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September 8, 2023

Citizen engagement and economy report


Day 1

Our last online meeting opened with a warm welcome from the city of Dąbrowa which left us with the impression of it representing an interesting avant-garde space in the context of Poland. Also interesting is the short promotional video of the city very much oriented towards the concept of 15-minute City.

We then quickly summarized the stages of our journey, a journey that led us to touch upon many crucial and complex themes and opened up spaces for exploration of ideas and methodologies that are still not yet widespread.

We then all carried out an exercise together to map our perception of the general and local economic situation in the contexts to which the project partners belong. The result of the mapping and the subsequent discussion made it clear that the problems are ultimately very similar, with a particular emphasis, in this period, on the inflation factor.

The second part of the morning was dedicated to the presentation of some interesting case studies proposed by our hosts.

CASE 1 - Magdalena Mike, Dąbrowa Górnicza City Hall

She told us about the multiple strategies used by the city to manage and involve citizens in the planning and implementation of various projects. The relative aptitude for co-planning and the flexibility in the implementation paths are very interesting: the processes provide the possibility of changing one's mind and changing course during construction, adapting to the real conditions encountered during construction (video).

CASE 2 -  Wojciech Czyżewski, managing director and CEO of The Living Factory Company

A bold and courageous project for the redevelopment as a public space of an industrial area located very centrally in the city context. The journey began well, with a widely shared and participatory plan, but is facing financing difficulties to continue due to the lack of internal resources in the city budget to develop it independently (video).

CASE 3 - Agnieszka Stefaniak-Zubko, activist and entrepreneur

Agnieszka brought us  a heart-warming testimony of how in any project the dimension of human relationship with all participants is the fundamental key to producing beneficial effects for the community. It is through relationships that solutions to problems are found, conflicts are resolved, potential failures are transformed into successes…  (video coming soon).

Day 2

Since the economy, and particularly the inclusive and solidarity economy, is the focus of this meeting, we opened the second day by exploring the topic of complementary currencies. The topic was introduced by watching a short video by Bernard Lietaer that the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and the University of Bradford produced a few years ago. This short speech by Lietaer presents a broad and very interesting vision of how a monetary ecosystem could support a fairer economy in harmony with the planet's resources.

But after this general vision we quickly tried to gather some insights gained from observing hundreds of past and present complementary currency experiments in order to have a basic understanding of the potential and risks of this type of approach at a local level (video).

Next we tackled the analysis of 3 other case studies.

CASE 4 - Marcin Domański, Deputy Director of the Transport Department

A very interesting approach to the reorganization of urban mobility by attempting to reconcile functionality, sustainability, consensus and citizen support. A method which, through the concept of prototyping, proceeds through trials and error corrections until reaching the definitive solution, which is not always the absolute best, but the best that can actually be obtained in that context and with the resources available (video).

CASE 5 - Sara Molicka- Skrzek, Aleksander Tuczyński, Dąbrowa Górnicza City Hall

Can we make our cities more equitable and livable through innovative and inclusive planning processes? Civic participation appears to be an indispensable ingredient for achieving this goal and is part of the City of Dabrowa's commitment to its citizens (video coming soon).

CASE 6 - Analysis of the local economic flow in S. Giovanni in Persiceto (Italy)

The last case of the day involved an analysis of the local economic flow of a town of 28,000 inhabitants in Italy. Not without a certain surprise for the entire community, the analysis, however partial, revealed how an increasingly extractive economy impoverishes local communities by removing a large quantity of economic resources from the local metabolism. At the same time, he provided many strategic indications to try to solve the problem. An example that could be repeated in many contexts  (video coming soon).

It was a two-day event full of content, now just a few days to rest and then ready for the grand finale in Italy.

Funded by European Union
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