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Posted by Paul
on Aug 13th, 2013 and filed under Featured, News.
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I came here to comment on the session I attended, but got distracted by a Google News item on the sidebar over there >>>
Raising Goats in the City
and this one: Livestock Used for Brush Clearance at O’Hare (Chicago Int’l Airport)
Schemes like these could solve a fair few of Birmingham’s persistent and not-so-minor problems.
Mrs Green would like to see the Council take a ‘Yes we can’ attitude to urban livestock, both on public land (grazing in parks to cut mowing costs, reduce carbon footprint, practice sustainable urban agriculture) and privately, as in Oakland.
Today, we have a culture of ‘it can’t be done, it’s against policy/regs/H&S/insurance’, which I think of as the bloody-mindedness of people who are thinking of their own workload rather than the big picture. That mentality has to give way to ‘shall we give it a go?’ for the new neighbourhood strategies to work.
Of course, among other things, it means giving neighbourhood managers some power to make decisions – and mistakes. That means suppressing the blame culture, giving front line managers a modicum of unquestioning support, particularly when those managers are working with voluntary groups to deliver city services.
It also means getting the corrupt/manipulative/obstructive councillors out of the way. Which in turn means having a much more robust auditing/oversight process that the public can have confidence in. I am not going to help the City deliver a service only to see a local Cllr redirect the work I’ve done to his own ends. I’d want a transparent and trustworthy process for auditing the work that gets done.
This sort of citizen involvement has to be grounded not in the fear of losing services, but on the existence of goodwill between volunteers and administrations. That’s a people focus. The new neighbourhood strategies will flourish or founder on the ways participants are treated; the ways people feel after an encounter with neighbourhood management, and with each other as they struggle to solve big problems by doing their bit.
Mrs Green wants to know how these people and their goodwill are going to be managed, recognised, and fostered. She wants to know how transparency, responsibility and human kindness are going to be given space in the process. And then she wants to know how to get stuck in.
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