Case Study: Every One, Every Day

As part of our Relationships Project, we’re collating a series of case studies from a range of sectors and contexts that demonstrate the benefits and workings of relationship-centred design. Whilst we hope they help build a case for prioritising deep-value relationships, we recognise that – especially at this early stage – we are still learning. We therefore welcome comments, insights, critiques and ideas for case studies from people and organisations across sectors. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at relationships@shiftdesign.org.

Every One Every Day: Creating the World’s First Large-Scale, Fully Inclusive Participatory Ecosystem

You can read the full case study below or take a look at and download the infographic which provides a short, print-friendly summary of the case study here.

Introducing Every One Every Day

Formally launched in November 2017, Every One Every Day is an ambitious partnership between Participatory City and Barking and Dagenham Council aimed at turning Barking and Dagenham into a “large scale, fully inclusive, practical participatory ecosystem … the first one of its kind in the world.” Rooted in Participatory City’s nine years of engagement with people at the forefront of developing “participatory culture” as a critical building block for sustainable urban neighbourhoods in the future, Every One Every Day is an attempt to turn one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK into a new type of community: one teeming with rich relationships, collaborative projects and civic participation. Every One Every Day has been supported by Barking and Dagenham Council, The Esmeée Fairbairn Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund, City Bridge Trust and the Greater London Authority.

How does Every One Every Day work?

Every One Every Day is working to build a thriving ecosystem of “participatory culture projects”, which are characterised by:

  • Equality: diverse participants on an equal footing
  • Mutual benefit: people contributing and benefiting at the same time
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration: community members working directly together
  • Productive activity: the creation of tangible things
  • Accessibility: low or non-existent barriers, so as many people as possible are included

Growing an ecosystem of participatory projects requires two interconnected systems, both of which Every One Every Day is developing:

1: A Support Platform for growing projects: A collection of support elements resources, available to everybody, to help get projects off the ground. Theseis includes functional spaces, practical tools, training, design expertise and insurance. The Support Platform team has grown from three to 30 members, including 12 project designers. To work effectively across the borough, the team works in a distributed, non-hierarchical, flexible way between Every One Every Day focal points:

  • Four “Neighbourhood Shops”: visible, accessible community spaces for co-production activities, sessions and events.
  • Fifteen other “mini hubs” (the year-one target was three).
  • The “Warehouse”: a 3,000 square metre makerspace and co-working space which launched to residents in March 2019.

2: A Participatory Ecosystem for growing participation in projects: A big, varied pool of community projects – encompassing food, drink, arts, DIY, outdoor activities, social groups and more – that make it easy for people to participate. This pool develops organically: projects and ideas are allowed to grow, interact and die without structural constraints such as funding pressures or the drive to turn projects into businesses. This is a person-centred approach: it puts residents first, allowing them to work on projects as, when and how they please.

This two-system model emerged from Participatory City’s experience co-creating participatory cultures with local people around the UK. At its heart is a belief in fostering relationships – between local people, between local people and organisations and between local organisations – that are collaborative and mutually beneficial, not dependent and imbalanced.

The core assumption behind Every One Every Day is that local people have the skills, motivation, ideas and creativity to build thriving, sustainable communities – and that they simply require the right kind of invitation to demonstrate this.

It is also important that the Every One Every Day ecosystem integrates with and supplements wider economic and political systems in Barking and Dagenham. To this end, the team has created a Co-Production Lab, which serves as a basis for multi-sector activity to address complex social problems and allows Participatory City and Barking and Dagenham staff to work together to manage this integration.

What impact is Every One Every Day having?

Impact measurement presents a major challenge for such an ambitious, diffuse project. Over five years, Every One Every Day will monitor five core evaluation criteria:

  1. Feasibility: Can a large, participatory ecosystem be built using this model?
  2. Inclusivity: Can such an ecosystem foster large “bridging” networks that benefit everybody?
  3. Value Creation: Is this model capable of adding value for residents, neighbourhoods and the borough as a whole? And is this value quantifiable and valuable long term?
  4. Systemic Integration: Can the new participatory ecosystem be fully integrated into the local context of services, businesses and other activities?
  5. Replicability: Can the model be effectively replicated in other contexts through a framework?

In its first year, only the first three criteria have been measured, and these initial findings are contained in Made to Measure, the Year One evaluation report. The Year Two report will include much more detailed results, specifically focussed on value creation and impact. However, the research behind Every One Every Day comprises seven years’ documentation, analysis and prototyping in neighbourhoods across the UK and internationally. Made to Measure makes it clear that this gives rise to a high degree of confidence that the ambition, potential and distinctiveness of Every One Every Day can be realised in practice.

With that said, there are a number of promising year-one indicators:

  • 2,000+ ecosystem participants (including 180+ children and 60% women)
  • 1,200 of which are registered participants
  • 3,300 session attendances
  • 4,303 Shop visits
  • 9,000 hours spent in the company of other residents
  • 4,300 hours spent learning with neighbours
  • 70 projects started in eight months (nearly double the target)
  • 52,000 website page views
  • Over time, participants are being drawn to projects further afield
  • Awarded the Local Government Chronicle Awards’ Council of the Year in 2018

Based on Participatory City’s previous work, Every One Every Day fully expects this increased participation to have a range of both immediate and compound benefits for people, local groups and wider social networks. This data will be made fully available in the Year Two report due for publication in late summer 2019.

What do we think Every One Every Day can teach us about effective relationship-centred design?

People are often eager to connect, but need opportunities (and an open invitation) to do so

Although challenging to realise, Every One Every Day is actually very simple: it encourages people to connect and collaborate, and provides space and tools to help. The nature of the projects and relationships created – the “difficult” bit – emerges from the ample motivation, skill and creativity of local people themselves. The missing ingredient was simply an invitation.

Especially for building rich community relationships, warm and accessible public spaces are paramount

Every One Every Day is structured around a growing number of physical hubs, from “mini hubs” to a huge co-creation warehouse. Such spaces, literally and proactively designed with community connection in mind, help accelerate meaningful connections and collaborations between people.

People are drawn to relationships that offer trust, agency and mutual ownership

Every One Every Day is very careful to ensure projects are accessible to as many people as possible, and to avoid projects becoming exclusive, hierarchical businesses. The message is that everybody has something to offer – that people can be trusted to collaborate on equal footing.

Relationships take root in common ground

Every One Every Day is premised on a shared and reinvigorated sense of place: Barking and Dagenham. Within this, it gathers people around shared projects: shared interests and passions. On both levels Every One Every Day encourages people to connect around commonalities.

What’s next for Every One Every Day?

Participatory City Foundation has recently secured the remaining funding necessary to complete the full five-year research and development project in Barking and Dagenham. Upon conclusion, the project aims to have delivered lasting impact in the borough, securing a sustainable future for the platform in the process, and to have supported replication sites in urban centres elsewhere. Its immediate priorities are to extend the ecosystem of projects and people more broadly and deeply across the borough and to develop the tools and approaches underpinning the cities programme – the programme of learning for other cities and places.  

Want to learn more?

  • Every One Every Day’s website includes an extensive Project Directory
  • For a thorough update on the project, see Participatory City’s Year One Report
  • Every One Every Day was named as one of Nesta’s New Radicals in 2018
  • Jon Cruddas, MP for Barking and Dagenham, and Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, have written about how Every One Every Day fits into the council’s vision of civic socialism

Has this case study inspired any comments, ideas or critiques?

Please do get in touch with us at relationships@shiftdesign.org if so. An essential part of the Relationships Project is learning from others engaged in thinking about relationship-centred design. We don’t have all the answers, so hope some people reading will contribute suggestions.

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