What to do with £400 million?

This post was first published by the Young Foundation on June 6, 2012.

What to do with £400 million? That is the estimated amount going into economic development and regeneration in north Tottenham from the Haringey Council, GLA, and Spurs in the coming years.

The role of the local community in these regeneration plans is very much in the spotlight, more so now post-riots. Research carried out by the Young Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and others has demonstrated that community participation is absolutely crucial to the social sustainability and success of new development and services. The challenge is not only engaging local communities honestly and authentically, but making sure that local residents have the skills and capacity to involve themselves fully in the process of creating a better Tottenham.

The Young Foundation recently designed and facilitated a community summit on the draft regeneration strategy for Tottenham which included Council officers, local traders, the police, MP David Lammy, elected Council members, and third sector organisations. The main priorities of the regeneration strategy (e.g. healthier and stronger communities, a stronger local economy, higher quality housing, excellent public space and transportation) were discussed and gaps and areas for collaboration identified. This is one step in a longer term process of engaging the community in creating a better Tottenham. Feedback from participants was that the summit went well but they are keen to see what the next steps will be and how plans will move forward.

Meanwhile, other changes are already afoot in Tottenham that local stakeholders feel passionate about. This was dramatically highlighted at Thursday's Development Management Forum organized by the Council with Grainger, the proposed developer, on the redevelopment of Seven Sisters Wards Corner. The meeting ended in chaos with local residents, business owners, and other stakeholders walking out in protest.

£400 million can go a long way to help make Tottenham a place where people want to live, work, and play. As we are learning from the community summit, and meetings like the Development Management Forum, people care passionately about Tottenham and success won't come from parachuting in the same old, same old but in engaging with the community in processes that are co-created, innovative, and probably a bit messy.

This blogpost was written by Tricia Hackett, Senior Associate at the Young Foundation. Tricia leads Tottenham Together: Voices from the Riots - a project commissioned by the Haringey Community Panel to engage local residents in conversations about the impact of the riots and how the community can recover and more forward.