“Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance.” – Eduardo Galeano
The Atlas of Utopias is a global gallery of inspiring community-led transformation in water, energy, food systems and housing, featuring 33 stories from 24 countries.
The Atlas gathers responds to the Transformative Cities initiative, which seeks to learn from cities and collectives working on solutions to ensure access to water, food, energy and housing. These basic human rights are threatened by the ongoing climate crisis and our increasingly dysfunctional political and economic structures, and the states, international institutions and transnational corporations that support them.
The Atlas is by no means a comprehensive mapping of transformative practices. Transformation in one area such as water management does not necessarily mean transformative practice elsewhere in the city. Nevertheless, the atlas showcases inspiring stories of communities challenging entrenched power and boldly developing alternatives. These range from grassroots movements in Zimbabwe and Palestine to international cities like Paris or Barcelona that have defeated transnational corporations and hostile national governments to deliver democratic, people-powered solutions for access to basic human rights: water, food, energy, and housing.
The cases show how public solutions, based on principles of cooperation and solidarity rather than competition and private profit, have been more successful in meeting people’s basic needs -and, perhaps just as importantly, in creating a spirit of confidence and empowerment that strengthen communities for many other challenges.
These initiatives demonstrate in practice that another world is possible, and is already happening. The Transformative Cities initiative is learning from and with the communities to explore what has been most transformative in terms of power relations and social and ecological justice and the lessons from their experience.
Do you want to be part of this collective effort? Do you know of similar Utopian practices? Do you have feedback about the composition of this Atlas? Do contact us.