Community is one of those words that is often used, yet rarely defined. When we adopted it as the theme for our latest issue of MATTER, we found the term unravelling before us. How can community life be preserved at a time of growing uncertainty and political extremism? What can be done to stem rising discontent within communities across the country? How is community evolving in the Machine Age? And, fundamentally, why should anyone listen to a developer’s views on community?
You might ask how a developer can even talk about community […] And all too often, you’d be right. Most developers don’t much care about the communities whose interests they are supposed to be protecting.” – Richard Upton
It’s questions like these that MATTER sets out to address. MATTER is our magazine and platform for bold thinking, questioning the big ideas that shape society. The latest issue, launched today, looks at the theme of community, exploring what it means today, why it matters and who is affected when it breaks down.
“Community is an organic thing, which waxes and wanes with deep social tides, well beyond the ability of any single government or stakeholder to control.” – Tom Clarke
The magazine brings together a range of voices, both from our industry and beyond, to offer their take on community. Tom Clark, editor of current affairs magazine Prospect, unpacks the term, looking at its use, misuse and manipulation. Journalist Josie Thaddeus-Johns explores the power of digital communities - whether they bring people together or drives them apart. Regeneration advisor David Barrie analyses the effect of social division and increasing urbanisation on local communities. Paul Flatters, chief executive of trends analysis and forecasting consultancy Trajectory, analyses why the UK feels more politically divided than ever and whether this can change. Robert Winder, author and trustee of the Migration Museum discusses what the long history of migration has done for community in the UK. And our CEO Matthew Weiner explains why a sense of community motivates himto develop places where people truly want to live, work and spend time.
“As developers, we have a huge responsibility to the people whose lives we are changing.” – Matthew Weiner
As well as the themes and forces that shape community, we also look at community in action. Updates from our projects at Mayfield in Manchester, FIELD in Brighton and the Workshop at 8 Albert Embankment bring community to life at some of our meanwhile use projects. Reflecting on all that we’ve learned in creating this issue of MATTER, our Deputy CEO Richard Upton reflects on why developers need to care about community.
“Connections no longer have to rely on physical space, and thus our sense of belonging no longer resides in the people who are closest to us geographically.” – Josie Thaddeus-Johns
MATTER is designed to be engaging, provocative, and a great read. We’d love to hear what you think – why not join the conversation by using #CommunityMATTERs and tagging @uandiplc to tell us what community means to you.