“Be the change you want to see in the world” is a sentence credited to Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), and it came to my mind as soon as I read about the Changing London campaign.
David Robinson, a community worker and a father of three, and Will Horwitz, a policy researcher for a community charity, both living in east London, opened up the blog with a real fair and objective goal: bring ideas that could shape London for decades to come.
They claim the London mayor has the UK’s largest directly elected mandate (four years), and if politicians don’t pick ideas discussed on the blog, they will persuade them to.
All Londoners are extremely much invited to join in. And, yes, you can disagree, according to their own words: “Disagree with our suggestions by all means but don’t sit still. Having the debate and sparking new thinking is the purpose of the project”.
To contribute, one can send ideas in short sentences through the blog, write a full post on it, comment other people’s posts, communicate via Twitter or collect ideas in the real world. In this case, they explain the conversation must take place on streets and in communities, bringing the online discussion to the off-line world, something truly praiseworthy.
Briefly scanning through the blog, it is possible to find suggestions as public transport tickets to be timed, “so we can switch modes of transport within that time without spending more”, or cancer awareness to be improved, since “it is not taught in education, and this is a worrying issue”.
As the ideas started to emerge, they created some themes:
- Becoming the world’s premier city for children
- Becoming the world’s friendliest city
- A fairer London – tackling inequality and poverty
- Better Housing – solving London’s housing crisis
- Beginning a new kind of politics
- Learning from other cities
That’s an admirable effort! And it should be followed by many other cities around the world. What about a ‘Changing New York’, ‘Changing Tokyo’ or ‘Changing Sao Paulo’ campaign?
Check out pictures on their Flickr page!
London mayoral election
The mayor role was created in 2000, when the first election took place, and Kevin Livingstone was elected. Four years later, he was chosen again.
In 2008, it was Boris Johnson’s turn to become the mayor, and he repeated the feat in 2012. His current salary is £143,911 per year.
The next election will take place on May 5, 2016.