Wild Labs – come and join us in Birmingham

One of the questions we’re grappling with is how we might support people to re-design and co-create the spaces where they live, ultimately helping them to facilitate more Wild Time, activity and connection.

Over the last 9 months we have been running a Wild Lab with Birmingham City Council and through it we started to explore this concept of active citizenship as a means to get people active and engaged. The idea behind it is that we might somehow shift the balance of power from the state to the individual through a series of open processes.

Movement Spaces workshop, Wroclaw

Last week Mark was invited to Wroclaw, Poland to share some of our work with a group of NGOs and municipal leaders from 5 cities (Barcelona, Paris, Wroclaw and Plovidv as well as Birmingham) as part of a project called Movement Spaces and facilitated by ISCA.

Movement Spaces is a European funded project that is exploring how urban spaces can be reframed to support physical activity for communities, redesigning the very fabric of a city to support movement, connection and community. As that project has developed they have started to explore the idea of movement beyond organised sport into looser, freer community particpiation like the work we have been exploring in Birmingham.

We shared four key questions at the workshop that have emerged through our Wild Lab.

  • How can we reach more diverse communities of interest to help us reach new groups for whom participation in shaping their space has never felt ‘for them’ or that they’d never felt they had been asked to participate before? It is going to take more than a few focus groups to really shift this balance of power in the relationship between decision maker and citizen.
  • How can we break out of our sector comfort zones to connect with some of the really big social innovation trends that are emerging? We see an urgent need to connect nature based interventions with fast emerging social innovation and creative trends, ideas like Participatory City and this idea of an inclusive city that are being driven by this rapid shift to more distributed, open networked visions for our urban communities.
  • We’re increasingly seeing a change in the conversation around how a space is owned – a new model of pseudo-private ownership. But this conversation rarely seems to be happening at a grassroots level so how do we help communities reclaim their common right to the land that they live on?
  • How can we rewild communities from the inside out? While the environment can support it to happen, the individual has to see this possibility themselves and within them. There is an element of not asking for permission to get stuck into changing their community, and that will be evident and hopefully contagious amongst citizens.

If you are interested in exploring these further with us we will be running a 2-hour workshop at Move Congress in Birmingham from 11th to 13th October this year. There are still tickets available and you can sign up here.

Huge thanks to ISCA for the invitation and for the chance to explore the city of Wroclaw, a fasincating and wild place including possibly our favourite ever urban beach bar.

children, city, community, green space, innovation, Movement Spaces, Nature, Outdoor Play, VANISHING GREEN SPACE