WWWforEurope Researcher at ECOCITY 2013, Nantes

WWWforEurope at ECOCITY 2013

Conference topic: The city as a vital area of work to grapple with the global sustainability issues

Nantes, France, 25-27 September 2013

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Contributing answers to the question "Can citizens self-organise the sustainable city", Adrien Labaeye of the University of Applied Sciences Jena presented ideas developed in one of WWWforEurope's research areas, which looks at the role of cities in the socio-ecological transition at the World Summit of Sustainable Cities - ECOCITY 2013 - in Nantes, France.

In his presentation "The Commons and Self-organisation in the Socio-ecological Transition of Cities", Adrien Labaeye included learnings from literature, e.g. by Elinor Ostrom, regarding the concepts of self-organisation and collective action and the way they relate to the emergence of urban commons. He also stressed the example of the municipality of Leipzig, Germany, which has supported a bottom-up initiative to reinvent the use of urban green space through urban gardening and other innovative activities.

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The concepts introduced resonated strongly with other panellists' presentation, including Filipa Pimentel, International Coordinator of the Transition Network who presented her work with a crisis-hit community in Portugal being revived by a Transition Initiative.

Father Godfrey Ubeti Nzamujo, Director of the Songhai Center in Benin, explained how he managed to train over 10 000 people in sustainable farming. Professor Estela Alves from the Fiam Faam Complexo Educacional in Sao Paulo, Brazil, presented how a poor neighbourhood of Sao Paulo is organizing the preservation of a forest threatened by a motorway construction project.

Adrien Labaeye worked on a WWWforEurope research paper together with Thomas Sauer: "City networks and the socio-ecological transition. A European inventory", which provides an up-to-date map of 46 sustainability-related city networking initiatives and suggests some new avenues for research and policy-making.