Communities of different sizes and in different cultures have different structures and responsibilities. If, within a Judging Criterion, there is an area of activity that is not the direct responsibility of the community, it will be expected both in the Written Submission and in the Final stages of the Awards, that it is demonstrated how the community makes use of opportunities to influence policies in these areas.
1. Enhancement of the Landscapes and Public Spaces:
Landscapes, in the context of the Awards, are the aspects of the City and Townscape, which create an environment enhanced through horticultural and infrastructure designs, in particular including public spaces such as gardens, parks and squares. The Submission should describe the key features or vision of the community’s landscape, and demonstrate how landscaping and public spaces in a community has brought together all of the distinct elements, both built and natural, so as to establish a sympathetic relationship between the built and natural landscape. LivCom seeks evidence of the protection of the natural heritage and of ecologically important sites, biodiversity and introduction of vegetation in more difficult environments. This section should demonstrate how the landscape in your community has been enhanced to create an environment that generates civic pride, facilitates enjoyable recreational experiences and improves the quality of life within your community.
The natural and built landscape is the fundamental criterion of sustainability and visibility within the wider range of a council’s policies, relating to the preservation, creation and management of a sustainable society.
Sustainability in this context is demonstrated by the past, present and future condition of landscapes and heritage, developed for the creation of a liveable community. Due to their social and physical existence, landscapes are expected to contribute to the sustainability of a community, and are the tools and infrastructure that must be managed to produce a sustainable backcloth for community policies.
Management of the landscape should be considered in an holistic manner, which profiles the philosophy of management, individual practices and the result of an evaluation process that embraces the views of the public.
In respect of the Natural landscape, this should include such practical matters as biodiversity, indigenous planting, green waste, tree planting and maintenance programmes etc. and in respect of the Built landscape, streetscaping, street furniture, public art, constructed parks, gardens and squares etc. Submissions should cover all aspects needed to demonstrate the sustainable management of the landscape, including numerical, statistical, graphical and any other indices used to explain the results of the practices employed.
2. Arts, Culture and Heritage Management:
This section should demonstrate how the community values and embodies its own unique culture through recognition of its languages, its unique arts and craft and cultural practices within their way of life and how it values its heritage both in its buildings and monuments and its spiritual places or historic events through recognition, interpretation and protection. This may be with original cultures or new individual cultures within multicultural populations. Festivals and events often celebrate these dimensions or become part of the culture itself.
It should demonstrate how these groups are included within society generally. LivCom seeks to evaluate how well the arts in all their forms are generally encouraged and recognised through public exposure, community celebration and support.
The development of a sense of “who we are as people” is often a source of community pride and a level of comfort with our place and ourselves emotionally. Communities differentiate themselves from each other through their cultural evolution, ethnicity, history, day-to-day practices.
This is, in a sense, makes up part of the spiritual dimension of community within which people feel comfortable and their lives gain meaning, relevance and enrichment.
The attention paid to buildings and monuments that represent the community’s culture over time, and how these structures are preserved and interpreted, should be described.
The Submission should include the key elements that demonstrate how communities preserve, interpret, protect and celebrate heritage either in the built form or in the recognition of heritage elements such as local arts crafts languages or significant events or spiritual concepts.
The Submission should also describe how these elements form part of public exhibitions, events, interpretive centres or programmes: in short how the community supports the continued recognition of these heritage acknowledgements of traditional, or possibly first, cultures and how they embrace new ones.
Communities change over time in terms of contemporary practices and the merging of new cultures into their communities. The extent to which new cultures are embraced also impacts on the quality of life and the new communities themselves. The actions of communities can lead to isolation or inclusion of these cultures as they both adjust and influence their new environment.
Communities also express themselves through the arts in all its forms. The exposure of the arts is influential on the nature of people’s sense of spiritual fulfillment and often an expression of a local flavour in the artistic form.
3. Environmental Protection and Green Economy:
This section should demonstrate how the community has adopted innovative environmentally sensitive practices and pursues initiatives that result in sustainable management of the environment as well as develop green economy consciously to realize industrial transition towards environmental-friendly direction. Evidence should be included which demonstrates that the community is involved in efforts to apply sustainable development and to promote best practices that lead to the development, conservation and preservation of the environment. This would include the enhancement of the quality of air, water and land, biodiversity, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of natural resources through use of alternative materials and sources of energy and recycling.
Best Practices are examples of outstanding contributions to improving the living environment.
Submissions should describe successful initiatives that have a demonstrable and tangible impact on improving people’s quality of life and are the result of effective partnerships between the public, private and civic sectors of society, which are also socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable.
Evidence should be included of Best Practices that are promoted and used as a means of improving public policy based on what works, of raising awareness of decision-makers at all levels and of the public of potential solutions to common social, economic and environmental problems and of sharing and transferring knowledge, expertise and experience through networking and learning.
Examples of elements that should be described are sustainable development policies, programmes for waste management, water conservation and reduction, air quality, energy conservation and conversion programmes for efficient lighting and reduction of light pollution.
Also, reference should be made to transportation management strategies, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and current practices to minimise the negative impact on the climate and to reverse the adverse consequences of climate change.
4. Community Participation and Empowerment:
This section should demonstrate the method and style of ongoing involvement of individuals, groups and Organisations in the planning, development and management of the local community, and how the local community is empowered and reacts to the opportunity of being involved in its development. Components of this section will include integration, development, satisfaction, resources and involvement.
A successful community will often embrace projects and programmes that raise the social and intellectual level of community members.
The manner in which professional community administrators relate to community groups and individuals should be described. Community involvement may be reflected in initiatives such as conservation projects, interpretation and guiding programmes, information and education programmes, promotion by and involvement of local businesses and organizations, and the facilitation of local events, festivals, fund raising and financial or in kind support.
Diversity of community involvement at the municipal, business and individual levels is as important as is the degree of participation in the decision making process and the planning of initiatives and programmes. Evidence of community consultation and satisfaction, and the degree of volunteerism is important.
Communities large and small, rural and urban, need to demonstrate how innovative strategies are producing a cohesive and empowered community.
5. Healthy Lifestyle:
This section will need to demonstrate a clear understanding of the health issues that affect communities, supported by appropriate research and a commitment to making improvements. A track record of achievement in tackling these health issues will be necessary for example indicating the provision of facilities and lifestyle programmes, targeted towards improving the health of the community. Reviews of the successful implementation of these facilities and programmes would enhance the credibility of the submissions in this criterion.
The Healthy Lifestyle criterion is not just about mental and physical health of individuals, it is a holistic assessment of the elements which when added together contribute a range of ‘quality of life’ factors which then promote a sense of well being. Building arts or leisure centres without clear justification or objective is no longer considered acceptable. With finite and often scarce resources, there must be a justification for providing any facility, and this is often based upon providing a solution to an identified social or health challenge. Each community does have its healthy lifestyle opportunities and challenges.
That which many communities can only aspire to by way of resources can be compensated for by innovation and voluntary effort. The Submission should describe how a community is compiling evidence of research and understanding of the community’s health challenges, together with a strategy to address identified challenges. A description of facilities and activity programmes and timely reviews of their effectiveness should also be described. Evidence will be required that the community is adopting a holistic approach to the various wellbeing factors, examples of which are listed below.
• Identified mental and physical health issues.
• Poverty, lack of employment and support mechanisms.
• Crime and the fear of crime.
• Activity levels and passive recreation opportunities.
• Drugs, alcohol and tobacco us.e
• Mobility and transport.
• Cultural opportunities.
• Education and life long learning
• Public satisfaction levels.
The Submission should describe the interrelated approaches that influence the success in improving health in the community. Reference should also be made to initiatives with the objective of improving accessibility, inclusivity and equality, consultation and engagement, partnership working and the targeting approach used in marketing and publicity.
6. Sustainable Planning and Management Policies:
This section should demonstrate how the community determines its future and maintain sustainability as well as what planning processes are developed and how they align to create action plans to deliver the stated outcomes that the community desires via making management policies. A sense of hierarchy in the plans or strategies themselves should be demonstrated, and evidence included that the plans are being implemented through an annual plan together with a review process. Evidence should be shown that demonstrates that the general members of the community support the strategic direction and have had an opportunity to contribute to it, in order to reflect the plans and management policies are targeted at provide services for the public and improve their living quality.
The basis of successfully delivering a balanced and highly targeted programme of development and services for any community inevitably starts with a clear vision for the community and its view of what a truly successful liveable community would be. A clear indication is necessary that how this vision is developed and it is subsequently integrated into a set of plans or strategies for the short medium and long term, with review processes.
The hierarchy of plans that ensures how they relate to the original visions must be explained, as well as how they are considered as individual elements of a wider plan and the mechanisms that ensure that the collective views of the community are adequately reflected in the final plans.
It should be shown that there is relevance between the plans and strategies and what is actually delivered. An indication should also be shown of both progress and flexibility in keeping the plans relevant to community needs. Some cultures are more driven from the top down, and therefore the procedures described will be assessed taking into account the cultures within which they are delivered.