On Wednesday 15th March in London we discovered a new community coalition called Reclaim Our Spaces (RoS), which purpose is to enhance community engagement in London.
Born in June 2016, RoS is focused on the protection of public space in its wide and diverse definition, including different populations with their different needs, temporalities and identities.
RoS is a coalition, meaning that it is organised horizontally with different communities. It offers a space to build communities, in a London context where forces such as land pressure, privatisation and gentrification hinder them.
Ordinary citizens are coming together to hold City Hall accountable to the community. Beyond classic Planning consultations already implemented, we talked about co-designing the city, making it a more horizontal process rather than a top-down product. Many citizens keep being excluded from the planning process, which seems increasingly driven by economic forces.
RoS offers a platform where ordinary citizens can challenge the way the city is produced, by empowering less visible communities and highlight the importance. RoS is a tool to hold public bodies accountable to properly engage with communities.
As Empathy Walks we are by such initiative and wish to work collaboratively with coalitions such as Reclaim Our Spaces. We hope that our project will support, outreach and make more visible London’s diversity.