|TABLE OF CONTENT|
Welcome to the 8th edition of the Informed Cities Update!
1 | News
2 | Upcoming events
3 | Improve your local sustainability processes
4 | New on our bookshelf
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This edition of the Informed Cities Update is part of the InContext project that aims to identify the framework conditions enabling societal transition towards an ecologically sound, economically successful and culturally diverse future.To find out more about InContext activities and results, visit the project website at incontext-fp7.eu
1 | NEWS
|InContext: Final results coming soon|
The InContext team initiated three 'transition arenas' and observed four existing initiatives for alternative living in local communities across Europe.The project combines action-orientated interventions with conceptual thinking about sustainable lifestyles. These are exciting times for the research project – in the final project phase, we are distilling what we have learned during the course of the project. The team will present key messages for different target groups in five distinct policy briefs and reports.
The policy brief “Why to go out of the town hall – and what to do there” is addressed to decision-makers at the local level. It will discuss the benefits of engaging with groups and activists who drive change towards more sustainable living in their community.
The policy brief “How the EU can support local transition processes” lists recommendations for EU policy-makers, focusing on funding and research needs.
Many insights of InContext centre on the role of action researchers and on how to draw up successful action research. These results will be presented in the paper “Action Research for Sustainability. Reflections on transition management in practice”.
The papers will be first presented at the InContext final conference, from 6-7 June 2013 in Berlin (Germany). All materials will also be accessible in June via the InContext website.
|Calling all change agents: Join us in Berlin|
Taking place in Berlin (Germany) from 6-7 June 2013, this exciting event will bring together local government and community representatives, researchers and other actors interested in exploring how, through working together, we can facilitate change and move towards better places, stronger communities and resilient societies.
As a participant, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your own role in making change happen, present your experiences, as well as get plenty of ideas for future action.
|RFSC step by step: Training materials now available|
The Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities (RFSC) is an online toolkit designed to help cities promote and enhance their work on integrated sustainable urban development. It is available free of charge to all European local authorities and offers practical support in integrating sustainability principles into local policies and actions.
Image: See Ming-lee/flickr.com
|Urban Nexus: Competing for urban land|
Smart densification is promoted as a key response to challenges at local and global levels. Cities cannot continue to sprawl out. But what is the relation between density and other urban qualities, such as resilience, quality of life or access to public space? This was the question explored by the participants of the Urban Nexus Dialogue Café, held in Gӧteborg (Sweden) from 10-11 April 2013.
|InContext pilot projects: Smiling May comes in to play in Finkenstein|
In the Austrian village of Finkenstein (Carinthia), the 2 years' project “Lebensklima” to develop a vision for good life with the local community slowly comes to an end. Therefore, a workshop taking place in Finkenstein was dedicated to the evaluation of the whole process.
In order to do so, the group reflected on the methods used, personally important results, changes observed due to participation in the workshops and whether the process has taken on board the personal interests of participants. The whole process was further evaluated focusing on the following dimensions: cohesion in the community and throughout the process, sustainability in principles and personal action, comparative learning due to the process and networking in the community.
Despite the official end of the project in September, the community decided to maintain implemented activities to further enhance the local quality of life. Thus, the first election for a new founded coordination team took place. Organized following a sociocratic methodology, the election proved to be a powerful start of the community in the self-organizing phase.
2 | UPCOMING EVENTS
|3rd Informed Cities Forum & InContext Final Conference, 6-7 June 2013, Berlin (Germany)|
Have you registered yet for the third edition of the Informed Cities Forum? This interactive and inspiring conference brings together urban researchers and practitioners interested in local sustainability, both from the public and community sector.
This year’s edition, titled "How to create space for change? Rediscovering the power of community"and organised as the final conference of the InContext project, will have a special focus on the role of the community in designing and accelerating the transition to sustainable lifestyles and a low-carbon society. Click here to register - last places available!
|13th IOPD International Conference “Citizenship for Sustainability” 3-5 July, Cascais (Portugal)|
Elected as the president of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD), the Municipality of Cascais (Portugal) is the international ambassador for participatory democracy for the year 2013.
|ECOCITY The World Summit on Sustainable Cities 25-27 September 2013, Nantes (France)|
ECOCITY is the cross-disciplinary World Summit on Sustainable Cities supported by the NGO Ecocity Builders. This 10th edition, the first to be held in the European Union, positions ”the city as a vital area of work to grapple with the global sustainability issues”. One year after Rio + 20, ECOCITY 2013 must be a platform to accelerate the transition on a global scale, in partnership with the United Nations.
|The RFSC Conference: Towards a European Model of a Sustainable City, 9 October 2013, Brussels (Belgium)|
Taking place during the 11th European Week of Regions and Cities (EU Open Days), this event is addressed to local governments and national institutions supporting sustainable development at the local level.
Mark your calendars to make sure you don’t miss this important learning and networking opportunity – registration will open in June 2013.
3 | IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY PROCESSES
|ecoBUDGET Webcentre: Budgeting local resources|
The ecoBUDGET webcentre is a tool that supports local governments in managing and monitoring their local resources. It is free of charge, easy to use and generates quick results that enable politicians as well as members of the administration to comprehensively improve their local sustainability work.
As the name implies, the ecoBUDGET webcentre is based on the idea of the environmental management system ecoBUDGET. ecoBUDGET follows the assumption that natural resources can be managed in the same way financial resources, such as money, are managed. Hence, natural resources are treated similarly to financial resources.
The ecoBUDGET Master Budget states the short and long-term targets of the local administration, while the ecoBDUGET budget balance shows how advanced the administration is in achieving these targets, and how much is still to be done. The ecoBUDGET webcentre helps create both budgets in a simple and efficient way.
|Transition Management in an Urban Context: Guidance Manual|
In the last decades a new field of research has emerged that attempts to understand and explain the dynamics of fundamental, long term societal change: transition studies. From a transition perspective, the ambitions of European cities to make structural changes towards sustainability represent fundamental changes in institutional frameworks, mindsets and practices.
4| NEW ON OUR BOOKSHELF
|“Toward Global (Environ)Mental Change”, Sacha Kagan, Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2012|
This paper, published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, explores the causes of the global sustainability crisis from a unique and interesting angle.
It argues that the search for a more sustainable development in the ‘developed’ world has, so far, been focusing too much on hardware updates, such as new technologies, economic incentives, policies and regulations. By doing so we have forgotten about the need for “software revisions”, that is cultural transformations affecting our ways of knowing, learning, valuing and acting together. The paper highlights the potential of art in changing current mindsets and fostering a sensibility to Nature-Culture’s dynamic complexity. It is a plea for cultural transformation that hopefully helps bring about social-ecological reforms and the future we need.
|"Enterprising Communities: Grassroots Sustainability Innovations", Anna Davies (ed.), Emerald Group Publishing 2012|
This book provides an internationally grounded and critical review of grassroots sustainability enterprises, specifically focusing on the processes that lead to their formation, the governing context that shapes their evolution, the benefits they create and the challenges that they face in different contexts.
For the first time grassroots sustainability enterprises and their actions and impact receive comprehensive academic analysis from the perspective of their contribution towards more resilient development. Numerous examples include low impact housing in the UK, eco-villages in Ireland, community gardening in Germany and turtle conservation in Costa Rica. The authors conclude by looking ahead to the future, specifically at governing frameworks for grassroots sustainability enterprises and the smart, green, clean-tech economy.
This edition of the Informed Cities Update is financed by the InContext project, funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.