The Community 21 project uses a social network and planning platform to enable communities as the ‘architects and planners’ of their neighbourhoods under new localism legislation. It facilitates sustainable development and draws together researchers from across disciplines of design, architecture and planning, energy, water, food and land use and social science to undertake action research in real communities.
The project has been presented at national and regional networks and conferences and to Government Ministers – it is about to go into Phase 2 following evaluated pilot use in communities across East and West Sussex and Kent for roll-out through the national network.
Used by communities undertaking statutory neighbourhood plans, Community21 has also proved to be valued as a mapping tool for a whole range of users and projects from co-design research and social engagement projects to corporate and social responsibility (CSR) projects. It will be used for projects such as On Our Doorsteps and for use by CUPP to demonstrate and map our community engagement.
Community21 is designed by Nick Gant in collaboration with Action in Rural Sussex and the National Rural Community Council Network as a functional user platform for inter-community social action, design activism and peer to peer learning for sustainable development.
Arts and Humanities Research Council funding has been awarded to Nick Gant and Professor Neil Ravenscroft to support doctoral students undertaking research into online co-design apps for community development and ‘envisioning’.