On Tuesday I met with the BAD (Barking and Dagenham) Youth Forum at The Vibe youth club on Becontree Avenue. We had a great session discussing what makes a ‘liveable neighbourhoods’ and how to create more integrated community spaces and events in the area.

The young people were fantastic ambassadors for Barking and Dagenham and had lots to say about how to create more inclusive public spaces where everyone feels welcome and different needs, interests and activities are catered for. Many of the young people felt they were misunderstood by other members of the community and often felt judged to be up to no good or feared by the elderly when they’re just hanging out with their friends in public spaces.

I’d like to share with you some of their ideas.

What make a liveable neighbourhood? 


Increase accessibility for people

More green areas

Social gatherings

More street lights

Street arts


Big gardens


More diversity e.g. friendly cultural day

Cycling lanes


Wider pavements



Safer parks

Sociable people

Social gatherings


Well lit up

Friendly people

Social space



Lively people

Good security

Play areas

Near police station

Wider pavement

Fun fairs

Sports clubs

Youth centres

Increase accessibility

Street arts done by all ages bright vibrant colours


Pairs of different ages hanging out

Furniture on the green spaces

Be nice


Art on the road

Social gatherings

Bringing people together

Furniture in the greens

Design/graphics on roads (name of the road)

Rails improvement design  – smileys in the railings

And my favourite idea was to change the classic: No to ball games sign on green spaces to Yes to Picnics! What do you think? Shall we do it?



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