summer Programme we would expect to be starting soon — we will instead work with residents to form teams (as in big teaming) — supported by 24 Starter Kits and over 40 workshops through our online platform. This workshop programme will include digital onboarding, working inclusively and avoiding committee dynamics, as well as accredited health and safety training. We will also be supporting teams to co-design brand new projects.

Tomorrow Today Streets are part of a larger strategy to build infrastructures for co-creating the essentials.

Tomorrow Today Streets is part of a larger concept we have been developing to co-create essential infrastructure for post Covid19 neighbourhoods, with the people who live there. Called Universal Basic Everything, this social and physical infrastructure will require different participation systems for different levels, from home, to street, to neighbourhood, to borough — from peer-to-peer projects, to a platform of co-operatives for making essential products called Everyday Essentials. You can read more about this broader strategy here.

24 Starter Kits as part of Tomorrow Today Streets

Working with incredible partners

We have some incredible partners working with us on Tomorrow Today Streets, including Barking and Dagenham council (who help make everything possible — including planting in public spaces!), Barking Riverside (who are working with us to develop a sharing app for Tomorrow Today Streets), Table Tennis England (who are giving the project two ping pong table sets plus 50 Instant Ping Pong sets) and Woodland Trust (who have given hundreds of trees), University of East London’s Sustainability Researc Institute will be working with us on research and micro-renewables, as well as our amazing funders who support the Every One Every Day platform.

Looking forward to Tomorrow Today Streets in other cities, including in Canada

We have been working with McConnell Foundation for a number of years. In March this year 20 people from four cities in Canada (Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton) were due to come to Barking and Dagenham for a 4-day Study Trip as part of a new Participatory City Social R&D initiative. Participatory Cities Canada is a partnership of McConnell and the Government of Canada and with multisectoral teams in each city, including Indigenous partners. The trip was canceled due to Covid19 and the testing and prototyping that was planned has also had to be delayed.

CEO Participatory City Foundation | Working with amazing residents on Every One Every Day - Barking & Dagenham @ParticipatoryC @everyone_org Fellow @jwmcconnell

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