I would make Croydon better by…

By - Tuesday 8th July, 2014

How will you improve Croydon? We want your suggestions today! editors@thecroydoncitizen.com

Artwork by Rhi Pardoe for The Croydon Citizen.

A day doesn’t go by when people don’t wish Croydon were a better place some way or other. A safer place, a cleaner one – one that’s more fun or more interesting. Who wouldn’t want that?

But how often do people propose, real, concrete suggestions for improving where they live? Often we leave this to politicians to propose solutions – hoping that they can effect all the change that’s needed from the top-down. Often, we don’t even bother – we simply harbour some vague wish that things were better. Even if we’d be happy to be a part of that change, we don’t have an action plan or a clear path to making it happen.

We can do better.

From the beginning, a big part of the Citizen has been about proposing solutions to the town’s problems. Now we want to do more and involve readers on a larger scale than ever. That’s why, inspired by a submission from Citizen contributor, Andrew Dickinson, on just such a topic, we’re asking you – the reader – for ideas for change. Tell us your specific, concrete idea in no more than 60 words and we’ll aim to feature it in our next print edition.

It doesn’t have to be something you can do – just something specific that’s achievable for someone. Ambition is great, but it must be achievable and well defined.

Stuck for ideas? Let Andy inspire you with his ideas and why he thinks this project matters:

I’ve been mulling this article for a while now, but as I talked to people about it, I realised more and more that it had real potential. Eventually, I decided to pitch it to the Citizen team, in the hope that it would get a wider audience. They loved it, and here we are!

I want to inspire the kind of day-to-day expression that many of us use when we say “Oh I really used to love going to Beanos record store”. Or “I love that the river Wandle has been brought to the surface in Wandle Park”. You know the kind of thing – suggestions that could give Croydon more appeal and inspire that type of comment.

So sit your self down, crystallize your thoughts and come up with as many suggestions as you wish; but please be clear on what it is, why it should be done and what it achieves. I’m giving three that I’d like to see, so here goes:

1) Use public realm signage to promote our Fairtrade status. How many residents know that Croydon was the first London borough to achieve Fairtrade status? Making it clearer this way would give us greater civic pride because it would highlight our councils pledge to use and support Fairtrade goods and celebrate work by steering groups to support local producers.

2) Build an environmental centre in the defunct pumping house in Exchange Square. We have numerous environmental groups. To have a building as a focus point for courses, workshops, meetings, exhibitions and events could both strengthen those groups and help educate residents of all ages on how to live a little more lightly on the planet.

3) Establish an urban mushroom farm in a reasonably central location. Growing gourmet oyster mushrooms on waste coffee grounds collected from the numerous cafés and restaurants in town results in multiple benefits: Disposal of waste close to source, diversion of useful product from landfill, tasty local produce, better nutrition and the creation of part-time work. A win-win all round.

The Citizen wants to hear from you. Beginning with our next edition, we want to publish your suggestions for how you’d make Croydon better. Take a a maximum of 60 words to tell us about your idea. Maybe its a policy, a project, a building or a group – a call for volunteers or an initiative that you think will make a difference. Whatever your idea, we want to hear it.

Send submissions to editors@thecroydoncitizen.com

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen is a non-profit community news magazine for London's most populous borough.

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  • Marcus Churchill

    Stop North End’s current turn-up-and-rant religious festival
    atmosphere as people who no longer shop in Croydon won’t return whilst their
    senses are assaulted.

    Start a substantial tree-planting programme to green up and civilise the appearance of central Croydon, especially along Wellesley Road, George Street/Church Street and the London Road.

    Create `cycle priority routes’ on back streets to encourage safe
    cycling away from heavy traffic.

  • Terry Coleman

    The word ‘ concrete ‘, used several times in your article, brings a wry smile to my lips….

  • Ian Sykes

    Would it be possible to think of a wetter, camper title for this campaign? I doubt it. Campaign and it’s title are meant to inspire, aren’t they? Not to make it seem as much fun as listening to fishing on the radio.

  • Snitch

    Ban the consumption of food on Croydon Tramlink

  • Ian Lavis

    More colour and detail for new buildings. Saffron Tower has some colour at least.
    More greenery and interesting public art/sculptures in the centre.
    Less chains and more independents (with lower rents).
    Stop religious ranting in North End.

  • Aleena Brown

    A half decent soft-play cafe to rival Beanies which currently gets away with being fairly poor due to lack of valid competition…