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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

51. Pop Up Local Democracy

If we can have pop up shops and pop up restaurants then why not pop up local democracy?  Actually I'm guessing this is already happening - I'd love to hear examples.

I've blogged before about the importance of weaving democracy into the urban space.  At a time when there are so many shops, houses and other buildings sitting empty why not take the opportunity to bring local politics closer to the public. 

In particular it's worth thinking about the techniques of pop up retail.  Setting something up and blitzing the immediate area with publicity, people with leaflets and sandwich boards; using traditional and social media to generate interest.

These 'events' would be temporary - quick hits. 

The kinds of things I've got in mind are:

Pop Up Scrutiny:  Take over an empty shop in the city centre for a few weeks to open public access to a scrutiny review.  As well as consultation materials why not locate scrutiny officers there so they are on hand to answer questions and record ideas.

Pop Up Consultation:  For planning or anything else.  The empty shop / house can be recreated imaginatively as an exhibition space using displays, models or whatever.  

Pop Up Councillor Surgeries:  Rather than the traditional community centre or town hall locations, groups of councillors could take over somewhere unexpected for a day to deal with casework or any other queries.  The very fact of 'popping up' somewhere unexpected might just generate some additional public interest.

One advantage would be the ability to match the location with the topic; to go to where the public are.  So, for example; a shop in the city centre for city wide issues; an empty house in a residential area for community issues.

Update:  A couple of nice tweets in response to this -thanks guys!

Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marmite_pop-up_shop_in_2009.jpg

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