FLOK: Policy paper on Citizens and Communities

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author: Janice Figueiredo ([email protected])

1st draft version (13 Feb 2014)

Executive Summary

Ecuador has been envisioning a profound change of paradigm in the traditional understanding of “development” to that of “Buen Vivir”, through shifting its economic model to a “Social Knowledge Economy”.

Knowledge is probably the most powerful resource a Nation has: the more open, shared, accessible and distributed knowledge is within a society, the wealthier that society becomes. It enters the logic of abundance: the more one shares, the more others have, and that benefit can be multiplied infinitely among all within a community and communities in multiple locations. The more people benefit from the logic of sharing, the more they can benefit others and communities, as, from ideas and knowledge derive new knowledge and ideas. Sharing knowledge increases the ability of creation of solutions. A society that shares its knowledge is better positioned to redesign its means of production, so to minimize the use of natural resources, (which are finite) and is better capable of providing solutions for the regeneration of the environment. A society wealthy in knowledge is more talented to generate solutions to complex problems, such as the eradication of poverty and the complexity of climatic changes and their consequences. Through open, free and accessible knowledge, communities increase their capacity to improve the quality, efficiency and sustainability of their systems. Thus, the democratization of knowledge is directly related to an authentic sustainability and to the building of a more inclusive and human society.

In this document we will be looking at ways of expanding knowledge among citizens and communities in order to build more resilient and sustainable territories.

Introduction / General Background

A Social Knowledge Economy is based on a system in which the development and expansion of ideas and creativity are encouraged among citizens, such that new patterns of knowledge-based production and accumulation can flourish. In such a system, every citizen is viewed as a potential contributor to the knowledge commons. Indeed, given the appropriate instruments, orientation and stimulation, each citizen is encouraged to be an active creator, disseminator and enhancer of knowledge for his or her community.

Through the diversification and flow of knowledge, an economy is more capable of enabling quality services, such as housing, healthcare, and food systems, to its communities. Knowledge enables communities and governments to resolve the complex problem of ecological sustainability and the increasing problems facing urban environments, such as traffic congestion and air pollution.

In a Social Knowledge Economy, a State can become authentically sustainable, as it shifts from an economy based on finite material resources to infinite nonmaterial resources including ideas, creativity and human talent - leading to an authentic buen vivir of its population, in harmony with nature. It can be said that the governance paradigm of such a system would be grounded on the creation and promotion of mechanisms that facilitate the generation and multiplication of the richness of what is infinite, ensuring its accessibility to every citizen, and on the promotion of conscious and responsible use of finite resources, as well as on the development of programs to replenish natural resources.

Critique to capitalist model

The neoliberal model is not sustainable in view of the natural resources of the planet, which are finite, and in face of the basic needs of human beings. To survive, capitalism needs to make profit. Under this logic, everything needs to be made a commodity in order to guarantee surplus.

Nature is turned into a commodity and is no longer seen as a precious gift from the Earth, the robust and resilient system, rich in biodiversity and fundamental supplier of the sustenance of all beings, include humans.

Basic human services such as housing, healthcare and food systems are no longer produced to satisfy the needs of people, but are turned into commodities to fulfill the logic of profit.

In many countries, health is not a basic responsibility of a society, but a private good to which one has access through a health insurance policy. As a consequence, many die every year for not having health coverage.[1]

In the past decades, housing has been seen as a possibility of speculative gain, instead of the recognition that every person needs a shelter. By 2020, it is estimated the world slum population will reach almost 1 billion.[2]

A profit-driven food system has lost the sense of nourishing people and focuses its production on what is more lucrative. This made people change their diets in the past decades to food low in diversity and nutrients. As consequences, obesity, diabetes, and several other disease are now common in many Western countries.

Society is shaped by the marketing industry to follow this logic and is compelled to consume what is produced by capitalism, in despite of actually needing those products. By viewing nature solely in terms of profit-generation, by ignoring the environmental limits of the natural world and in being indifferent to people’s basic needs, capitalism has led to the social exclusion of millions, to food insecurity, to the loss of housing and healthcare systems of quality. Communities lost contact with the solidarity, intrinsic to human beings, and the planet suffers of an alarming and continuous ecological degradation.

Alternative models

“There is not a human being on the planet who is not intelligent enough, creative enough, productive enough to not generate their livelihoods, given resources.” Vandana Shiva

It is necessary to build a new economic paradigm that is based on production for human needs and where natural resources are treated in a responsible way, to guarantee ecological and social sustainability. Basic infrastructures, such as housing, healthcare and food systems, which have been commodified, must return to the idea of a commons property. Consumption levels need to be diminished in order to lower the current ecological footprint of the planet.

Cities may be understood as complex material structures of equally complex social structures, in which architecture becomes the instrument to enable the social structures to acquire shape and form.(Espinosa and Walker 2011). Indeed a city, is the materialization not only of a certain type of society or system of organization, but it also favors and predisposes certain types of behaviors and social patterns, which in turn define a certain societal system.**Building types, planning and spatial features have the ability, to crystallize social forms and to safeguard social orders and induce behaviors. 'We make the house and the house makes us' describes the intimate and tight relationship between social structures and physical structures, but it also implies the resistance and inertia of materialized organizational forms to radical change.(Vidler 1992; Harvey 2000) In this line of thought, we may perceive cities as programmed to [re]-produce certain types of societies.

Social Knowledge Economies imply different societal structures, which in turn are expressed in different physical structures and infrastructures.

It is possible to achieve that through a system that enables vastly improved creativity and productive capacity: through community self-management structures, where members of a community can participate in the development and provision of their basic services; by enabling and providing citizen participatory platforms, through which individuals can contribute in the planning of their communities and have a direct impact on building their regions; and through an economy of sharing, where the use of resources is optimized and consumption is diminished.

Community provision of basic services

There are several interesting schemes all over the world that allow the provision of basic infrastructure - such as housing, healthcare and food - through the idea of a common property regime. If we take the example of housing, this would mean housing provision that is cooperatively developed, managed and structured that would ensure protection from the speculative market. A participant of such a scheme would be able to buy a house by its use value and would only be able to sell it for its original price corrected for inflation. (Berg 2004; Meltzer 2005; Rauscher 2013)

Health provision would include the involvement of different members of a community: doctors, patients, universities, local community members, etc. Local knowledge - traditional and alternative medicine - would be taken into consideration in the provision of services.

Food systems would be oriented in a way to privilege local production, healthy and diversified food and to conserve and rejuvenate biodiversity.

Building a Sharing Economy

The building of a sharing economy would tremendously contribute to the resolution of environmental issues caused by overconsumption, simply because the usefulness of a resource is enhanced when it is shared and its wastage is minimized. A shareable economy enables citizens to share all kinds of assets – cars, skills, utilities, spaces – in an efficient way, and enables the creation of stronger, healthier and more connected communities. Through the practice of sharing, less stress is put on the environment, as consumption diminishes.

Sharing represents a sustainable way of living, especially in urban environments, where many resources are available and population density is high, making it easier for people to connect with others. It represents a way for a society to gain more benefits with fewer or less resources. To the government, it represents providing more services using a smaller budget.

Citizen participatory structures

Public participation is another important tool for social innovation. If citizens know they can have a direct impact on the building of their communities, they are more likely to take responsibility over resources, assets and community services. (Clark and Percy-Smith 2006; Hodgson and Turner 2003; Cahil, Sultana, and Pain 2007; Hoppers 2009; Butcher 2013)

Internet and digital technologies allow the building of citizen participatory platforms that can be used by citizens to collaboratively develop solutions for their communities. This mechanism represents a win/win solution for government, private sector and civil society, as it takes advantage of the collective intelligence of groups of people extremely knowledgeable in regards to issues concerning their neighborhoods and cities. These alternatives, based on solidarity, inclusion, participation, responsibility and interaction among citizens, contribute to the recovering of the sense of community, increase interpersonal exchanges and restore broken relations, as they promote trust-based and reciprocal relationships.

Recognizing the tremendous contributions made by local communities rejuvenates social and natural capital, increasing human wellbeing and happiness.

These models are very beneficial for governments, especially in urban environments: as cities grow, it becomes more and more difficult to solve complex urban problems - pollution, traffic congestion, stress on the environment, provision of basic services of quality - with limited budgets.

Case Study 1 - Rio+, a P2P citizen participatory initiative to build urban commons

In April 2013, the online collaborative platform "Rio+” was created in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The platform allowed any citizen to submit ideas for improvements of the city and, through a partnership with the local government and academia, it seeks to implement the best suggestions.(“Rio+” 2014)*.

The initiative was divided into 4 main stages:

1) Creative Call - during this phase, which lasted for 6 months, anyone with Internet access could enter as many ideas for improvement of the city as wanted. During the 6-month period the platform registered nearly 1,700 ideas, suggested by more than 700 people. The ideas were divided into 12 thematic areas: 1.Citizenship; 2.Culture and Arts; 3.Communities; 4.Education; 5. Sport and Recreation; 6.Inclusion; 7.Innovation; 8. Urban Intervention; 9. Mobility; 10.Beach, Square and Park; 11. Health and Well-being; 12.Sustentabilidade.

Proposals remained visible on the website and, through an interface with a social media, it was possible for anyone to interact with the ideas’ authors and with others interested in the same proposal, by giving contributions and suggestions on how further enhance each idea.

2) Feasibility Study In this phase, which started in October 2013, the best proposals within each of the 12 themes were selected by Rio+ member, in partnership with a local University, according to the following criteria: legal and technical feasibility, environmental impact, cost, replicability, innovation. It was possible for any student associated with the partner university to participate of the feasibility study. In this step, potential partners for the implementation of the ideas were also sought.

​3) Popular Vote Scheduled to happen in February 2014, the proposals considered feasible are put into public voting. The initiatives that receive the most number of votes in each of the themes will be implemented by the city of Rio de Janeiro. It is worth noting that in this phase, besides the possibility of voting via the Internet, the public will be able to express their preferences offline, at distributed voting points in the city, allowing the inclusion in the voting process of those who do not have access to the Internet.

4)Implementation Expected to begin in March 2014, the last phase aims to implement 13 projects (12 by the city hall and an extra one by a private enterprise), in the form of a pilot, with the possibility of becoming public policy for the entire city.

We recognize many advantages on giving civil society the possibility to create ideas for the city: inclusion of the population, sense of belonging to the community and increased sense of responsibility towards neighborhoods and the city.

This dynamic encourages cooperation, sharing and community integration, as well as the generation of abundance of ideas. Even if they are not implemented, they become sources of inspiration for future projects. The dynamic encourages citizen participation and values ​​diversity.

The “Feasibility Study" phase is done by experts, ensuring the realistic possibility of implementing projects. The integration of different social actors - civil society, experts, university, municipality, private sector partners that can implement the projects - represents a win-win situation to build goods and services of collective interest.

Case Study 2 - Good Food for London, healthy and sustainable food for every Londoner

More than half of the adults in London are overweight or obese. London’s food system is directly responsible for nearly 19 million tons of London’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. The city of London has been developing several partnerships with local food organizations and businesses to support ways to provide healthier food systems and more environmentally sustainable programs to the city: urban community gardens, healthier food programs to schools and care homes, support of fair-trade programs. Besides improving citizen’s diets, these programs contribute to urban regeneration. (“Good Food for London 2013 - London Borough Maps of Progress on Healthy and Sustainable Food” 2014)

Some of the main partnerships and programs are:

Community food growing

“London Food Link” runs a network of organizations and individuals concerned about healthy food and the urban environment. It supports projects that strive for a healthier, more sustainable and more ethical food system in the city of London.

One of its project, “Capital Growth”, offers grants, advice, practical help, training and other support services to food community growers willing to grow their own food. Since 2009, the project supported 2,204 new community food growing spaces in London, including schools. Each initiative is documented through a map, accessible through the Internet.

The “Capital Growth” was launched in November 2008, as a partnership between “London Food Link”, the city’s Mayor and the “Big Lottery Local Food Fund”, a public body supported by the British government that funds community projects aimed to improve health, education and the environment. Local authorities support the initiative through different means: by ensuring access to land, by providing small grants and by recognizing the importance and promotion of food growing in council strategies and planning. Food growing has been recognized in the London Plan1 (Policy 7.22), which commits to encourage and support farming in London.

Food for Life in schools

More than 30 million meals are served in schools every year in London. Two thirds of London boroughs have adopted the “Food for Life” program in their schools. The program stimulates the use of meals made with organic, fair trade and locally produced ingredients. Besides serving fresh and healthy food to children, the program inspires children to learn about good food through practical growing and cooking skills, through partnerships built with local food and health initiatives to facilitate food-growing and farming activities. The Food for Life program is being commissioned by local authorities across England to successfully tackle public health issues and transform school food culture.

The standards are also being taken up by hospitals, universities, kinder gardens and in business settings.

Fairtrade food

London boroughs can demonstrate their commitment to fair trade by supporting cross-community applications for fair trade borough status. Applications involve local businesses, educational establishments, community organizations and the council. The council should also help to raise awareness with residents of the ways to support fair trade. A borough’s fair trade status must be renewed every two years by showing continued progress in these areas.

In July 2013, the Greater London Authority (GLA) unanimously passed a resolution committing its on-going support for the use, expansion, and promotion of fair trade products, encouraging businesses across London to continue to support fair trade and urged that all London boroughs pass or renew their own fair trade resolutions.

Healthier Catering Commitment

The Healthier Catering Commitment is a partnership between environmental health teams in London boroughs with support from public health experts, the Greater London Authority and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) to improve diet of Londoners. The Commitment provides guidance on ways that caterers and food business can make straightforward changes in processes and ingredients, which can improve not only diet but also increase business profits. Simple and affordable steps include changing cooking oil to a healthier product, using more fruit and vegetables in a recipe and reducing salt content.

Caterers and food outlets that adopt healthier ingredients and cooking practices can display a Healthier Catering Commitment sticker in their window.

Case Study 3 - Seoul, the Sharing City

Seoul, a megacity with a population of more than 10 million, found a creative solution to deal with the common pressures of big urban centers, such as housing provision and increasing transport pollution and congestion. The city started investing in supporting, encouraging and developing enterprises that deliver sharing options. It reviewed rules and regulations that inhibit or prevent citizens from sharing and the city is now delivering its own sharing initiatives. (Johnson 2013)

In September 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government created a plan, which includes 20 sharing programs and policies, to promote the sharing of infrastructures of the city. The government is currently working with 37 companies or groups that allow people to share or rent different products, services and spaces. The affiliated entities share cars, parking lots, houses, children’s clothes and empty spaces for use as meeting rooms. Some of them serve as platforms to help people connect with others to share their talents for social good. The city government regards the program as an alternative for social reform that can resolve economic, social, and environmental issues, while, at the same time, it creates new business opportunities, recovers trust-based relationships and minimize wastage of resources.

Some of the sharing initiatives of the program include:

  • Opening public resources to the citizens - citizens are able to share meeting rooms and auditoriums of the city hall, province offices, and citizen centers, when those are vacant on week-nights and during weekends.(“:Reservation for Public Service - SEOUL Metropolitan Government:” http://yeyak.seoul.go.kr 2013)
  • Support of an Urban Guesthouse for Foreign Tourists- the tourism department supports private housing in urban areas to provide room and board for foreign tourists, and has created a home-stay service, which link tourists with home owners with rooms to spare. * “Citizens’ Library Shelves,” an online library that enables the sharing of bibliographic information and books over the Internet and wherein books owned by citizens are stored in a large warehouse.
  • Zipbob, where people with interest in the same topics dine together to share their views * “Space Noah”, a service that enables the sharing of office space.
  • Green Car (Car-sharing Project): Reserve and use jointly used cars parked in many places for the necessary time by smart phone, Internet, and more. Appoint a car sharing service provider to support a parking lot as public parking lot and offer discount on parking fees. * Creation of a “Seoul Sharing Hub”, where all sharing-related information and platforms-related information are gathered at one single site. The project is powered by Creative Commons Korea. (http://sharehub.kr)
  • Seoul e-Poomasi: Exchange and barter of members’ works and goods via virtual money circulated in each area’s work exchange (http://poomasi.welfare.seoul.kr)
  • Norrizzang is a social enterprise that shares workspace and tools for making household items with wood.
  • The Open Closet: allows young people to rent suits, ties and shoes. * Woozoo, a company that remodels old houses into shared houses * Wonderlend andBilli, companies that facilitate the lending and borrowing of idle goods; * Opening of select government parking lots and municipal buildings to the public during off-hours and idle days;
  • a village workshop where people can have their bikes or umbrellas fixed, learn to use tools, rent electric drills, travel bags or camping supplies.
  • Medical instrument sharing among city-run hospitals * Photo banks where citizens can use about 380,000 photos of Seoul and can also upload their photos to share.
  • Connecting senior citizens who have extra rooms with students who need a room.

In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will implement policies to familiarize citizens with the concept of sharing and breaking mental barriers to that process, by operating comprehensive sharing city Public Relations programs through the promotional media of the city.

A sharing city offers many advantages to governments, communities and the environment.

  • It provides more service with a small budget, by using idle spaces, tools or talents.
  • It provides added income to citizens who have idle resources and lease them at an adequate prices, such as in the case of the rental of empty rooms to foreign tourists.
  • It leads to increased resource efficiency and greater resilience to the costs of resources.
  • It creates active communities and social cohesion, both critical to engaging people in society and politics.
  • It enables the poorest in society to access services and opportunities that would otherwise be closed to them, thereby reducing inequalities.
  • It addresses environmental issues by reducing unnecessary consumption and waste.

Preliminary general principles for policy making

The orientation on policy making for this stream is based on three principles: 1) Inclusiveness and accessibility need to be addressed so fundamental rights can be extended to all: basic needs for an adequate standard of living - housing, healthcare, food - are recognized by international and national laws as a fundamental right for every human being. This right has been stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[3], in the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution[4] and in the Ecuadorian National Plan of Good Living[5].

Despite the central place of this right within the global legal system, millions are deprived of those basic needs. In 2010–2012, about 870 million people – or one in eight of the people in the world – did not consume enough food (FAO 2013)[6]. About a billion people are not adequately housed (UN-HABITAT 2009)[7]. Over 100 million people annually fall into poverty because they have to pay for health care (WHO 2008)[8].

The current consumption trend is not compatible with the limited resources of the planet(Global Footprint Network, 2013)[9]. The western culture of consumerism is unsustainable, as the currently available natural resources cannot provide all that is being demanded. This scenario is aggravated by the continuous growth of the population[10] and the ethical responsibility the humanity has to resolve the problem of exclusion and poverty. Both facts will considerably increase consumption levels and put an additional stress on an already critical situation of the planet and its resources.

This brings humanity to the consumption dilemma of how to provide good living to those currently excluded and to the increasing population, while preserving the natural resources.

3) There are available resources which could be used but that are not reaching those who need them.

According to Oxfam International, there is enough food grown in the world for everyone in the planet (Oxfam International 2009)[11], but at least one-third of the world's food goes to waste (FAO 2011)[12]. There are more than five times as many vacant homes in the U.S. as there are homeless people (Amnesty International USA 2011)[13]. In Spain, twenty percent of the houses are vacant (Abellán 2013)[14]. Over 700,000 homes in England are empty, and around 270,000 of those have been empty for over 6 months (Department for Communities and Local Government UK 2013)[15]. Ten million items of furniture are thrown away in the UK every year, while three million of these items could be easily re-used; more could be repaired. Over six million electrical items are thrown away every year in the UK. It is estimated that over half of them are still working or could easily be repaired. (Bulky Waste 2013)[16].

Taking into account these principles, the stream will be looking into public policies that favor distribution and accessibility, as well as sustainable alternatives to traditional consumption.

The Ecuadorian political framework (National Plan)

The plan recognizes that all individuals have equal rights for decent housing, with access to basic services and that there should be mechanisms to protect housing from the speculations of the market. It proclaims the need of a healthcaresystem that contemplates universal care, that stimulates preventive care and which brings traditional and alternative medicine into the National Health System.

In regards to the area of food, the plan indicates the need to strengthen family and peasant farming, the need to promote fair and alternative trade of crops through mechanisms of the solidarity economy. It points out the importance of stimulating the use of healthy food to promote good health, indicating the value of producing and consuming traditional crops to achieve that. It also emphasizes the importance of strengthening trade areas of organic food.

The plan stresses the need to promote patterns of conscious, sustainable and efficient consumptionthat remain within the limits of the planet, claiming the importance of changing the patterns of consumption of the population and of creating a culture of sufficiency, savings and minimal negative environmental impact generation.

The National Plan indicates the strengthening of citizen participatory process and decision making as an objective and indicates the design and implementation of mechanisms of citizen participation as a means to create opportunities of dialogue and cooperation.

Ecuadorian policy recommendations with institutional participation

Citizen participation

  • Promotion of civil society groups and their proactive involvement with the creation of solutions and innovations for neighborhoods and cities.
  • Establish information and training systems to promote the best practices for local governments and members of the civil society to solve local problems.
  • Digital inclusion is essential for citizen participation in the construction of solutions for their communities. Therefore, it is essential that mechanisms for digital inclusion are provided to all, through the creation of Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, of personal e-mails to citizens in need, along with the needed training in the use of these technologies.
  • Self-organization of communities in the provision of basic services
  • Foster programs of community development and capacity building - development of the skills, knowledge and confidence to enable communities to assess their needs, to develop plans to meet those needs and to carry on the developed plans.
  • Creation of mechanisms and training for the partnership/co-production of solutions between communities and government agencies on the planning and delivery of basic services (e.g. jointly produced community health strategy).
  • Develop and sustain collaborative relationships between public institutions, social enterprises, and academia with community groups and projects in order to ensure the development of plans and services.
  • Develop participative community programs, in order to to listen, receive and co-create solutions with communities.
  • Support the strength of community organization and creation of networks, in order to increase community participation in the creation of solutions.
  • Support the development of social cooperatives, such as house coops, health care coops and food coops, which offers an effective, participatory approach to affordable basic services of quality.
  • Provide economic development departments with the knowledge and resources to support cooperatives and other community enterprises.
  • Grant public funds for cooperative workforce development.
  • Provide financial grants, loans, and in-kind support to cooperatives and facilitate or act as intermediaries to secure other financing opportunities for cooperatives.
  • Prioritize worker cooperatives over private businesses for contracts for procurement of goods and services.
  • Apply high taxes on empty and vacant housing at urban areas.

Sharing and collaborative consumption

  • Creation of fiscal incentives and educational processes in favor of the conscious and responsible practices of consumptions, such as reduction of consumption, good waste management practices and collaborative consumption, among others.
  • Create a Sharing Promotion Committee made up of representatives from a variety of sectors including academic, legal, press, welfare, transportation and more, so that a sharing economy is promoted appropriately in the various sectors and ensure that sharing is part of the discussion when decisions within those sectors are being made.


  • Incentives for car sharing: these incentives can be in the form of financial incentives (discount or free parking), or reserved access for those who share vehicles.
  • Application of reduced local taxes for those who share their vehicles.
  • Creation of incentives for ridesharing: access to HOV (high-occupancy vehicle lanes), waived or reduced tolls.
  • Continuation of the expansion of the bike tracks of the existing public bike sharing program (e.g. Quito) or development of similar such programs where they do not exist and t is possible.

Food systems

  • Foster programs to create and expand urban agriculture and community urban gardens
  • Facilitate and strengthen direct relationships between producers and consumers
  • Financial incentives to stimulate urban gardens.
  • Conduct or support land inventories that explore the potential for food cultivation on unused land.
  • Create food redistribution centers and programs to reroute food that would be thrown away.
  • Stimulate the growth of farmers' markets, and other new opportunities for food outlets at the local level.
  • Create local strategic partnerships to support a food forum to ensure that citizens have good access to healthy and sustainably produced food.
  • Ensure food for school meals and other public sector catering is bought from sustainable sources, and work with schools to change the food culture.
  • All involved administrations, regional government offices, regional agencies and other regional economic development strategies should make support for sustainable local food economies a priority.
  • Public sector purchasers should encourage sustainable local food within the context of a sustainable purchasing policy, and require the use of menu development which takes account of seasonality, local food availability and regional characteristics.
  • Each level of government should adopt the 'proximity principle' for the use of natural resources.
  • For food, this means creating strategies to develop the local food economy. Current grant programs should be changed to make better use of local food link organizations.
  • Create a “Universal Food Coverage”, as proposed by Vivero Pol[17](#sdfootnote17sym), that guarantees a minimum food basket for every Ecuadorian. This coverage could be based on food stamps, exchangeable with selected locally grown and organic food, as a means to support a sustainable and healthy food system.

Space use (housing, working, etc)

Create new zoning ordinances that enable the creation of cohousing, transition Initiatives and eco-villages, which facilitate more affordable and sustainable growth and development.(Hopkins 2008; Campbell and Wiesen; Bollier and Helfrich 2012; Bollier 2014)

Facilitate the use of idle public spaces for community benefit. For instance, theater, libraries, public auditoriums when not in use.

Reinforce the use of idle commercial spaces for community benefit, by offering incentives for temporary leases and by penalizing property owners and banks for allowing spaces to remain vacant.


Citizens as individuals and their communities as the organic clusters of citizens, forming complex systems, capable of change are both the producers and recipients of the benefits of a Social Knowledge Economy. Sustainability is the outcome (or indicator) of a healthy social system, which relies very much on a reciprocal relationship with the territory it occupies.(Espinosa and Walker 2011) Thus, because of the complexity of such a system, involving both social processes, as well as spatial processes, the policies concerning participation and commoning processes are an integral and very significant component of the transition to a Socil Knowledge Economy for Ecuador.


  • Berg, Per G. 2004. “Sustainability Resources in Swedish Townscape Neighbourhoods: Results from the Model Project Hågaby and Comparisons with Three Common Residential Areas.” Elsevier 68 (1). Landscape and Urban Planning: 29–52.
  • Bollier, David. 2014. Think like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons. New Society Publishers.
  • Bollier, David, and Silke Helfrich, ed. 2012. The Wealth of the Commons : A World beyond Market and State / David Bollier & Silke Helfrich, Editors. Amherst, MA: Levellers Press.
  • Cahil, Caitlin, Farhana Sultana, and Rachel Pain. 2007. “Participatory Ethics: Politics, Practices, Institutions.” ACME: A International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 6 (3): 304–18.
  • Campbell, Lindsay, and Anne Wiesen. Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-Being through Urban Landscapes. USDA Forest Service.
  • Clark, Alison, and Barry Percy-Smith. 2006. “Beyond Consultation: Participatory Practices in Everyday Spaces.” Children, Youth and Environments 16 (2): 1–9.
  • Espinosa, Angela, and Jon Walker. 2011. A Complexity Approach to Sustainability: Theory and Application. London: Imperial College Press ; Hackensack, NJ.
  • Harvey, David. 2000. Spaces of Hope / David Harvey. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Hodgson, F. C, and J Turner. 2003. “Participation Not Consumption: The Need for New Participatory Practices to Address Transport and Social Exclusion.” Transport Policy 10 (4): 265–72. doi:10.1016/j.tranpol.2003.08.001.
  • Hopkins, Rob. 2008. The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience. Chelsea Green.
  • Hoppers, Wim. 2009. “Participatory Practices in Policy-Making: Negotiating Democratic Outcomes or Manoeuvring for Compliance?” International Journal of Educational Development 29 (3): 250–59. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2008.02.004.
  • Meltzer, Graham S. 2005. Sustainable Community: Learning from the Cohousing Model. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford.
  • Vidler, Anthony. 1992. The Architectural Uncanny : Essays in the Modern Unhomely / Anthony Vidler. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.


[1�] According to a Harvard medical study, there are some 45,000 needless deaths each year in the U.S. because people do not have health insurance. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/

[2]� United Nations General Assembly, report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination, August, 2012.

�[3�] http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/, Article 25 “(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

[4]� http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/english08.html “Article 3. The State’s prime duties are: 1. Guaranteeing without any discrimination whatsoever the true possession of the rights set forth in the Constitution and in international instruments, especially the rights to education, health, food, social security and water for its inhabitants.”

[5]� http://plan.senplades.gob.ec/ “Policy 1.1 - Ensure the rights of Good Living to overcome all inequalities (especially health, education, food, water and housing).”

[6]� FAO Statistical Yearbook 2013

[7]� The Right to Adequate Housing, Fact Sheet n. 21. 2009. UN-HABITAT.

[8]� The World Health Report 2008

[9]� “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us.”(Global Footprint Network, 2013).

[10]� The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years. United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. 2013.

[11]� http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-10-16/world-food-day

[12]� Global Food Losses and Food Waste Report, FAO, 2011 http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e00.pdf

[13]� In December, 2011: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/us/housing-its-a-wonderful-right/

[14]� to according Antonio Abellán, from the “Departamento de Población, CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), based in statistcal information provided by INE(Instituto Nacional de Estadística)http://envejecimientoenred.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/una-de-cada-cinco-plazas-en-residencias-de-mayores-esta-vacante/

[15]� August, 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/increasing-the-number-of-available-homes/supporting-pages/empty-homes

[16]� http://www.bulkywaste.org/partners/furniture-recycling-statistics

[17]� http://thebrokeronline.eu/Articles/The-food-commons-transition