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Open by Default

Part 2 Project 2014
Arron Tann
Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield UK
Towards the end of the 19th Century, the economic prosperity emerging from the Industrial Revolution, sparked a nationwide campaign for the creation of local district councils. One hundred years later, Government reforms saw the district council structure abolished and consolidated.

Now, local authority cuts loom over threatened public services throughout the UK, meaning towns like Rochdale face tough economic challenges. Its self-imposed local authority targets are being missed across the board. To counteract this, £64m worth of savings has to be secured by Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council over the next three years. As a result, cuts to essential and widely used services are being made, despite emotional and well-backed outcries from local groups.

This concerning issue provides the perfect opportunity for former district of Rochdale, Milnrow to once again establish itself as a self-reliant community. Through a process of devolution, the transfer of governing powers will be gifted back to the people of Milnrow. In an age where there is not enough money to go around, and minorities are left without, the removal of external agendas will enable local issues to be dealt with by locally minded people.

With the approval of this new local authority structure, it is now up to the community of Milnrow to raise their expectation of themselves, take control and work together.

To enable Milnrow through this transition, a system of guiding principles must be put in place with an agenda of Open-Source firmly at its centre. New structures for the sharing of materials, education, skills, and ideas, as a way of forming new meaningful relationships will be formed. The collaborative efforts that are expressed as part of this system will enable residents to improve their individual quality of life, while also presenting them with the opportunity to take ownership of larger, Milnrow wide issues, of waste management, urban planning, future developments and town management.

This is in no way a reinstatement of the old district council structure, but rather a redistribution of ownership to the people of Milnrow, instating them with the right to collectively and creatively influence the place where they live.

Arron Tann

Tutor(s)

2014
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