The InterAction Collection

How Solution Focus underpins Village in the City

Building micro-local sustainable neigbourhood communities

May 29, 2021

Mark McKergow & John Brooker

Introduced by John Brooker

Do you, like me, long for more of a community feel in your local area? Like Mark McKergow, I spent much time travelling before COVID came along and, when home, created connections locally as best I could, e.g. as a dad meeting parents at the school gates, as Chair of my local scouts. Sadly that connection ended when no longer involved in school or Scouts. Being part of these communities felt good, and while there is much to love about our SFiO communal Zoom activities, I long to catch up in person over a coffee and a hug!

So Mark McKergow’s initiative to build micro-local sustainable neighbourhood communities in urban settings, known as ‘Village in the City’, has appeal.

In this video/audio case study, Mark recounts what led him to initiate this movement, how it is important for the world today, and how the project is developing.
For those interested in using the Solution Focus approach in organisations, Village in the City provides an excellent case study on using SF to create a different type of ‘organisation’, a community organisation.

Mark set out with the best hope of creating a community amongst his neighbours in the West End of Edinburgh. He sat down to describe the elements of his future perfect, including a host, inclusivity for all, connection to stimulate conversations, meeting places, inclusive gatherings and an ‘identity’, something of which to be proud. To progress, he ‘used what’s there’ and small steps:

  • creating an email list of neighbours
  • playing the saxophone on his front doorstep for his neighbours during lockdown
  • using his previous experience of networking
  • connecting with the hosts of a tiny neighbourhood FaceBook group and taking small steps to build it from 20 to nearly 1000 participants through leafleting and word of mouth
  • community notice boards
  • An SF worksheet, scaling each element that Mark envisaged, for potential organisers.

The joy of this approach is its simplicity. Anyone can do it. Might that be you?

Mark McKergow
Mark McKergow
SFiO Director
SFiO Reviewed Practitioner
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Dr Mark McKergow is co-director of sfwork – The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is an international consultant, speaker and author. Many people around the world have been inspired by his work in Solutions Focus – presented wth his inimitable blend of scientific rigour and performance pizzazz.

John Brooker
John Brooker
SFiO Reviewed Practitioner
Editor of Interaction
Chapter Head
SFiO Contributor

John has over thirty years experience of leading people to collaborate effectively. He gained his leadership experience as a Senior Vice President in Visa International, working on international projects. Since 2004 he has used his leadership and Solution Focus expertise to enable people in multinational and national organisations to collaborate effectively. He is Co-President of Solution Focus in Organisations, an SFiO Reviewed Practitioner and has an MBA from The Open University in the UK.