Through an open call we have collected 33 initiatives and practices of transformative change from all over the world. These practices have been evaluated by a diverse group of practitioners and experts, and then mapped in the Atlas of Utopias.
Three initiatives for each category (water, energy, housing and food systems) have been chosen, adding up to twelve stories in total. Next, the Transformative Cities initiative has commissioned local journalists to dig deep and pull out the people and practices behind these transformative practices. These stories will be published on different international media-outlets, reaching a global audience.
To select the awarded stories, the public will vote on the top twelve initiatives via our website, starting from 10 September and ending on 9 October 2019. The voting page will display all relevant information about the initiatives and provide links to media sources. Although the popular vote will technically identify a series of “winners,” our goal is not to create competition between different political practices, but rather to put a spotlight on diverse transformative practices and encourage their spread internationally.
The winning initiatives from the 4 different categories will be invited to an international conference in Amsterdam on the 4th of December. Stay tuned for more information about this conference that will be live-streamed.
About the Atlas of Utopias 2019
“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.
The atlas features 33 communities from 24 countries, who responded to the Transformative Cities initiative which seeks to learn from cities and the mosaic of collectives living in them working on radical solutions to ensure access to water, food, energy and housing. This basic human rights are now jeopardized as a consequence of our world’s the ongoing climate crisis and our increasingly dysfunctional political andsystemiceconomicstructures driven by states, international institutions and transnational corporations., social and ecological crises.
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 small villages grassroots movements in Zimbabwe and Palestina Kenya to international cities like Parisor Barcelona that haveeven defeated multinational corporations and hostile national governments in order 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 solidarityrather 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? Are you missing Utopian practices that should be known more about? Do you have comments about the composition of this Atlas? Do contact us.
These 9 experiences have been chosen from a larger list of 32 who responded to an open call and were featured in the Atlas of Utopias. We are inviting a vote to popularise these experiences and to inspire transformative practices everywhere. The deadline for voting is 5 June 2018 and the results will be announced on 6 June 2018.
The nine experiences were selected by a multidisciplinary and multinational team of evaluators.
The goal of the voting is not to put one experience above others; there is no prize for the one with more votes. This is an exercise of Coopetition, meaning that we seek cooperation but have introduced an element of competition to encourage public interaction and engagement. Regardless of the vote results, we recognize the hard work, successes and victories of all the initiatives in the Atlas of Utopias.
Transformative Cities aims to support these initiatives by giving them visibility in our website and allied organizations and partners, which includes:
Last but not least, the transformative Cities process is open and we aim to improve it along the way. Please do contact us if have any suggestions or comments so the next edition contains even more collective intelligence.
> More on the award
Estas 9 experiencias han sido seleccionadas después de un proceso de evaluación de todas las iniciativas que respondieron a nuestra convocatoria. 32 de ellas aparecen en un Atlas de utopías. La evaluación corrió a cargo de un equipo evaluador de distintas disciplinas y procedencias.
El objetivo de la votación no es situar una experiencia por encima de las otras; no hay ningún premio para quien obtenga más votos. Este es un ejercicio de coopetición, es decir, que lo que buscamos es la cooperación entre las diversas experiencias, pero hemos introducido un elemento de competencia para promover una participación pública que esperamos que amplifique las prácticas transformadoras que nos gustaría ver florecer en todo el mundo.
Independientemente de los resultados, reconocemos el arduo trabajo, los logros y las victorias de las 9 iniciativas, así como de todas las representadas en el Atlas de utopías.
Ciudades Transformadoras persigue apoyar estas iniciativas brindándoles visibilidad en nuestro sitio web y entre organizaciones y socios afines, entre otras cosas mediante:
Por último, pero no por ello menos importante, el proceso de Ciudades Transformadoras está abierto y nuestro objetivo es irlo mejorando poco a poco. Si tienes sugerencias o comentarios, escríbenos para que la próxima edición goce de una aún mayor inteligencia colectiva.
“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 and housing.
The atlas features 32 communities from 19 countries who responded to the Transformative Cities initiative which seeks to learn from cities working on radical solutions to our world’s systemic economic, social and ecological crises.
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 small villages in Bolivia to international cities like Paris that have even defeated multinational corporations and hostile national governments in order to deliver democratic, people-powered solutions on water, 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. Nine cases in particular will be explored in more depth and then in the first half of April the public will be invited to vote on their favorites. The learning will also be turned into publications and different media formats to inspire and assist other communities involved in similar struggles.
This Alpine city reversed water privatisation, pioneered new forms of public participation and inspired a wave of cities across France to bring water back under public control. The city has saved users €20 million between 2000 and 2008 and advanced the right to water by ensuring no households pay more than 2.5% of their annual income on water services.
Summary | Full article
This coalition of citizen campaigners took over municipal government and initiated an energy revolution, based on 100% renewable energy, job creation and ending energy poverty. These activities are funded by profits derived from the largest private-public electric company in the country, and are informed by two public working groups bringing together specialists, environmental organisations, individuals, workers and coop members.
After 36,000 people lost their homes due to expansion of Tanzania’s Dar Es Salaam port, this community mobilised, securing 30 acres of land for resettlement and collecting about US$ 24,000 from its 300 members. The housing project has also improved access to water and sanitation and helped community members learn construction skills and participate in building their homes.
This campaign is not only challenging Mauritius’ privately owned, non-renewable energy sector but putting forward a solar-powered, cooperative alternative, through which struggling farmers could generate energy to produce food in greenhouses. Their actions have thwarted plans for a new coal plant, improved government transparency, and acquired land to produce solar power when they get the go-ahead.
This citizen’s platform emerged from movements that included those fighting house repossession. It won elections in 2014 and has advanced a progressive platform underpinned by a dynamic model of citizen engagement. On housing, it has limited licences for tourist apartments, fined owners of multiple properties who leave them empty and authorised municipal land in the city centre to be used by housing cooperatives.
Led by women beedi (cigarette) workers, this movement formed cooperative housing societies, purchased land, mobilised to win government funding and has so far built 11600 homes. It plans to build a further 30,000 more homes for beedi workers, textile workers and other unorganised sector workers which will include infrastructure and services such as schools, a college, hospital, market, places of worship, roads, water and electricity.
This community mobilisation took over local government in an oil company town, extracting higher taxes from Chevron, raising the minimum wage, bringing in rent control measures and reducing local crime through community policing. The Richmond Progressive Alliance, the coalition of community groups that led the struggle have secured a super-majority on council and created a model for municipal action.
This indigenous community defied municipal political authorities and developed its own system for treating wastewater and preventing contamination to its local river. San Pedro Magisterio on the outskirts of Cochabamba in Bolivia built their own water treatment plant, improved environmental awareness in schools and showed the power of participatory community planning in building public services and developing community confidence.
This water rights campaign in Africa’s largest city succeeded in stopping privatisation and when challenged by authorities developed an alternative roadmap for the city’s water systems. The Lagos campaign is the first major national campaign against privatisation in Nigeria campaign and has resulted in US$185 million in government funds allocated to ensuring clean water for Lagos’ people.
Please confirm your selections:
Lagos, Nigeria: Challenging and proposing alternatives to privatization
Port Louis, Mauritius: Supporting farmers with clean energy
NOT SELECTED: Please go back and cast a vote for housing