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What would you do to make our town an even better place to be? A project inspired by Jane Jacobs.

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Presentation on theme: "What would you do to make our town an even better place to be? A project inspired by Jane Jacobs."— Presentation transcript:

1 What would you do to make our town an even better place to be? A project inspired by Jane Jacobs

2 One-Idea-One-Minute formed part of the Jane’s Walk 2013 launch on Saturday May 4 th at Slack Space, Colchester. We called on Colchester folk to present one idea in one minute on the subject of What would you do to make our town an even better place to be? No limits were placed on ideas - serious, playful, off the wall; small, large, conservative or radical. This slideshow is the end result. Please share widely, enjoy, feel inspired by... Be in touch with any of us if you like our ideas; and/or use this platform to share your own. Just send your idea to and it will appear here Jane Jacobs, in whose memory Jane’s Walk was established, believed in the importance and vision of local people to understand and shape the places where they live. So...

3 Ben Benedetti ( My cunning plan...

4 My cunning plan is to install a series of loudspeakers around the town centre and to utilise these (at weekends) to broadcast ambient/relaxation type music i.e. J M Jarre, a little light jazz maybe, the kinda stuff you hear on relaxation tapes, etc. Ben Benedetti ( The idea is to thus promote a less hyperactive and more laid back and calming atmosphere whilst people are coming out of and going between pubs, bars,and clubs, and to reduce instances of anti-social and violent behaviour. The system could operate say, between 11pm and 3 or 4 am, and hopefully the costs would be borne by the many businesses who profit from the late night trade. These businesses would be allowed a modest amount of advertising over the system in recognition of their financial contribution, and 'public service' type announcements could also be made (i.e. SOS bus, Samaritans, Night Shelter, etc.).....

5 Fun! Andrew Budd ( Campaigning should also be fun. Attitude and behavioural change is slow and long term, funding can take a long time, and we need some quick wins. Step up "FUN". Promote and support events for the short term, celebrating the wonders of our town, preferably with a quirky hook to draw people in. How about some of the Jane's Walk events being re-run through the year? Roll out The Bike Book Club. Make Walking Events that link with cultural events already on the calendar (e.g. Hythe Forward). Strolls to suburban cafes and pubs. Fun, fun, fun.

6 Simple Signage Chris Clarke (

7 Simple Signage To link them together and give them more ‘brand identity’ we should look at adding overhead ‘Burlington arcade style’ signage appropriate to heritage status area. Adding these to the ends of routes such as Church Walk will tempt visitors to explore the town further, increasing trade and adding to their great day out. One of the great assets of Colchester are the network of small shopping streets which generates a positive shopping experience. Chris Clarke (

8 Ugly blocks of paint are not nicer to look at than graffiti. All around Colchester you can see places where graffiti has been covered up like this. Not everyone likes graffiti or appreciates it as an art form, but it is certainly nicer to look at than patchy paint. Graffiti can be funny (this was snapped in Colchester during the 2010 election). Graffiti can be beautiful (see Helen and Faye on the Moors). If it has to be covered up, we should find a prettier way to do it. Phil Cruddace (

9 Alex Davis ( ) Guerrilla knitting I would love to change our town by bringing a wide range of craft lovers together to knit or crochet a huge colourful collaborative piece that we use to cover a building, tree or sculpture in the town.

10 Guerrilla Knitting or Yarn Bombing is a type of graffiti or street art uses colourful knitted or crochet yarn. Unlike graffiti it is easily removed, non permanent. Yarn bombing was initially almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places. It has since developed with groups graffiti knitting and crocheting worldwide, each with their own agendas and public graffiti knitting projects being run. I run a crafty club called Stitch & Bitch – we’ve wanted to yarn bomb Colchester for a while. It’s a fantastic opportunity to bring a crafty community together (males, females, young and old) and you can create work by finger knitting so almost anyone can craft a piece. The work is usually then sown together and put up overnight so that the work can be admired, as if it appeared by magic in the morning. I propose to organise the group and the ‘bombing’. We need to pin point something or somewhere we could cover. Meet at 15 Queen Street, Minories and firstsite for drop in knitting sessions and to then plan the Guerrilla attack with a group of nimble helpers. I imagine it could be a month planning, knitting in two/three months and put up in an evening. Who’s with me? Alexandra Davis 07847558303

11 Mia Debenham Bell ( Mia’s Youth Centre & Counselling Service

12 Mia Debenham Bell, aged 10 years ( My idea would be to open up a youth centre (inspired by the youth club k2 that I attend every Wednesday). There will be break dancing workshops, film making workshops, street dancing, music production, breakfast clubs for Saturday mornings and singing and choir. It would be for 9–15 year olds, open Monday to Friday from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. There will also be a counsellor to talk about problems and issues, and last but not least volunteers to help run the club. A tuck shop will be an essential feature of the club. The place it could be is the waiting room at the old bus station because it’s big and central (my mum’s suggestion) The children would be able to participate in a range of fun activities such as art, sports, and games like Xbox, Wii, and board games. Mia’s Youth Centre and Counselling Service

13 The importance of 1° Turning your central heating down by 1° could save you as much as 10% on your heating bill and save 260kg of Co2 per annum. Turn your heating down, Wear a sweater Drive less, Walk more CUT YOUR POLLUTION! The importance of 1° Keith Ellis (

14 Jess Jephcott (

15 He would face the west and defy the enemies that would have threatened the settlement at Camulodunum 2000 years ago. How much money would it cost to make him in Corten steel? Would our borough council allow it? Of course they wouldn't but we can but dream... How about designing a statue of King Cunobelin, 12 metres tall and standing it on the Hillyfields at Colchester as a piece of public art?

16 Inverting the Banana Jess Kenny ( Firstsite in Colchester has no foundations. It sits on the ground like a rowing boat hauled onto a beach. Designed purposely so, to allow archaeological digs into Roman remains below to still be possible (the Berryfield Mosaic is an example of what’s down there), it also allows for the building to be treated like a boat...

17 It would no longer turn its back on Colchester, but embrace it. The large entrance that looms close to The Minories and its Folly would be round the other side. You would start your experience of firstsite nearer the art spaces and the cafe. A more discrete entrance on a more human scale would make for a very different relationship with the building. The garden would face south – lovely on sunny afternoons. Love firstsite just the way you are – but can’t help playing with the idea of turning it round! I can’t help imagining lifting the building in a boat’s hoist and turning it round by 180 degrees. The advantages to this would be: Inverting the Banana Jess Kenny (

18 Emily Harrup (

19 Mags Hobby, Colchester Ramblers ( Walkers are Welcome (WAW) A nationwide accreditation scheme for walker-friendly towns and cities

20 It involves getting all the paths in good order and having businesses keen to attract walking tourism. It requires good marketing of the scheme; with window stickers in food outlets, shops and accommodation providers. It links with the need for good public transport and needs a commitment to the future. There are possibilities to arrange a walking festival week. Local people can get involved as wardens of specific paths. The benefits are good path and guaranteed walker-friendly food outlets for all walkers and additional tourism spend for the businesses. I think Colchester should join. ‘Walkers are Welcome’ is a nationwide accreditation initiative which started in 2007. It begins with showing the will of local people by petition or other means, then getting formal agreement from the local council. Walkers are Welcome (WAW) Mags Hobby, Colchester Ramblers (

21 Robert Johnstone ( An M25 for Colchester?

22 Have a look at the slide – starting in the north, round about the A12, trace a circular route, in either direction, trying to follow the green bits. It can be done, and via a variety of routes. Such a route will connect every village to every other village through a series of radial paths and tracks, and every village to the centre of Colchester, and vice versa. To realise such a vision will take four things: 1.A pro-active Highways Authority, especially the Public Rights Of Way team in Chelmsford 2.A sympathetic Planning Department in Colchester 3.A supportive stakeholder group of landowners, Parish and Town Councils, and user groups around Colchester 4.Finally, and most importantly, an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers sitting right here in Slack Space... I think we're almost 25% of the way there! Well, that title got your attention! It also helped you picture a circular route around the town. Of course I don't wish to see a motorway ploughing its way through the beautiful countryside that surrounds Colchester. Instead, what I am proposing is that this route be a footpath, bridleway and cycle path. Robert Johnstone (

23 Tom Jones ( Improving Public Transport's entertainment value: "It is better to travel well than to arrive" ~ Buddha

24 Such a scheme would improve the experience of people waiting for the bus and for pedestrians, by making the time they spend waiting more interesting. It may encourage more people to use sustainable forms of transport more often, and would also make the everyday experience of the citizens of Colchester that little bit brighter and happier. This improvement in the daily lives of citizens, however small, would in turn lead to happier citizens who may perhaps have a little more pride in their hometown. Pride which may manifest itself in more care being taken of the local environment. The costs involved would be minimal, but one option would be for a consortium of local businesses to sponsor the exhibits, thus providing some publicity and enhancing the local economy. I propose a scheme in which art, in the form of poetry, short fiction, pictures, inspirational quotes and tips for saving money and the environment etc, is installed at bus stops, such that it is only visible to pedestrians, cyclists and those waiting for the bus. The art could be a product of a combination of local and more well-known artists. It would have to be inconspicuous enough not to detract from the functionality of the information at each bus stop i.e. timetables, but also visible enough for people to easily read/view/appreciate. There could also be some element of "collection", in the same fashion as Colchester zoo's "Stand Tall" campaign this year, whereby an app can be downloaded which allows you to scan unique QR codes at each site and reap benefits at local businesses, thus improving trade for these local businesses. It would also be a platform, albeit a small one, for local artists and writers to display their work.

25 Ryan Jones ( Not least of which the one I wish to hammer home... that the ‘Lyle Lanley’ character, who is clearly not a stakeholder in the best interests of Springfield, is able to influence the town with glitz, glamour, smoke and mirrors, wowing the residents with proposed marvels (that never really come to fruition). Similar in my mind to the Hythe Regeneration masterplan. There are many lessons to be learned from the Simpsons... The masterplan that I first saw in maybe 2006 was breathtaking! Nothing at all like the version that is beginning to become a reality... which doesn't have half the public open space on offer amongst a raft of other no show masterplan pieces.

26 In this episode of the Simpsons (Lyle Lanley and the Springfield monorail) it's the lone voice of Marge who isn't hypnotised by Lyle Lanley's snake oil salesman pitch... She speaks up and advocates for the pot holes in main street. Marge: But Main Street's still all cracked and broken! Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken. SO... My proposal for making Colchester a better place? A way of ensuring that the voice of the unheard stakeholders, the marginalised citizens of Colchester, is heard above the 'Lyle Lanleys' of this world, or the wild and loud ‘mob’ (which I compare to the habitual letter writers to the local rags). My proposal is for the setting up and supporting of local independent self advocacy forums... with no political agenda, but with independent facilitation and community capacity building at it's heart. A group whose sole purpose and agenda is to collect and collate the thoughts and feelings of all the residents of the town, to train groups and people and develop the skills needed to see the bigger picture and speak up about "what's best for the town". It would be a group that went out and sought out the feelings of the isolated, the lonely, the disabled, the elderly, the youth, the small businesses, the disenfranchised, the elements of the community that need to be heard and with a little support can be active citizens with a lot to contribute. Ryan Jones (

27 We can dream cant we ? Dorian Kelly ( In Colchester we define culture as an environment which encourages growth and nurture. It is not just art. Art is an important component, but that’s not what culture is about. It is to do with day to day living. It is to do with the quality of life. It is even a reason for living. Everything other than culture is just housekeeping.

28 A good start is to incorporate all these ideas into a single document. This document “The Big Ideas” was started as part of a now-abandoned bid to get Colchester nominated as UK City of Culture 2017 when ideas for everything under the sun were sought, discussed and refined into a single document. A wish list for all kinds of ideas and projects. Some of these items ranged from the entirely practicable to the just about feasible, such as the building of a replica Roman Theatre at Gosbecks. They are ideas of for buildings, for using existing buildings, for Opera, for public art, for better use of bus shelters, for the creation of a light railway- the list goes on. But we need more, so I would love to incorporate any ideas you have. Colchester is awash with amazing people who dream up wonderful ideas and projects like the ones we have been hearing about so far – and more to come- to help Colchester to be a better, more human and happier place, a more productive and healthier environment, and yes a more contented one. But ideas like some of the ones that have been mooted already, great as they are, will come to nothing unless the second step is taken to help put them into practice. It is hoped that the ideas contained in this document will be made freely available in the public domain as an online resource so that anyone in the future will be able to implement any of them, or use them as inspiration for ideas of their own. Keep the ideas and the dreams coming.

29 Rowena Macaulay ( The Maidenburgh Tree project

30 The Maidenburgh Tree project (Dutch Quarter) At its lower end one of the prettiest streets in town, Maidenburgh St. is let down at the top by a lot of 1970s red-brick redevelopment and a certain amount of neglect. On the left side (heading away from the High St), Swann Alley - the would-be-sweet cut-thru to George St - is today badly neglected. Although a public highway, it is dark, dirty, littered with broken glass, and blocked by stinking wheelie bins. On the right, a large swathe of grey tarmac car park dominates, bordered by vast red-brick walls. In the summer though a lovely thing happens when the two sides of the road are temporarily linked by a shaft of light that falls directly down the alley from the west, in the afternoon, and lands on a spot of car park opposite. My idea is for 3 simple, connected acts – 1.Firstly, the reclaiming, resurfacing and re-lighting of Swann Alley. 2.Secondly, the planting of a mature tree opposite, exactly where the pool of light falls, set into a stone planter and surrounded by a circular wooden bench, both made by local artisans. 3.Finally, the linking of the two sides with beautiful custom-designed brick-paving, giving a sense of continuity along the length of the alley, connecting with the cobbles of the main street and then spiralling around the tree. In these 3 ways, we can help restore a little ugly duckling of an alley to its true inner Swan (both beautiful and useful), and make a courtyard out of a car park...

31 Pam Nelson ( WHAT'S GOING ON? The councils (Colchester and Essex) have been discussing for years the best way to improve our High Street. At long last ECC had given CBC permission to reduce the number of vehicles, and the trial was beginning to work. After just three weeks, ECC pulled the plug. We want a better High Street

32 Pam Nelson ( We want a better High Street WHY HAS THE CAMPAIGN BEEN LAUNCHED? Less pollution (legal requirement, CBC could be fined); More efficient public transport (buses ran on time for three weeks!)’; Healthier (more people walking and cycling more often); Profitable (more enjoyable experience for shoppers). We need to make sure no-one is significantly disadvantaged - but a lot of people have to accept some inconvenience for the common good. Keep the trial running (don't let ECC dictate what's best for us). Doing nothing is not an option. WHAT CAN YOU DO? Tell ECC what you want: email Tell them you support this petition (now closed for online signatures) council-keep-the-colchester-better-town-centre-trial-running-for-its-full-period See and (WWABHS)

33 Penny Rickman (

34 My idea is to fully utilise the disused shops such as the old Keddies or the old slack space building in Queen St. I had thought it would be good to have these as a covered market but understand this idea is already in operation. However, to develop this idea, I think the stalls could have a sliding scale of charges dependent on whether the profits link to a charity or community project i.e. no charge, if a stall relates to local produce or industry or benefits the community in some way then it could have a small charge, and if it is purely commercial then a slightly larger charge. This would be for small businesses only. Bearing in mind that the cost of stalls outside of the old Jacks are still quite extortionate and even the fruit and veg stalls are hanging on by a thread. An alternative idea would be to have a permanent vintage and retro market under cover in one of these venues. Anything which utilises the empty buildings the queen street end must be good and should bring visitors to this end of town. It would also be an idea to have a covered area for the soup kitchen to operate from in bad weather. Penny Rickman (

35 Faye Savage ( I love Jumbo! Watch my one-minute long slide here: 1 minute Jumbo. Or read it here

36 Faye Savage ( I love Jumbo! Jumbo is of huge historical significance – it was unique at the time it was built because of it’s size and is unique now because many water towers of the same age are gone. Jumbo is a huge presence in Colchester – it is the first thing you see when you come into Colchester. It’s sad to see Jumbo crumble – it should not be wasted space but celebrated and used by the community. I also think Jumbo’s structure could be put to fun use – I think the spiral stair case could be turned into a slide and a zip wire or cable car could run from the top to the Castle!

37 Pam Schomberg ( The problem with our High Street is... it is GREY

38 Pam Schomberg ( In fact, the High Street seems to be dedicated to metal poles with ‘no parking’ signs. More than 40 of them. There is a new post designed to take a sign plus a floral display. This would be an obvious solution to our High Street. Colchester in Bloom is happy to support this. As it stands, there is no permission given for floral displays on poles that have a sign. So this is what we have in our High Street, barren of colour but rich in ‘no parking’ signs... The problem with our High Street is it is GREY... This was compounded when we had the vehicle ban, because all you could see was grey road. No floral displays, nothing colourful or expressing joy.

39 Sarah-Jane Walsh ( If I could change one thing……….

40 Helen Whitten ( Fit cameras to cats is something I would do to make our town an even better place...

41 Helen Whitten ( Neighbourhoods all around Colchester are crammed with cat lovers and their cats. As a resident of New Town, I know that every street and every corner in my area is being patrolled by at least one cat at any given time. Fitting cameras to cats would help to dramatically reduce crime rates in suburbia. Unlike CCTV cameras which are static, Cat Cam would provide continual, moving surveillance which could be used to catch criminals and other naughty people. Postscript – cat lovers will have noted with interest that Helen’s one-minute-idea is in fact the first to have been taken up more widely: persuaded by her logic, a recent Horizon team special ‘The Secret Life of Cats’ fitted 50 willing moggies living in a village in Surrey with ‘cat-cams’. No burglars were caught - turns out this wasn’t that kind of village – but the action was good and you can watch it all here:

42 Subterranean Southway 1 Southway road is an ugly bypass that cuts Colchester in half It disempowers residents, cyclists, pedestrians It depersonalises the town Simon Wright (

43 Subterranean Southway 2 Proposal: Put Southway in a tunnel between Headgate and St Botoloph’s Roundabout Opportunity to Realign Nature & the Town Highways out of site Hidden Highway in France No southway!! Green SpaceReconnected walkways Simon Wright (

44 The End Or maybe just the beginning of something. To everybody who contributed to the One-Idea-One- Slide-One-Minute event, launching Jane’s Walk 2013, thank you for your imagination and your time! If any of the ideas presented here strike a chord with you (whether or not you were part of the one-idea-one-slide event), please be in touch with one another via the email addresses given and start a conversation! All big ideas begin that way... We would be very grateful for everybody’s help in circulating this slideshow to your respective networks where these exist, and to friends who you think may be interested. Thank you.

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