What does net zero mean to you? It’s a tricky question, isn't it?
Let’s face it, to every person on the street it probably doesn't mean much, it could be misconstrued as just another buzzword but that is a trap we need to try and avoid. Why? Because if we really want our communities here in East Birmingham to come with us we need to craft a narrative that resonates with them and use that to form outreach.
If we really want a community-led net zero initiative, we need to ensure citizens are driving us forward so that is why we held our first policy hackathon at Castle Vale Football Stadium to do just that, putting the views and opinions at the heart of The Climate Room project.
For those who don’t know, a policy hackathon is a rapid prototyping workshop, an event where we can collect evidence quickly and use that work evidence for projects, policy or strategic direction - you’ll find all of our Climate Room events will have some sort of evidence collection mechanisms, so if you come to any of our events, don’t be shocked to see a smiley face getting you involved in something.
Don’t worry if this type of event is interesting to you. We’ll be holding more hackathon type events around Birmingham.
We were joined by local housing representatives, activists, third sector workers and of course residents on a sunny early summer’s morning in the town of Castle Vale.
So, without further ado, let’s get to our activities.
The first activity asked what are the barriers to net zero for residents of Castle Vale, we especially wanted to collect conversions of what is spoken about on the doorsteps and on the high street, here is what some of the participants said:
◉ Communicating the problem to the tenants
◉ How to get the funding to achieve net zero
◉ Net zero is a the bottom of everyone's priorities
◉ Rented properties
◉ No access to personal greenspaces (gardens)
◉ Too complicated
◉ Lack of support/expertise
◉ When my repairs being done
◉ How do I fuel my car
◉ Communal waste / fly tipping
◉ Electric + gas bill + water
◉ Damp issues
◉ Draughty windows / properties
For the second activity we wanted to ask what would be outreach themes that resonate with residents in Castle Vale, here were some of the leading feedback:
◉ How will I feed my feed my kids
◉ Some people are ashamed about poverty
◉ More people are turning to food banks in the Vale
◉ Constant budgeting
◉ Work on doors and windows are always pushed back and CV residents do not understand why
◉ It would be good to hold a ‘shared festival’ in CV, the word ‘Festival’ resonates with local people due to successful events in the past
◉ Fun runs
◉ ‘Reconnecting back to the Vale’
◉ Creating a community space for the festival (tactical urbanism)
◉ Funfair used to bring a lot of people
◉ Give people the opportunity to promote themselves
◉ Urban farming
◉ Using local cycling groups to get fit and healthy
◉ ‘Stay on the vale’
◉ Rebuild/traffic ‘we are going to the casino’ people will turn up (no idea what this means)
◉ People think pioneer took over the Vale
◉ Digital can work well in the Vale (Facebook)
◉ There are no resident groups in CV
◉ Resident engagement is dwindling in the Vale
◉ ‘God not another boiler’
◉ Not many people on the Vale are familiar with the conservation, could we hold a guerilla gardening event there?
◉ Engage with schools
◉ Still singer glazed windows
◉ ‘ Farnborough Way, why has that been done and not us’
◉ People say there are 2 parts of the estate, posh and poor (Park lane is seen as the posh part)
◉ High turnover of single people in blocks / the tower (local nickname) has a bad reputation from the past
◉ Older people keep homes up to date
Remember to keep an eye on The Climate Room and our Twitter for more events.