The Future of Everyday Democracy

Activating local democracy with a vision for the future


Interactive report






Design Research

Democracy is struggling. There is growing polarisation, a loss of trust in public bodies and a disconnect from national decision making

In 2020 we had the highest rate of democratic discontent on record. People want to be listened to in decision-making, to have clear reliable information, and to feel like they know and trust the people who make the decisions. All too often that is not the case.

Fortunately, in local neighborhoods around the UK there are innovators redefining how to involve people in decision-making - from benches that collect public feedback to sports teams that contribute to local politics. What if these projects were scaled? What if they became the mainstream? How might our local neighborhoods look different in the future?

We brought together democracy pioneers, researchers, and local politicians to explore ideas and visions for a more vibrant local democracy

Our democracy experts joined online workshops and interviews to explore how to reinvigorate local democracy. We first identified nine barriers facing local democratic innovation in the UK. These ranged from the transience of infrastructure and resources, to the entanglement of democracy and politics, and the inaccessible image of democracy itself.

We then led our experts through a foresight and visioning process to imagine optimistic future neighbourhoods, and to develop six opportunities for collaborative innovation that can drive growth and knowledge sharing across an ecosystem of local democracy practitioners.

We produced a vision of the future to inspire and connect local changemakers

To support, advertise and invigorate the network, we developed an interactive website to share their vision and findings. The illustrated universe of a thriving local democracy is intended to inspire, provoke and provide practical ways to reshape and re-energising local democratic innovation.

The project brought democratic innovators together to strengthen the UK's democratic infrastructure by weaving intentional new relationships, sharing experiences, and seeding a series of networks around the six innovation themes.


Explore the interactive website, or read the scenario report we co-authored with Nesta.

Data DialoguesData Dialogues
Hearing people's hopes and fears for their healthcare data
TikTok FuturesTikTok Futures
Using TikTok to imagine better climate futures
Visualising Community VoicesVisualising Community Voices
Re-imagining a public park