Lead organization: INDACO/Politecnico di Milano and the Strategic Design Scenarios
Download: Click here to download the Project Presentation and Background Documents.
Summary: Creative Communities is an ongoing research project. It identifies best practice and makes policy recommendations on grass root social innovations for sustainable urban living. The main focus is on rapidly developing countries, particularly Brazil, India and China.
Objective: To identify patterns between and the potential for, community led sustainable lifestyles projects in European and developing countries
The story: Based on results from recent European research, Emerging User Demands for Sustainable Solutions (EMUDE), the project aimed to explore the potential for grassroots social innovations and to identify emerging patterns in sustainable living. These include the promotion of healthy, natural eating, new forms of alternative mobility systems, and networks linking consumers directly with producers to increase efficiency.
The project focused on three aspects:
- The characteristics of the local groups leading projects
- The role of innovative projects in promoting new and sustainable lifestyles
- The potential to replicate these projects
Outcomes: While the project is ongoing, it has already produced 40 original case studies of innovations that improve awareness of sustainable lifestyles across a range of audiences, from China, India and Brazil. The project will continue to run under the Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL) initiative.
Lessons: The project found that progress towards sustainable lifestyles can be found everywhere. It identified eight common areas of community led sustainable lifestyle initiatives:
- Co-operative purchasing groups where people buy in bulk directly from suppliers
- Local trading exchanges where people exchange services and skills with each other
- Children's centers where children and parents can meet and play together
- Car pooling where cars are shared between groups
- Community agriculture exchanges that connect urban and rural producers
- Elderly community care run by and for senior citizens to support each other
- Urban vegetable gardens run by groups of people
- Community nurseries where mothers run small, local nurseries for children
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