Citizens Assembly — Exploring the question

We randomly selected fifty people from a representative pool of residents to join the Citizens’ Assembly to discuss and recommend ways the Council should help make Newham a better, happier and healthier place to live. The theme itself reflects the importance of parks and green space to residents, particularly following the challenges to mental and physical health since the start of the pandemic. This Citizens’ Assembly is examining how we can make the borough’s green spaces more attractive and enjoyable for people.

The first day focused on making sure everyone is familiar with the assembly topic ‘Greening the Borough’ and why the assembly is being held.

Our facilitators also made sure there was time to get to know each other and to make sure residents all understood how the Assembly works and comes to a conclusion.

Over the day, they heard from a range of speakers from the Mayor of Newham on the strategic priorities of the borough and the importance of democratic & civic participation, the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways & Sustainable Transport on the priorities in terms of green spaces and the Head of Development & Placemaking in Royal Docks on a perspective from a strategic partner and had opportunities to ask them questions.

We got the residents to

Example of conversation guidelines in one of the groups

On the next day, we started to focus on evidence, ideas and perspectives about the topic of green spaces. This commenced by hearing from different people who work on issues that are related to our assembly question of what could be done to make our parks and green spaces even better for residents and visitors, and ensure that everyone has access to quality green spaces. The residents then explored:

In the afternoon, we heard from community gardens, community safety, residents associations, climate emergency groups, young people and poets!

We then gave people the opportunity to think about any ideas that they think are critical based on what they have heard today.

They were also able to discover:

You can see more on our citizens' assembly site.



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Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese