Connecting Brighton

A participative one-day conversation designed to explore ideas of what the future for Brighton could be and how we might get there. An embarkation point, an experiment– testing the appetite within Brighton to be part of designing the future of our city. The convening of a connected community motivated and enabled to make change happen.


  1. We started the day by drawing maps of Brighton. Each group made their own map and marked places of significance to them, and places where their work makes a difference. All the maps were very different - but mostly focused on the centre of Brighton. People had quite different ideas about where Brighton stops and starts! London looms large for this group.
  2. #mapping Brighton at #connectbtn
    #mapping Brighton at #connectbtn
  3. Then we tried to describe Brighton - listing out all the words which characterise Brighton as we know it.
  4. What does Brighton mean to you? #connectbtn
    What does Brighton mean to you? #connectbtn
  5. Clusters of words emerged, which we refined until we had eight topics we knew we wanted to discuss further: inequality, students, innovation, food, digital, sustainability, arts - and smugness.
  6. Then we started thinking through the opportunities for the city to address these topics in the next five years.
  7. The Smug table, expertly facilitated by Ben Messer of Food Matters, was one of the most voluble. Their definition Smug = Pride + Complacency really resonated.
  8. The problem of disjointedness came up multiple times. Connection is crucial.
  9. The digital cluster was represented - and Peter Passaro shared the open data initiative he's working on. But there was a desire for the cluster to be more connected with the city - working on the city, not just in it.
  10. Housing came up again and again. It's a real problem to be tackled.
  11. We went from discussing food to eating it - enjoying Street Diner in the sunshine of Brighthelm Garden.