Sunday, 1 April 2018

"Municipalities in Transition" >>> >>> Exploring how municipalities & citizens can work better together >>> >>> on air quality, health & social care and preserving bees...

A new Transition Town project seeks to 'explore how municipalities & citizens can work better together': 

Our future depends on collaboration.  
Civil society has been taking the lead in bringing attention to the situation of the world we inhabit and striving to change the way we relate to the planet as a species, regenerating the damage we have caused and looking for alternative ways of living.
Increasingly, municipalities are starting to join the global movement for change.

The global problems we face, such as climate change, social and economic inequalities and division, consumerism in the face of natural resource limits, and lack of community resilience, urgently require innovative, systemic responses arising from the bottom-up as well as top-down.  

Examples exist worldwide where collaboration between civil society and local public administrations is a reality.
The Municipalities in Transition project aims to bring these experiences together to learn from one another and help other territories begin their own path in a collaborative transition towards a more sustainable future.

Some quick answers

The MiT project has 3 main components:
1. Research existing examples to collaboration between civil society and public administrations
2. Co-design a framework and set of tools based on existing experience that can support the transition process at the municipal level (to be tested in several pilot case studies)
3. Create a thriving community of practice to share learnings and reach out to decision-makers
Municipalities in Transition – Exploring how municipalities & citizens can work better together

There are scores of examples of work on the ground:
Cases files – Municipalities in Transition

These are a few from the South and West:

Air quality: an engaging narrative

Concerns about poor local air quality and health have helped create closer collaboration between local officials, councillors and groups of residents.

CASE STAGE: Well established and running
LOCATION: City of Southampton (UK)
GOVERNANCE: Not defined

Clean Air Southampton was set up as a sub-group of Transition Southampton when our city was asked by our government to create a Clean Air Zone, as it is one of the ten most polluted cities in the UK. It is a campaigning group which networks and informs all concerned people and groups across the city. Its aim is to keep the issue high on the agenda and to work closely with the media and social media – highlighting new research and new solutions.

We work closely with the officers of the Council, the elected members and local and national organisations (such as Friends of the Earth). Anyone can work with us and we support the development of new ideas – we are currently supporting a PhD student who is developing low cost air quality monitors which will be deployed across the city and give us better information about air pollution hot spots.

Our biggest achievement to date is the organisation of a cycle study tour of the Netherlands (nine people representing the City Council (officer and elected), Sustrans, British Cycling, Southampton Cycling Campaign and Clean Air Southampton). We have produced a film to give a glimpse of what we learned.

Our next task is to work with the City Council on its newly-published ten year cycling strategy to encourage a bigger spend on cycling infrastructure and to help with the change of attitude required to put walking, cycling and public transport at the top of local transport priority.

We are also supporting local residents’ groups to measure air quality using diffusion tubes supplied by Friends of the Earth, which helps to give them a focus about road design and safety, as well as protection of children’s health.

Air quality: an engaging narrative – Municipalities in Transition 

Caring Town

Caring Town is a local network of public, voluntary and private organisations and groups that care about our community. We’ve come together to pool our resources, skills and ideas to try to make sure that we all have the health and social care we need, across all stages of our lives

CASE STAGE: Well established and running
LOCATION: Market Town of Totnes (and surrounding district), South Hams, Devon (UK)
GOVERNANCE: Not defined

We know that our local health and social services are under extreme pressure, due mainly to budget cuts. At the same time, we have growing numbers of elderly people often with complex needs. Social isolation is a big problem for many in our community, especially among older people and single parents. There’s not enough well-paid secure jobs in the area, or affordable housing, leading to financial pressure and stress on families in particular. Anxiety and depression are on the rise, especially in young people, and our mental health services cannot meet the demand.

Clearly our local services face an extraordinary set of challenges, with the greatest impact already falling on the most vulnerable. It appears that relying on a government and market approach to deliver what we need is failing us. The good news is that there’s increasing evidence of the contribution that strong, resilient communities can make to support health and well being, and that these approaches lead to better outcomes and significant benefits for individuals, services and communities.

Our area already has a good range of resilience-building activity underway and Caring Town can add to, build on and connect much of this activity through addressing some key health and care issues. We believe there’s a huge opportunity to provide formal and informal support and services in a far better way, with the help of all of us in our local community – with clear roles defined for the statutory, private and voluntary sectors. Collectively, we think have the ideas and likely solutions for many of the issues we face.

Strongly connected to Transition, this emerged from the local TI that convened the network and invited the other players.

Greatest achievements so far – strong working relationships with local public sector health agencies, including county council and clinical commissioning groups (NHS based) and local GP practices. Partnership with Town Council for our town centre signposting service, and bringing in Transition ideas and ideals without specific Transition reference, just as a part of our new ways of working.

Caring Town – Municipalities in Transition 

Pollinator Preservation

Working together with County Councils saves bees, saves the Council £ 240,000 and inspires the public

CASE STAGE: Well established and running
LOCATION: Monmouthshire – Wales (UK)
GOVERNANCE: Not defined

Transition Towns in Monmouthshire meet quarterly with Monmouthshire County Council to explore areas where both parties would benefit. The Transition Towns wanted to provide more pollination friendly areas in the county.

The Council wanted to save expenditure. Transition Towns identified roundabouts and grass verges that would benefit from not being mowed and having native flowers seeded. Monmouthshire Council saw the financial benefit (£240,000 per annum) and identified more verges and roundabouts.

The Council funded flower seeds and Bee Friendly Monmouthshire involved. As a result many acres of grassland with flowers in very public areas were left unmown during summer months, increasing the area for pollinators, greatly enhancing the look of the surroundings engaging the general public, saving emissions from petrol mowers and their transport and saving the Council £240,000 annually.

Meetings are held quarterly to monitor progress – mowing and leaving cuttings causes over fertilisation leading to grass over competing with wild flowers; ensuring native wildflowers are planted.

Pollinator Preservation – Municipalities in Transition

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