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A call to action for planning with communities

Along with numerous and various built environment sector representatives, I am pleased to be part of a new network launching a campaign to put communities at the heart of urban change for the better. It’s called Collective Community Action.

Arguably, the decision-making power that planning has, has the power to exclude and discriminate. It is within the means of planning to shift the power-balance in society, giving power to citizens in order to effectively address issues in their interest.

As a member of women in planning and as planners, we also operate in a diverse city with diverse communities and the profession and places we create should promote this with real inclusion and a focus on social justice, in order to meaningfully reflect and celebrate this.

However, this is not to say this is not already happening. I have had the privilege of working at Soundings + Fluid, who, for more than 15 years, have been at the forefront of best-practice participatory engagement. From Local Plans to Estate regeneration masterplans, we lead innovative and extensive consultation, engagement and urban strategies across a wide range of built environment projects giving voice to diverse communities across London and the UK.

As a network, we have also drawn on numerous examples of good practice engagement which is meaningful and creatively involves and empowers people and communities (see our manifesto here). This leads to better places and outcomes for all, including developers and investors, notwithstanding the planet. We believe that is true today more now than ever and we want to operate in a system that encourages this standard.

Therefore, as a start, we want each candidate seeking to become London's next Mayor to commit to produce a Mayoral Statement of Community Involvement (MSCI).

Our next Mayor must seize this moment to recognise and commit to the value of local knowledge and self-determination, to build thriving communities, to heal divides in the capital, and to honour and build on the central role played by local communities during the pandemic.

You can read our full manifesto here and for more information, please visit

Once you’ve read the manifesto, we hope you will support what the Collective Community Action network is looking to achieve. To support the network and be kept up to date on our activities, email me at

Please lend your support and share this with your networks #ccaction #mayor4communities

Gabrielle Appiah, Project Coordinator at Soundings + Fluid and Women in Planning London Committee Member

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