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Deputy Prime Ministerís Sustainable Communities Summit Manchester February 2005

Zen and the Art of Sustainable Communities

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The Shoreditch Trust Housing team in London explores Amartya Sens five freedom governance charter in their delivery plan.
Shoreditch Trust in London explores Amartya Sen’s five freedom governance charter in their delivery plan.



Shoreditch Trust is a community-led regeneration agency funded through the UK’s Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s New Deal for Communities programme until 2010. The Shoreditch Trust housing team assists in developing sound policy making in Shoreditch by enabling the voice of the community to be heard and reforming and reinvigorating the appropriate delivery of essential services such as improvements to housing and environment, related services, increased supply of affordable housing, participation and influence of communities, and sustaining communities as they undergo change.

A key goal in their work is to enable a long term governance framework that includes all stakeholders. They believe there is an increasing awareness that governance charters can bring development opportunity to an effective level of operation, integrating differing inputs and the myriad of players and stakeholders at differing levels, including local government, tenant resident associations and developers.

Successful sustainable development will require a process of engagement with the community to enable governance that increases the capabilities and opportunity of residents to take a lead responsibility in creating solutions that deal with the real life situations they face now and in the future.

Over the last 6 months the housing team has been working with Removing Unfreedoms Project to explore the application of Sen's five freedom governance framework and indicators. The first step began with discussions and a review of their last five year achievements. This process was followed up with an introduction and trialing of the Removing Unfreedoms guidebook and governance tool kit.

A key goal in their work is to enable a long term governance framework that includes all stakeholders. They believe there is an increasing awareness that governance charters can bring development opportunity to an effective level of operation, integrating differing inputs and the myriad of players and stakeholders at differing levels, including local government, tenant resident associations and developers. This includes improvements to housing and environment, related services, increased supply of affordable housing, participation and influence of communities, and sustaining communities as they undergo change.

Shoreditch Trust’s housing team are seeking to locate the 5 freedom principles within Shoreditch Standard - the value framework for delivering the housing strategy. If the approach is adopted, local government, public and private stakeholders could all implement the 5 instruments of freedom as a process of shared governance indicators. Amartya Sen's 5 tools and framework might assist the endorsement and implementation of a shared charter where authority and responsibility devolve from the national to city, from city to community level and therefore protect and enable local culture economies and lifestyles.

Given the freedom and the opportunity, housing and environment initiatives could be successfully led by residents in partnership with local government and developers. However the goal of Amartya Sen's governance framework goes further with the aim to secure a process of ever expanding freedoms that enable spontaneous municipal initiatives-- initiatives that continue to increase the resident’s capabilities and quality of life. Shoreditch Trust is keen to explore the usefulness of the 5 freedoms whilst remaining mindful of the pitfalls and complexities of regeneration work.

In the next 12 months Shoreditch Trust aims to test and further explore these governance tools and review whether this methodology will enable a process for social pressures to result in partnerships that help to redefine current urban policy and planning. By addressing urban policy and governance issues in relation to their environmental works programme and self-funding regeneration initiatives the housing team aims to influence working practices, design codes, and developers in order to reflect the contribution residents and local culture offers.

Currently the Shoreditch Trust housing team is working in an area that comprises 6 25 estates, about 6,500 homes and over 20,000 residents in Shoreditch.
0 Comments
Posted on 25 Sep 2006 by Harry Adams

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