8th June 2012

More from our Neighbourhood GeoVation Finalists

Viv Alexander

Over the next couple of weeks we are giving you more information on the ideas that are going forward to the ‘How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain together?’ GeoVation Showcase.   Last week we told you about Charting the Coldspot and Sustaination,  today, you can find out more about Come To Your Senses and Schools in Transition.  If you’d like to see the ideas pitch for a share of £115,000 in funding at Ordnance Survey on 20 June- sign up for your free ticket.

Come To Your Senses – Map your experience

Come to your sensesWe aim to facilitate the making of meaningful cartographies to help make sense of our relationship with our neighbourhoods. Come To Your Senses (CTYS) helps people increase self-awareness and become more socially engaged by mapping experiences, emotions and stories. To date we have visualised this kind of data in physical workshops using our creative facilitation skills. This service is for citizens, and for groups/organisations interested in localism and community engagement.

For many reasons, 97% of communities in the UK have become more socially fragmented over the past three decadesCTYS offers a space in which people can articulate why, and express the passion and fears they have for their community. There is a need for creative learning opportunities where we can re-imagine our everyday in an era where life is undermined through austerity, closure, recession, environmental threat, lack of social cohesion, fragmentation of communities and individualization.

We seek funding for an app and a website which we can use together with our face-to-face workshops to take the project to more communities and build something meaningful with the data we collect. The app would collect experiences from the public as well as our workshops. In addition, community group leaders and active members would be trained to use the app as an engagement tool. The website would be used firstly to visualise rich, meaningful content in a variety of media on a map, and secondly to analyse this data (enriched by data from other sources).

CTYS is about real life value for individuals and communities, helping them to document their experience and see the bigger picture. Through sharing stories people are rewarded, and through analysis we make sense of the data, feedback and contribute to social research.

For more information visit www.ctys.org.uk

Schools in Transition: Mapping Local Communities: Transition Network

How connected to your local place do you feel? Do you know where the nearest flow of water is? —and I don’t mean down the drain! If you live in a city you may not be aware that streams are still flowing under the pavements. The geographical area that catches all the water for a stream or river is called a watershed. Each one of lives in a watershed and in the future we are likely to need to rely on our local bio-regions (that’s another way of talking about a watershed) and communities much more for the resources we need, and for the social, cultural and community bonds needed to sustain our wellbeing.

In the Transition movement we see that we are currently experiencing a “bumpy plateau” at the peak of conventional oil production; and urgently need to reduce global carbon emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Our pitch to Geovation is to develop a digital on-line mapping tool (and large-scale print-outs of O.S. maps) that first of all define the local watershed. On top of that the school maps the social system that it sits in, looks for the relationships that will move that system towards sustainability (like organic food growers, bee-keepers, renewable energy generation and local businesses) and defines a project that it can take action on in the local community.Map reach

Having tested the mapping tools, resources and ways of learning and engagement for taking action in the Dart watershed we will offer this blueprint around the country and internationally. We want watersheds to enter the national consciousness and for people to take responsibility for these bio-regions, which means protecting them from pollution, seeing them as living systems, managing the natural and human resources within them well, valuing them as their basins of relations and feeling bounded once more by the natural world.