In my previous post, I talked about what the future looks like for people excluded from the economy and who weren’t able to influence change. In this post, I will focus on another group who are not benefiting from economic growth but who are able to help themselves and/or each other. They are people who find it difficult to cope with the changes around them, but have the support networks to help get by and even make a living.
They may be economically inactive/unemployed but with strong family/social networks enabling them to make a living through online Uber-style platforms. They have good mobility thanks to support from others but do not own a vehicle. They may sacrifice what they spend on basics, to be able to afford to stay in the borough. They view gentrification as economically negative but improving fabric of local area.
They are likely to say:
“I will look after and get support from people I trust, my family, friends or neighbours”.
How do they look after themselves?
They use and develop local support networks to look after themselves — from sharing care to shared housing, which can fail people when those aren’t available.
What do they want?
They want to be able to count upon the people & communities they trust to insulate them from the change they don’t feel able to deal with, rather than accessing services they don’t trust or can’t afford.
What do they consume?
They rent out and share their products & food with others in the neighbourhood. Families will change their expenditure, realising savings and changing retirement plans to help their children get accommodation.
What motivates them to engage with public services?
They want the financial and political investment by councils to focus on their community.
How do they get along with others?
They are happy to support each other in their neighbourhoods, because they know each other through family, faith and street or estate-based networks.
Due to the focus on the neighbourhood, people who don’t come from there don’t feel like they belong.
How do they use technology?
They use the free digital infrastructure to develop hyper local neighbourhoods and networks to support each other. Examples might include variants of Freecycle that facilitate exchange of non-financial resources. For this group, time is likely to be their greatest resource and they will use technology to monetise that or leverage non-financial benefit. They will adapt to altered levels and methods of service delivery by looking inward to find and exploit resources.
What are the challenges for councils?
How do we support their local support networks to become more resilient in helping people look after themselves?
How do we attract investment to develop infrastructure to help them benefit from economic growth?
How do we mediate between competing interests at ward or even street level?
How do we engage people who trust their communities but not formal services?
What are the spaces where people mix that we can support? How do we engage people in different ways? How can we build on what people are already doing?