Households' eco-efficiency and creative communities

At the households’ eco-efficiency seminar held September 19 at the Finnish Environment Institute in Helsinki, Ezio Manzini discussed creative communities :

Looking at society carefully and selectively in this way, what we can see are people and communities who act outside the dominant thought and behaviour pattern. Creative communities that when faced with a result to achieve, organise themselves in such a way as to achieve what they want directly themselves. Groups of people who re-organise the way they live their home (as in the co-housing movement) and their neighbourhood (bringing it to life, creating the conditions for children to go to school on foot; fostering mobility on foot or by bike). Communities that set up new participatory social services for the elderly and for parents (the young and the elderly living together and micro-nurseries set up and managed by enterprising mothers) and that set up new food networks fostering producers of organic items, and the quality and typical characteristics of their products (as in the experience of Slow Food, solidarity purchasing and fair trade groups). The list of promising cases could continue“. [Manzini, E. 2005. Enabling Platforms for Creative Communities]

Creative communities are still minority phenomena, weak signals of sustainability, nevertheless they are important as

They tell us that, already today, it is possible to do things differently and consider one’s own work, one’s own time and one’s own system of social relationships in a different light. They tell us that the learning process towards environmental and social sustainability is beginning to build up a body of experience and knowledge. They tell us that there is an inversion of tendency from the disabling processes of the past (and sadly still dominant today): the cases we are talking about here are the result of the enterprise and ability of certain people – creative communities – who have known how to think in a new way and put different forms of organisation into action. ” [Manzini, E. 2005. Enabling Platforms for Creative Communities]

What could policy maker do to facilitate the emergence and development of creative communities? Make sure that we design appropriate enabling platforms, that is, “the set of material and immaterial elements (products, services, infrastructures, knowledge an rules) that, implemented in a given context, enhance its possibility to be a fertile ground for creative, bottom-up initiatives. i.e. it is able to support creative communities and enable a larger number of innovative citizens to move in the same direction.

Practically, what enabling platform have to do is: to facilitate the access to appropriate technologies; to promote the diffusion of know-how, skills and abilities; to define new, flexible norms and rules; to enhance the social and political tolerance.“[Manzini, E. 2005. Enabling Platforms for Creative Communities]

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