Social Life in The City

At the most basic level, there are important lessons about what makes new cities and communities flourish or fail that are yet to be incorporated into mainstream practice. Social Life’s work has show large-scale new communities continue to be built in the UK without adequate social infrastructure to support new residents. It is not uncommon to find communities without shops, schools or local transport for several years after the first residents have moved in, or for neighbourhoods to be equipped with community facilities that don’t meet local need because residents have had no opportunity to influence decision-making. In our research, residents, community groups and planning officers have all described the inflexibility of the current planning levies to provide the sort of adaptable and flexible services and infrastructure that can evolve and grow as new communities do. Space to grow is a crucial element of creating socially sustainable places - both in terms of infrastructure that can adapt to changing needs, but also creating spaces for people to contribute to the social, cultural, civic and democratic life of communities. Shared spaces and shared experiences play an important role in creating a sense of inclusion and belonging.