"We knew from the beginning that turning the idea of an urban garden into a reality depended on a lot of people sharing the idea. What actually brought the garden into existence was the fact that hundreds if not thousands of people have invested their time, passions and experiences into creating it.
We soon realized that this form of social urban gardening could be an important inspiration for future urban development. We considered Prinzessinengarten as a kind of laboratory, expressing the social desires and needs of local Berlin residents. In working, engaging voluntarily, and creating their own projects within the garden, people have helped bring this garden into existence.
The question for us now is 'how can this passionate engagement with the local and the informal, become part of the answer to the challenges for tomorrow?' The attraction of our garden is not so much in the design of an object, or a landscape, but in the self-designing forms of social relations."
ReGen Villages is a new visionary model for the development of off-grid, integrated and resilient eco-villages that can power and feed self-reliant families around the world.
ReGen stands for regenerative, where the outputs of one system are the inputs of another. The concept has a holistic approach and combines a variety of innovative technologies, such as energy positive homes, renewable energy, energy storage, door-step high-yield organic food production, vertical farming aquaponics/aeroponics, water management and waste-to-resource systems.
"Overall we believe the world we live in is facing radical change – and our aim is to help find positive futures in the face of that change. To get in shape for the challenges of the future, we need a culture that knows how to sustain the things that sustain us and at the same time nurtures creativity, imagination and adaptability."
CAROL COLETTA, THE KRESGE FOUNDATION
PieLab was merely an experiment. It was just an idea.
It was the hopeful, and somewhat fanciful vision shared by fourteen young designers. Yet, in one year’s time, this notion that a pie shop and a design studio could share a single roof, that designers could work together to launch a new enterprise in a small, southern, rural community, and that the people of that community would begin to embrace and take ownership over the venture is becoming a reality.
Who would have thought? Often times, deeply entrenched in the day to day operations, not even us.
MEGAL DEAL AND FRIENDS
"You have to be ready with poetry and pragmatism. And you have to be ready to see the world you want to see, commit to the change and be bold about it. Art is a very complicated thing today. Sometimes it's about things that hang on walls, and sometimes it's one's desire to have an effect in the world. I believe that all the work I do is art, and artists should make art in the biggest ways possible. That's the best thing they can do for the world."
DAVID BURNS, MATIAS VIEGENER AND AUSTIN YOUNG - FALLEN FRUIT
The question is whether the commons, with its potent political dimension, can transcend extreme need and symbolic resistance on the one hand and harmless local initiatives on the other. And there are encouraging examples. One commons project that is beginning to achieve an ambitious scale and complexity is in Colombes, in the suburbs of Paris. Since 2012, the Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée has been developing what its co-director, Doina Petrescou, calls “a bottom-up strategy of resilient regeneration” – and it goes beyond your average urban agriculture initiative. It’s true that there is a micro-farm for collective use but that is only one of three hubs, the others being a mini recycling plant and cooperative eco-housing.
The project now has 400 citizens co-managing 5000 square metres of land, producing food, energy and housing, while actively reducing waste and water usage. Already, by European standards, it is a fairly large-scale experiment in alternative urban living. But the aim is to add five more hubs over the next five years and to grow into a commons-based civic movement.
This is just one case study in how hundreds of ordinary citizens, not activists, can create an alternative urban economy."
JUSTIN MCGUIRK, THE GUARDIAN
"Everything we have in the Reading Room we got for free. Once you make it known to people that you are looking for books, bookshelves, carpets, computers and other stuff and will give it public meaning, you’ll be surprised at what people have, and are willing to give away for free. Nils Roemen, a Dutch social entrepreneur, invented a word for it - social abundance – which he defines as “those things which can be missed at one place where they are of no use, but which can be of value in other places (…) This is not so much about money, but about material stuff, ideas and access to all kinds of support”.
Working with what you can get your hands on can lead to a space with feels like a mess. But add professional craftsmanship to the equation, and you can turn it into a welcoming, warm and ambitious space. Through the help of a befriended interior designer we were able to do the latter."
MAURICE SPECHT AND JOKE CAN DER ZWAARD
"At its heart Transition is an invition.
It suggests that this is a time for creativity and inspired action, and provide simple tools and principles to start to bring that into being."
Once a year, in Eden’s true optimistic style, we ask the nation to suspend disbelief, to unstiffen that upper lip, and discover how many good, talented and interesting people there are in their neighbourhood. In 2009 we began an annual tradition, earmarking one Sunday each summer as the people’s ‘Big Lunch’, when we encourage them to open curtains, doors and minds.
Not just to put a smile on Britain’s face, but to help sow the seed of friendships that can be enjoyed for the rest of the year. Because we know at the Eden Project that when people get together they become more positive and start to sort out some serious stuff. We also know that talking about all that ‘serious stuff’ isn’t the best way to get millions inspired to join together. So we parked phrases like ‘social isolation’ and ‘climate change’ and instead simply invited the nation to sit down to lunch together with their neighbours in a simple act of community, and let the ‘human warming’ work its magic.
BY HANNAH BULLOCK AND TIM SMIT
"Ships returning from ports around the world would fill their hulls with earth and stones to stay weighed down on their return journey.
Once back in Britain, the earth – which contained seeds – was offloaded into the river. Alves discovered that if the riverbed were excavated, the dormant seeds could be regerminated to grow into plants."