As a result of political restructuring and the economic crisis, local communities and citizen networks in many European cities emerged as new actors in urban development, helping establish parallel social services and welfare systems. “Funding the Cooperative City” looks at these initiatives.
Rome, Italy, Madrid, Spain, Budapest, Hungary
Since the beginning of the economic crisis, many European cities have been struggling with maintaining its social services and welfare infrastructures. In the meanwhile, community groups and citizen initiatives have began establishing parallel services and infrastructures. These initiatives are important resources for European cities, but are often ignored or overlooked by decision-makers, and their potentials remain unrevealed. While some administrations have began to accommodate citizen initiatives, others have been indisposed to recognize the potential of these initiatives. We believe that Europe needs a much stronger cooperation between bottom-up and top-down urban development models, it needs actors that are able to communicate with all the stakeholders of urban transformation.
With the help of workshops organized in Madrid, Rome and Budapest, and with reports from these cities and a publication, we aim at connecting protagonists as well as at introducing concepts, models and methodologies in order to empower local initiatives in their quest to establish new social services, welfare infrastructures and community spaces. The project’s goal is to highlight the potentials and limitations of new, community-based logics of urban development, and to inspire new commitments and frameworks enabling these experiments to unfold. We would like the project to be influential at various levels: while helping initiatives at the local level, we also aim at engaging politicians, municipal officers and financial decision-makers to help these new processes.
Research: based on the previous workshops and site visits, we will create a database of good practices, with interviews and descriptions. Workshops:: in cooperation with local organisations and initiatives in Rome, Madrid and Budapest, we will examine local models, think them further and help local processes unfold. Reports: based on the workshops, reports will introduce each city from the viewpoint of their cooperative initiatives and their relationship to municipal, regional and national policies. Publication: The publication will integrate the research and the workshop findings into a detailed analysis of the achievements and needs, potentials and limitations. Recommendations: based on the analyses, we will propose a set of policy recommendations for administrations at various levels.
We would like to hear from innovative initiatives, cooperative development projects, alternative economic models that correspond to our proposal. We will be happy to get in touch with initiatives unknown for us and to include them in our research and networking activities.