All together now: ‘the age of the citizen’ in facts and figures

Lucy Purdy

From participatory democracy to local currencies, signs abound that communities are taking power back into their own hands. Our pick of fascinating facts about people coming together

Democracy to get excited about

Better Reykjavik: a civic forum that connects citizens to the Icelandic capital’s city hall

  • Around 17,378 registered users have submitted more than 6,168 ideas and 13,171 points for and against, since the website was launched in 2010
  • Over the course of a month (before and after Reykjavik’s municipal elections in 2010), 40% of the city’s voters used the platform

Participatory budgeting

  • More than 158,000 people voted in the latest round of the participatory budgeting programme in Paris, deciding how to spend €100m (£87m)
  • This was a 39% increase on 2015
  • The project plans to have spent €500m (£436m) by 2020
  • In 2016, Portugal announced the world’s first participatory budget project on a national scale

 


 

Powerful communities

The switch from nimbyism to swimbyism (Something Wonderful In My Backyard) is seeing communities create their own local food to local energy, all the while being supported by the explosion of local currencies.

Notes from the neighbourhood

  • There are 300 alternative or local currencies listed worldwide, but the true figure is estimated to be nearer 4,500
  • Local currencies include: The Cardiff Pound and The Brixton Pound
  • There are approximately 400 local exchange trading systems (LETS) in the UK and approximately 75 time banks

Tasty territories

  • 71% of UK shoppers believe that buying local produce is important
  • The UK has 65 foods with protected status, including Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, Isle of Man queenies (scallops), and Anglesey sea salt

Share a round

  • Around 60,000 people have invested more than £124m to support more than 400 community businesses in the UK since 2009
  • The Plunkett Foundation estimates there are now around 45 community-run pubs in the UK

Artwork: Give Up Art


This feature is from issue 89 of Positive News

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  • J Bullen

    Wow! This is brilliant news – definitely not out there in mainstream media! So inspiring. Please keep us informed of these opportunities as they arise – I’d like to participate when appropriate but I don’t know how else to find out about these kind of things.

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