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Collective Community Action: ftwork is part of a new campaign to put communities at the centre of urban change

I’m excited to be part of a new campaigning network, Collective Community Action, launching today.

Collective Community Action is an assembly of individuals with a shared goal – to discuss, communicate, provoke and propose the changes needed to ensure communities are at the heart of urban change for the better. We are a group of active citizens, built environment professionals, community engagement specialists, educators, consultants and social entrepreneurs striving to advance the role that communities play in shaping the city.

In the past 18 months ftwork’s been involved in many activities aimed at giving people a proper role in determining how their environments can change for the better. They range from debating the wording of policy – as a very active participant in the Draft London Plan’s Examination in Public – to developing an innovative community engagement programme, My Place, involving children and young people in every stage of estate regeneration. Then, as the first lockdown ended we launched an online platform,, to collect, research and help sustain the extraordinary community response to the pandemic of mutual support and social innovation.

Collective Community Action (CCA) could not be more timely. In so many ways it brings together the threads of ftwork’s recent activities, because what they all demonstrate is the power of collaborative effort – across sectors, local groups and interests – to bring about lasting social change. The group has pooled experiences, debated principles and come up with strong ideas, but crucially we all recognise that this is not enough unless we can provoke positive change. The CCA manifesto – which calls for the mayoral candidates to commit to a Mayoral Statement of Community Involvement (MSCI) – marks the first of a series of initiatives.

Our next Mayor must seize this moment to recognise and commit to the value of local knowledge and self-determination, to build thriving communities, to heal divides in the capital, and to honour and build on the central role played by local communities during the pandemic.

Once you’ve read the manifesto, below, with its compelling examples, we hope you’ll get behind CCA’s initiatives. To lend your support and be kept up to date on our activities, email me at And please share the manifesto: A Network Campaigning for Change

Among many endorsements already are these from Centre for London and the Design Council:

“We at Centre for London share CCA’s commitment to meaningful public involvement in planning. We look forward to working with the team at CCA to put some of these ideas into practice, so that London can be an exemplar for genuine community engagement in the development process” Ben Rogers, Founding Director, Centre for London

“Design Council truly believe in the power of design to transform lives and create inclusive places and environments. At the heart of this lies people, communities, users and beneficiaries. To truly design well, equitably and with impact, we need to engage, empower and understand people. We can only do this if we have a truly diverse, trans-disciplinary professionals and recognise that the way we approach development and creation needs to change. We need to build and facilitate the conditions for meaningful collaboration, co-creation and engagement. Design Council and their Built Environment network are active in creating these conditions, and endorses the work of this group to further the mission” Sue Morgan, Acting Joint Chief Executive, Design Council

Clare Richards, January 2021

To read the Manifesto click ‘Read full blog’ button below

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