Case study: Every One Every Day
Creating the World’s First Large-Scale, Fully Inclusive Participatory Ecosystem
Introducing Every One Every Day
Rooted in Participatory City’s nine years of engagement with people at the forefront of developing “participatory culture” as a critical building block for sustainable urban neighbourhoods in the future, Every One Every Day is an attempt to turn one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK into a new type of community: one teeming with rich relationships, collaborative projects and civic participation.
How does Every One Every Day work?
Every One Every Day is working to build a thriving ecosystem of “participatory culture projects”, which are characterised by:
- Equality: diverse participants on an equal footing
- Mutual benefit: people contributing and benefiting at the same time
- Peer-to-peer collaboration: community members working directly together
- Productive activity: the creation of tangible things
- Accessibility: low or non-existent barriers, so as many people as possible are included
Growing an ecosystem of participatory projects requires two interconnected systems, both of which Every One Every Day is developing:
1. A support platform for growing projects
- Four “Neighbourhood Shops”: visible, accessible community spaces for co-production activities, sessions and events.
- Fifteen other “mini hubs” (the year-one target was three).
- The “Warehouse”: a 3,000 square metre makerspace and co-working space which launched to residents in March 2019.
2. A Participatory Ecosystem for growing participation in projects
A big, varied pool of community projects – encompassing food, drink, arts, DIY, outdoor activities, social groups and more – that make it easy for people to participate. This pool develops organically: projects and ideas are allowed to grow, interact and die without structural constraints such as funding pressures or the drive to turn projects into businesses. This is a person-centred approach: it puts residents first, allowing them to work on projects as, when and how they please.
This two-system model emerged from Participatory City’s experience co-creating participatory cultures with local people around the UK. At its heart is a belief in fostering relationships – between local people, between local people and organisations and between local organisations – that are collaborative and mutually beneficial, not dependent and imbalanced.
The core assumption behind Every One Every Day is that local people have the skills, motivation, ideas and creativity to build thriving, sustainable communities – and that they simply require the right kind of invitation to demonstrate this.
It is also important that the Every One Every Day ecosystem integrates with and supplements wider economic and political systems in Barking and Dagenham. To this end, the team has created a Co-Production Lab, which serves as a basis for multi-sector activity to address complex social problems and allows Participatory City and Barking and Dagenham staff to work together to manage this integration.
What impact is Every One Every Day having?
Impact measurement presents a major challenge for such an ambitious, diffuse project. Over five years, Every One Every Day will monitor five core evaluation criteria:
Can a large, participatory ecosystem be built using this model?
Can such an ecosystem foster inclusive “bridging” networks?
Can it deliver quantifiable value for residents and the borough?
Can it be fully integrated into the local context of services and businesses?
Can the model be effectively replicated in other contexts via a framework?
With that said, there are a number of promising year-one indicators:
hours spent with other residents
projects started in 8 months (double the target)
What can we learn from Every One Every Day?
A few things that stand out to us about the way that Every One Every Day operates:
People are often eager to connect, but need opportunities (and an open invitation) to do so
Especially for building rich community relationships, warm and accessible public spaces are paramount
People are drawn to relationships that offer trust, agency and mutual ownership
Relationships take root in common ground
Want to know more?
What’s next for Every One Every Day?
Participatory City Foundation has recently secured the remaining funding necessary to complete the full five-year research and development project in Barking and Dagenham. Upon conclusion, the project aims to have delivered lasting impact in the borough, securing a sustainable future for the platform in the process, and to have supported replication sites in urban centres elsewhere. Its immediate priorities are to extend the ecosystem of projects and people more broadly and deeply across the borough and to develop the tools and approaches underpinning the cities programme – the programme of learning for other cities and places.
- Every One Every Day’s website includes an extensive Project Directory
- For a thorough update on the project, see Participatory City’s Year One Report
- Every One Every Day was named as one of Nesta’s New Radicals in 2018
- Jon Cruddas, MP for Barking and Dagenham, and Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, have written about how Every One Every Day fits into the council’s vision of civic socialism