Coldean Community Organisation is GO! by Ian Bailey

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The continuing community led development work in Coldean that Studio Sevens have been helping to facilitate alongside the Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust has led to the setting up of a new organisation! Coldean Community Organisation is a Community Benefit Society which has the express aims of providing affordable housing, sports and community facilities to members of the Coldean neighbourhood. Formed with a board of highly skilled and motivated local ladies CCO is powering forward with the development of its relevant policies with a view to welcoming its first members in the coming months.

CCO is partnering with BHCLT to develop a site in Coldean and provide 16 affordable family homes built to a highly sustainable specification and a substantial community sports facility that will also provide additional spaces for other uses too including commercial enterprise. They will be seeking to raise some funding through grants and community shares as well as conventional borrowing for the project so watch this space and we will keep you updated with how you can connect into the project as it develops.

Studio Sevens are supporting CCO as they develop the project and continuing to facilitate ongoing Have Your Say meetings in the area to maintain community engagement in the collaborative design process for the site and its buildings.

Radical Futures Housing Forum - 27th September 2018 by Ian Bailey

Ian had the privilege of speaking at the 3rd University of Brighton Housing Forum meeting on 27th September. As a part of a panel of four speakers including Luis Diaz & Michael Howe (UoB) and Lisa Hartley of Sealsalt Student Cooperative, Ian presented a brief overview of his vision for community led development being the only viable alternative framework for providing affordable housing. Starting with the existing developer led or top down development methods Ian expanded his views on how a community led approach increases engagement, viability, flexibility and local cohesiveness as well as reducing risk and enhancing health and well being.

Citing the Doughnut Economics model by Kate Raworth and her 7 principles for thinking like a 21st Century Economist Ian outlined how we should be thinking differently about housing development in general. Ian also suggested that the use of community land trusts is only one part of a larger approach to developing better housing stating that Community Engagement, Enlightenment and Empowerment (EEE) followed up with viable Shared Financial Systems (SFS) are the other components necessary.

Studio Sevens work in Coldean with the community featured throughout the presentation along with an expression of our continued desire to work out how to develop the EEE and SFS stages into a more coherent and accessible package for communities to facilitate communities moving forward more easily.

The Radical Futures Housing blog is located here :


Coldean Community : Have Your Say II & more... by Ian Bailey

During May & June Studio Sevens and the Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust hosted two more Have Your Say meetings in Coldean. These explored further the key themes which were developed from the initial meeting; Green Spaces, Affordable Family Housing, Community Connections & Community Facilities.

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During these meetings members of the community came together to specifically investigate how these themes might develop into tangible projects which would benefit the local people. Small groups of people naturally coalesced around these themes based on their own interests and  working with a combination of collaborative discussion groups, brainstorming and analogue mapping techniques based on local experience they explored opportunities, concerns and associated factors to the development of projects for each one.

These projects vary significantly in their potential outcomes, but carry a common theme of benefitting the community of Coldean in one way or another. Community sports facilities, adult education & meeting spaces, encouraging bio-diversity on the green spaces within the built environment, tree planting and children's play spaces, affordable community owned family housing, cooperative productive food growing spaces, road safety and infrastructure development; all of these different opportunities are all being investigated.

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The next stage will be for the small groups who are taking ownership of these ideas developing them, seeking funding, collaborating with agencies both local and national to enable them to grow and facilitate change. We expect there to be another meeting in the autumn where the groups will feedback to each other on the progress they have made and begin to support one another further with their own learning and experience. In the meantime Studio Sevens will continue to seek funding support for developing a neighbourhood plan which encompasses many of the values and the shared vision for the community which has come out of the meetings to date.

What happens next has the potential to impact the current residents of Coldean positively of course, but more importantly it carries the opportunity to make the area sustainable for the next generation of residents. This relates as much to local infrastructure such as affordable housing, education, health & well being and local facilities as it does to developing a shared vision and common values that help to bind people together as a community.