If we’re serious about community empowerment and bottom-up change, we need to recognise the inevitability of community conflict and tension. This is particularly important in poor neighbourhoods where resources, so often the cause of conflict, are most scarce. There’s a growing consensus that political and social change will be driven directly in future by individuals and communities. Emerging technologies, a new assertiveness about citizenship rights, and old doubts about big government all mean that the future locus of action will be the individual and the local community. Neighbourhood groups across the country are looking at parishes, co-operatives, development trusts, asset transfers and other mechanisms for driving change locally. Local authorities of all political persuasions are interested in community budgets, participatory budgeting and individual budgets as the way forward for public service reform. Politicians at the national level are often the most vocal supporters of ‘giving power back to the neighbourhood’ … (To read the full article, subscribe below)
John P. Houghton is a freelance public policy consultant.
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