sixcs produly supporting the cooperative cities manifesto for planning post covid-cities
Europian and Cooperative City advocate to build cooperative cities in the post-Covid phase to make sure no one is left behind. As editors of this blog we decided to join their Manifesto, contributing to advocate for Europe to support the social and solidarity economy as an opportunity to ensure economic sustainability to all those people who are at high risk of poverty.
As we all know, the Coronavirus outbreak has changed everybody’s daily habits, and the way people live within their community and neighbourhood. What can community centres and NGOs do to continue offering their services in order to help those who benefit from them, especially during this challenging time?
On 8th April 2020, Levente Polyák (Budapest), urban planner, researcher and policy adviser at Eutropian moderated Cooperative City in Quarantine #4, a live panel on how community centres and NGOs are changing their working methods under this crisis, featuring guests from this sector scattered across Europe. Representatives and activists from five cities that are participating in the URBACT Network ACTive NGOs – Irina Vasilijeva (Riga) – Active NGOs project coordinator; Petra Marcinko (Dubrovnik) – Lazareti Art Workshop, local stakeholder group coordinator; Tom Goodridge (Brighton) – Community engagement officer in Brighton & Hove City Council; JackieRena (Brighton) BELTA, Bristol Estate Leaseholders And Tenants Association; Marc Bassols (Santa Pola) – Local stakeholder group coordinator; Maria Tiilikkala (Espoo) – NGO cooperation coordinator, Espoo Municipality.
Probably all community centres in Europe have a lot in common regarding the way they work during this challenging and totally new situation. Community venues, normally serving as spaces for encounters and exchange between individuals and organisations, now cannot accommodate any activities and had to close their doors. Nevertheless, communities organised around these venues need social and cultural services now more than ever. How is the local situation in your country and city?
IrinaVasilijeva– I work for the Riga Municipality. In Latvia, the state of emergency has been prolonged until the 12th of May. However, half of the time I still work in the office. At the moment Latvia doesn’t count many cases – as of April 8th it’s 577, and as physical contact is not very rooted in our culture we are pretty good at keeping distance and at avoiding crowds.
PetraMarcinko – I work for Art Workshop Lazareti in Dubrovnik. In Dubrovnik there are only about 60 cases, and Croatians in general are abiding by the rules. Many citizens joined the civil protection crew, patrolling the city making sure that people are alright and don’t act irresponsibly.
TomGoodridge – I am a Community Engagement Officer in the Brighton & Hove City Council. I work from home, and I am also self-isolating. I contracted the virus myself, but luckily it was mild. In the UK there are approximately 60.000 cases and thousands of deaths. It is noted that the UK’s response was slow. However, we’ve been overwhelmed by acts of kindness coming from grassroots organizations and single citizens.
JackieRana – I’m one of the acting trustees of BELTA (Bristol Estate Leaseholders And Tenants Association). Many members of our community found were given relatively little warning about restrictions. So I’ve been making sure we would show a reactive approach to do what’s possible in order to serve the most vulnerable layers of society.
Many resources are now assigned to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides dealing with these exceptional circumstances, we should consider how these new experiences could be adapted to other crises or trends increasingly infusing our daily life. Society has been relatively hesitant to act upon the climate crisis and digital development. Therefore, it might be worth looking into similarities between the current pandemic and sustainable digital development to derive a list of exemplary learnings that encourage a positive societal future vision.
More and more, general conditions of society, politics, and the economy are altered through all three developments: Current paradigms need to be tested for purposefulness.