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Better Buses Strategy Day Recap September '23

On Saturday September 9th, the Sustainable Cities collective gathered with key supporters from the West, as well as students from UniMelb and VU to talk through the strategy for our Better Buses campaign moving forward. We drew a large, engaged crowd to West Footscray library and neighbourhood house, and came away from the day with a clear vision for how to push things forward a step further towards Better Buses for the West! 

Recap of the day

Session 1

How social movements work 

Chloe Aldenhoven, one of FoE's amazing campaigns coordinators kicked us off with a presentation on how social movements work. Based off complexity theory, our strongest movements are built when we have 'organised chaos'.. We can harness collective intelligence by working in the 'swallow' formation: 

  • Not too far away from the bird next to you
  • Not too close
  • Stay away from predators

Having action occur in a variety of places and in a variety of ways, with a coordinating body to call everyone to action at key moments (which is the role of Sustainable Cities/ Better Buses campaign), is the key to strong movements (that will scare politicians!). 

Our role as separate groups is to move those in our sphere of influence one step up the ladder of engagement, rather than feel like we need to tackle the whole problem on our own. 

Better Buses campaign

Elyse then gave a comprehensive overview of the Better Buses campaign strategy last year, and the idea for our strategy moving forward. 

The Victorian government are pointing to the 2025 contract renewals as the enabler for bus reform due to the amount of operators that run different routes, but we know that CDC operates most of the routes in the West! 

Our key question: Can the government ask CDC to reform their bus routes in Melbourne's West now?

Session 2

In session 2 we spent time mapping out a campaign strategy/ pathway of influence by looking at who we need to influence and who has influence over them? 

This was followed by a mapping of our own spheres of influence, and a brainstorm of action ideas which you can find in the notes! 

We then had a discussion on what our next steps are and what skills people would like to learn to help push the campaign along

What do people want from a skillshare: 

  • How to reactivate people into meetings/ decision making processes (not just novel and fun meetings!) 
  • Protection and community care (particularly on social media)
  • Effective conversations, explaining the campaign/ effective messaging around Better Buses with numbers and data to support. Including timing of conversations with those in opposition to us

Keep an eye out as our strategy advances. 

To learn more about the Better Buses campaign click here.

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