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Local 2.0 - Councils getting hyperlocal

For a while now, we at the Young Foundation have been interested in how councils can use hyper-local media to strengthen dialogue and collaboration at the local level. We have a bit of experience in the hyper-local & Web 2.0 field, having been involved with fixmystreet, Social Innovation Camp, a now defunct neighbourhood’s wiki and the excellent, newly launched, Maslaha.

This summer we were given money from DCLG’s Empowerment Fund to see how local authorities could practically use hyper-local media. A few months ago we sent out a proposal councils across England - asking for them to partner with us on a new project called Local 2.0. Quite surprisingly, nearly 40 councils sent submissions to us (we even had an enquiry from a local authority in Australia; they weren’t willing to pay travel expenses…). We ended up choosing three councils to work with: Kirklees, Kensington and Chelsea, and Kings Lynn and West Norfolk.

They are all different both in characteristics and what they want from Local 2.0. Kirklees are keen to develop shared spaces where online services, public sector information and community content are combined around hyper‐local needs and interests. Kensington and Chelsea want to develop local networks that can help residents connect and collaborate, and in Kings Lynn we will be seeing how hyper-local media can compliment the work of their neighbourhood management service.

We’re still at the beginning of the project and there will undoubtedly be lots of lessons which will be useful to others out there and I am sure we will learn lots from other work being done others. Our main method of communication will be through our blog, so please look in for regular updates.

- A special thank you to Mandeep Hothi, Associate in the Local Innovation Team at the Young Foundation for this guest post.

Picture: 'Local 2.0' written inside a street sign placed on a brick wall.

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