Compendium for the Civic Economy – Lessons Learned

in Best practices in community empowerment, Civic Economy & Social Enterprise

Excerpts from Compendium for the Civic Economy, by Indy Johar and Joost Beunderman. Published in May 2011 by 00:/, with support from the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), p177ff.

A: The civic economy is being built by protagonists who are led by passion, purpose, and personal commitment – and whose key asset is their social networks and trust they hold.

click on any image to enlarge

B: The civic economy is based upon inviting participation from the public at large – which goes far beyond mere consultation, to create frameworks for a type of co-production and co-investment that builds deep democratic belonging.

C: The civic economy is built using an increasing diversity of finance sources as well as the investment of a range of other ‘currencies’ – people’s time, trust, and social networks.

D: The civic economy is emerging from recognizing and re-combining the latent capacity of dormant or under-used physical assets, human capabilities, and aspirations.

E: The civic economy is focused on generating a holistic experience of place – creating places that tell stories about their purpose, often surprising and delighting users and helping to generate open conditions for people’s participation and collaboration.

F: The civic economy, although purpose driven, is being built not through strategic planning, but through open-ended, agile, incremental, and interactive practices – based on starting small, and growing in response to evolving needs and opportunities.

G: The civic economy is not just deeply local, but also intricately linked to change-makers elsewhere – growing through networks and adaptation, rather than through replication.

H: The civic economy is based on delivering a plurality of values and outcomes – which need to be acknowledged and taken into account in formulating the objectives and metrics of new policy, projects, and procurement.

Read the story behind the book in, and this review by Kevin Harris.

A slidedeck of illustrations used here:

Compendium for the Civic Economy – a review by Kevin Harris

in Best practices in community empowerment, Civic Economy & Social Enterprise

11th in our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

This review of the Compendium for the Civic Economy is reposted here (with some addenda) with permission of Kevin Harris. Click here to subscribe via rss to his Neighbourhoods blog.

OK you need to commit a few minutes to this, please, cos it really is a bit special. Yesterday saw the launch of the Compendium for the civic economy [80MB pdf]. I’m tempted to write, ‘and the rest is history’ and leave it at that.

Speaking at the launch at NESTA, Tom Bolton, from the Centre for Cities, raised the question of how you describe an economy when its distinguishing feature is its ways of working (and, I would add, its values) rather than in terms of traditional business sectors.

The compendium gets at the question, what are the economics of localism? I think it’s possibly the most important document I’ve had my hands on so far this century. It was prepared by the ever-dependable Indy Johar, Joost Beunderman and their colleagues at 00:/.

It records and celebrates a number of examples of civic entrepreneurship, and reflects on their significance for our understanding of how people who are not part of formal public services, and not part of the traditional private sector, are making a difference to civic and social conditions, by coming up with transformational projects and involving others in carrying them through. Some of the examples are already well-documented, and justifiably so, like Incredible Edible Todmorden and Southwark Circle. There are 25 described in the book.

Now I want to quote from the second of the authors’ six key messages, on page 169, which sums up why this matters. But I can’t copy and paste it, because for some reason someone has decided to disallow content copying on the pdf – which is obviously hugely ironic given that the text extols initiatives that promote sharing and collaboration.

The heading for this second message is (and I type): ‘Civic entrepreneurship can actively contribute to increasing the resilience, prosperity and well-being of people, places and communities’.

[in his blog, Kevin left gaping holes where the quotes would be, to make the point that a document on sharing and collaboration probably shouldn't be locked. That's very funny, if you're British, but I'm not, so am posting below, in itals, the passages that I think Kevin meant to quote]