From the neighbourhoods blog in England ...
Ordinary people are now fashionable
The think tanks have discovered the community sector, as have politicians, and that's not unwelcome. It doesn't mean that these powerful and influential people sitting round discussing how ordinary people set about confronting the processes that reflect the disadvantages around them, in terms and values which are alien and offputting to the rest of us, is not close to offensive. People have been busy at local level - sometimes struggling, sometimes well-supported - getting involved and doing what they can collectively, for a lot longer than think tank wonks and politicians have taken their endeavours seriously, or recognised the significant social value of such endeavours.
The author of the above has also just opened up a new firm:
Local Level an independent consultancy set up by Kevin Harris, offering expertise in aspects of neighbourhood life. Local Level provides research, advice, information, and event design for policy makers, managers of local services, practitioners and community groups. Local Level specialises in:
- Putting policy measures into a local context, and local issues into a policy context
- Demonstrating the role of communication and information in neighbourhoods
- Working with key experts to provide an understanding of all aspects of life in neighbourhoods
Looking at these sites I found a great link with very interesting traffic calming techniques under a concept called "Home Zones"
Home Zones are an attempt to strike a balance between vehicular traffic and everyone else who uses the street, the pedestrians, cyclists, business people and residents.
Some see Home Zones as a way of "reclaiming" local streets from a traditional domination by cars. Others see it more modestly as a way of trying to restore the safety and peace in neighbourhoods that are becoming overwhelmed with speeding traffic.
Home Zones work through the physical alteration of streets and roads in an area. These alterations force motorists to drive with greater care and at lower speeds. Many countries support this with legislation allowing the Home Zones to enforce a reduced speed limit of 10 miles an hour. The benches, flower beds, play areas, lamp posts, fences and trees used to alter the streets and roads offer many additional community benefits to the Home Zones and are considered to enhance the beauty of an area and increase the housing prices.