Neighbourhood Decision Making: Bringing local ideas to life for London neighbourhoods

Header image for the article Neighbourhood Decision Making: Bringing local ideas to life for London neighbourhoods Credit: CITY OF LONDON
The City of London is looking for your bright ideas as they launch the fifth annual Neighbourhood Decision Making program.

“It’s about engagement, pride in neighbourhoods, and building support.”

The City of London is looking for your bright ideas as they launch the fifth annual Neighbourhood Decision Making program. From now until April 29, Londoners are invited to share their thoughts for possible activities, events and improvements they would like to see in local neighbourhoods for “a chance to make those ideas a reality.”

“People of all ages know their neighbourhoods best,” said Karen Oldham, Manager of Neighbourhood Development and Supports. “We learn what people want [in terms of] change or enhancements in their neighbourhoods to increase liveability.”

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From outdoor bike racks to skating rink equipment, ideas can range from road and transportation to park and environmental to arts and culture.

“We ask residents across the city to tell us how they want to spend money in their neighbourhoods,” said Ryan Craven, Neighbourhood Support and Development representative, in the Neighbourhood Decision Making video on the City of London website.

“It’s getting to know your neighbours and rallying together for something that you want to happen,” added Oldham.

In encouraging more resident decision making, London’s City Council approved the pilot of the current Neighbourhood Decision Making program in 2016 for $15,000. After receiving successful results and feedback, council endorsed $250,000 to widen the program’s availability to all of London.

“We collect the desires of people in neighbourhoods through this program and that information is shared with our City departments where possible,” said Oldham.

In 2021, the program received 230 ideas and more than 10,300 votes to decide which projects would share the total funding. This year, individual neighbourhood projects can reach up to $30,000.

“Our staff will be out in the community over the next couple of months engaging with residents and promoting the program at community centres, London Public Library branches and local events taking place across London,” said Oldham.

After the submission deadline, City staff will determine which ideas are feasible for the program’s budget. If approved, staff will work with the submitter to develop their idea into a short, one-page proposal. Londoners from across the city will later have the opportunity to vote on which proposals they want implemented in their neighbourhoods. Submitters are encouraged to promote their idea to their neighbours and local community ahead of voting day on June 25.

Oldham explains how ideas generated through the program will benefit Londoners for years to come.

“Adding amenities in our public spaces will make our neighbourhoods vibrant and strong [as we provide] education on costs of items and ideas that taxpayer dollars are paying for. [All while] building lasting relationships with our neighbours.”

Oldham also highlighted the need for local youth participation.

“This program is for everyone,” says Oldham. “Ideas from youth are important as they are often choosing to settle in the neighbourhood they grew up in. Teaching our young people about the democratic process will hopefully increase the chance they will vote.”

Oldham added that the program’s goal “is to strengthen all London neighbourhoods and make them desirable places to live, work and play. Our hope is that people will feel connected, will be proud of their neighbourhood and work with the City by participating in the opportunities that help shape their neighbourhoods.”

Submissions for the 2022 Neighbourhood Decision Making can be made via getinvolved.london.ca/ndm.