Let it snow?

6 Jan 2010 by Karl Hallam

How does a decent snowfall change behaviour? It does seem to liberate adults to play with their kids. Sledging and snowballing are things the whole family can enjoy. People are walking who never normally do, are they enjoying it? For once children are allowed to play on the road.

The Prime Minister has called for neighbours to look out for each other ... do they really need asking? Maybe they do ... there seems a lot more of an expectation that the council should sort out the roads and pavements than there used to be in the past. Is that being a bit nostalgic? Probably a bit, but observing the local streets, it does seem that older residents seem much more likey to clear the snow off their drive and closest pavement.

All these issues are relevant to our hoodie, goodie, buddy project. Is there a relationship between how well neighbours get on/how much they trust each other and how much they interact on the street outside their homes? Snow creates temporary traffic-free shared space pedestrian zones (and the occasional skiddy cyclist) ... how do they feel?

Returning to expectations of our local authorities, an interesting post by RSA Chief Exec Matthew Taylor today about local innovation and coping with cuts in spending (less money for gritting?). He has often talked about 'pro-social behaviour' (as oppose to anti-), which snow clearing of pavements would fall into. Today he says that 'the message out in public sector land is; we have to do things very differently if we are meet growing needs with shrinking budgets, and that crucial to the capacity to reform and innovate is a much higher level of collaboration, focussed around a shared strategy and a strong sense of place'. These two themes are coming through in our work with the Local Government Yorkshire and Humber, which we will talk about more in future posts.

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