For three years now Doors has been involved in a Europe-wide project called EMUDE (it stands for “Emerging User Demands for Sustainable Solutions”. That’s European research for you!). A network of design schools, acting as ‘antennas’, has collected examples of social innovation in a wide variety of contexts. Many of these seem to be more resource-efficient than conventional ways of organising daily life. The photograph above, for example, is community-supported agriculture in practice. Town dwellers don’t just buy direct from local producers; they also help with the planting and harvesting.
Yes, such examples are on the edge of the known world for many urbanites. Our propositon is that these fringe examples may be the harbinger of wider scale social transformation to come. You may judge for yourself how representative these signs are in Creative Communities, the book of Emude, that has just been published. Edited by Anna Meroni and a team at Milan Polytechnic, Creative Communities is available to download. (It’s a heavy file, but worth the wait).
Most of the people and institutions involved in EMUDE are also connected informally to an ongoing project called Sustainable Everyday. François Jégou was the co-producer with Ezio Manzini of an exhibition by the same name that has featured twice at Doors events in India.
The picture that emerges is of a ‘multi-local city…a city in the shape of a network of places endowed with totally new characteristics” – in particular, a tendency towards new models of sustainable urban living: “solidarity purchase groups”, “community based agriculture”, “urban vegetable gardens” and so on.