In February 2022, we came together to co-produce a manifesto, or list of demands, for a more inclusive central public space. Take a look at our campaign key asks:
OUR KEY ASK
We would like the Council, Piccadilly architects, cultural institutions, and key services to commit institutional support and capacity on a long-term basis to developing a community-led, participatory ‘platform’ in Piccadilly Gardens, with spaces, installations, programmes, and services specifically set aside for, and co-designed with, grassroots organisations, charities, and community groups throughout Manchester
1. Budget prioritised for maintenance and care of the space
2. Friendly local Park Custodians to care for the space, ensuring and protecting the safety of all those who visit
3. More covered spaces, accessible for all bodies, for people to sit and be protected from the Mancunian weather
4. To reinstate free and accessible public toilets in the gardens
5. A multipurpose free-to-access community space for social / cultural / community exchange to allow continuous conversation about the future of the city. Having constant activity in the square will make it feel safer (This space could be used for; pop-ups, events, music, arts, education, ideas hub etc.)
6. A variety of green space to enjoy in the square; for example meadow areas, a lawn, trees and courtyards.
7. A 24hr Advice Hub to provide support on issues such as addiction, benefits, homelessness, staffed by approachable ‘Community Listeners’. Providing a ‘Safe Space’ for all times of the day.
8. Digital, interactive Information Boards in multiple languages to provide information about events and services within the square and wider city and host participatory installations around culture, arts, heritage, and community.
PARTICIPATION, NOT CONSULTATION
How do you reach a wide range of residents and engage them meaningfully in shaping policies and delivery?
How do you reach the people whose voices are least heard but most need to be?
How do we change policy-making from once-a-decade consultation to constant, organic, rich and deep conversation and exchange?
We can transform Piccadilly into a flagship site that is exciting and innovative, and a place that community groups can access, creating a beacon for a positive, participatory and forward-thinking attitude to the square and a reinvigorated civic culture.
Active participation from community members in policy-making will create a heartfelt, richer, more ambitious and collectively-owned vision of our city in comparison to more formal, remote, binary consultation tasks carried out by limited demographics.
Using creative techniques and active participation brings the joy, spontaneity, and energy that can be found in collaboration and should be found in decision-making. Moving away from sporadic top-down consultation to continual conversation and participation is essential in creating a sense of ownership, pride, care, and maintenance that will create a truly cherished and flourishing space.