This is the #Citizenshift: A Guide to Understanding & Embracing the Emerging Era of the Citizen

This report by the New Citizenship Project focuses on what they refer to as the ‘citizen shift’. It demonstrates the idea of the shift from ‘the consumer’ to ‘the citizen’. The shift reflects that only choosing between the options offered is no longer sufficient and that people should play an active and creative role in shaping what those options are. This resource can, therefore, be helpful in the creation of participatory place management and placemaking processes.

Date added 11 September 2020
Last updated 11 September 2020

This report by the New Citizenship Project focuses on what they refer to as the ‘citizen shift’. It demonstrates the idea of the shift from the consumer to the citizen which states that only choosing between the options offered is no longer sufficient and that people should play an active and creative role in shaping what those options are. Ultimately, this idea not only contributes to moving towards a more participatory society, but also gives greater agency and responsibility to citizens.

The report asked three thousand nationally representative UK adults two key questions:

  • “To what extent do you think it’s important to participate actively in society?”
  • “To what extent do you think it’s important to be involved in your local community?”

Findings indicated that the idea of people as consumers is causing many of the challenges we face, but also acts as a barrier to finding solutions to these problems.

There are some underpinning concepts to the idea of ‘citizen shift’. These highlight that citizens will continue to consume, that the citizen shift is digital and that individuals are moving towards an expanded (not enlightened) self-interest. As such, the report draws on the key notion “that at any given time, there is a single dominant idea of what the role of the individual is – a dominant identity construct – that comes to inform everything we do; and that this idea shifts over time”. The report therefore states that ‘citizen shift’ comprises of three pillars:

  1. Citizen Democracy: From Representative to Participatory
  2. Citizen Community: The Reinvention of Society
  3. Citizen Business: From Profit to Purpose

The report also dedicates a section to helping anyone in a strategic position in any sector - including place management - to get inspired and started to catalyse this shift by suggesting three initial steps:

  1. Locate: understanding the role of your organisation in the citizen shift.
  2. Question: identify challenges to drive innovation in your organisation.
  3. Experiment: define actions to undertake.