No single recipe to revive markets

Over the past decade, market halls and open air food markets have become an important arena for urban regeneration. Although many of today’s European cities are essentially built around markets and fairs, these markets have now disappeared, relocated or, like other community infrastructures such as cinemas, public baths, psychiatric hospitals or prisons, lost some of […]

Food markets’ network as an infrastructure for local development in Rome

This paper investigates the central role of markets in the food distribution system in Rome and their role on neighbourhoods as a local service. Firstly, an overview of the current food distribution patterns in European cities and the role that public food markets play in it is provided. The article then delves into the case study of local food markets in Rome, looking into their role in supporting local food distribution, offering local services in public assets, creating employment and ultimately affecting the neighbourhoods they are located in.

Authors: Daniela Patti, Levente Polyak, Manuel Torreson

Publication date: 2022

Published by: Eutropian GmbH, Vienna, Austria;  Department of Planning, Design, and Technology of Architecture, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy

Stará Tržnica: Breathing life into an old market hall

Stará Tržnica (Old Market Hall) is a historical building in the centre of Bratislava. After years of unsuccessful attempts by the municipality to keep the market alive, a redevelopment plan with the input of the locals was realised by the Alianca Stará Tržnica combining a food market, cultural events, cafés, a grocery shop, a cooking school and a soda water manufacture. The space has helped to rebuild the community and runs in an economically sustainable way.

Mercato Sonato: a hub for music and arts in a former market hall

Mercato Sonato is a project to requalify an unused market hall in Bologna. It was developed by an association of musicians in need of a rehearsal space for their orchestra, and it soon evolved into a multimodal hub for music and performative arts. Involving many associations whose work ranges from music to arts and crafts, […]

Il mercato è un incubatore di imprese giovanili – YOUNG MARKET LAB

Il Young Market Lab ha riattivato gli spazi inutilizzati del mercato coperto di Carbonara di Bari tramite il coinvolgimento di giovani che hanno avviato le loro idee di micro-imprenditorialità. In preparazione del bando pubblico è stato avviato un percorso di supporto e formazione sui temi dell’economia collaborativa, del riuso degli spazi mercatali e sulle pratiche […]

Stiftung Trias – Taking properties out of the speculation market

Stiftung trias was established in 2002, to help community groups and co-housing projects access financing. Trias takes land off the market by separating the ownership of land and buildings: supported initiatives lease the land from the foundation in the form of a long-term Heritable Building Right (Erbbaurecht) and their lease fee is collected in a mutual […]

Interazioni Urbane – Reactivating the market

Interazioni Urbane​ is an association based in Rome. Composed of architects, sociologists, psychologists and photographers, they create participatory processes to improve the urban environment. Addressing the deterioration and gradual abandonment of Rome’s Primavalle market, Interazioni Urbane, together with Banco e sto​, have brought together market vendors, local residents and municipal officers to help turning the […]

Stiftung trias – Taking properties out of the speculation market

Stiftung trias was established in 2002, to help community groups and co-housing projects access financing. Trias takes land off the market by separating the ownership of land and buildings: supported initiatives lease the land from the foundation in the form of a long-term Heritable Building Right and their lease fee is collected in a mutual fund run by Trias. In recent years, Trias has also been working with public administrations, securing functions for properties that municipalities are obliged to sell under austerity laws.

Interazioni Urbane – Reactivating the market

Interazioni Urbane​ is an association based in Rome. Addressing the deterioration and gradual abandonment of Rome’s Primavalle market, together with Banco e sto​, they have brought together market vendors, local residents and municipal officers to help turning the market into a community hub.

New Life to Markets – regenerating public space in Rome

With public spaces being created by the interaction of various social groups, marketplaces have traditionally constituted some of the most important public spaces, attracting people from all ways of lives and all financial capabilities. In the past decades, however, they gradually lost their role: while urban and metropolitan agriculture are flourishing, and an increasing number of […]

Mercato Metronio – the role of a market in creating a local community

Una cosa importante in questo mercato storico è il rilancio della struttura che da anni ha qualche inefficienza dovuta alle gestioni del Comune e a leggi regionali che sono incongruenti con l’attuale situazione dei mercati rionali. Ricordiamo che il Metronio è un mercato storico, di importanza fondamentale, costruito nel ’50 dall’architetto Morandi. Ci sono operatori […]

ANVA – promoting the interests of food vendors in markets

ANVA, the National Association for Commerce on Public Areas, is a professional association that gathers workers operating on commercial public areas. ANVA is counted among the founding members of Confesercenti and it promotes the idea of an Italian self-managed market, designed according to the market requirements, defending the expertise and the rights of professional workers.

We defend markets – citizens’ initiative to protect the public good

Anna Maria Bianchi is the president of the association “carteinregola”, an initiative aimed at promoting collaboration between citizens and committees as well as other associations in Rome. Among the activities offered by “carteinregola”, Anna Maria is in charge of the initiative “We defend neighbourhood markets”, which she will present in this interview. She not only highlights […]

Measuring social return: The case of the community centre Can Battló

Like other major European cities, Barcelona has a great industrial heritage that can now be re-used for a new and different development of its urban life, regenerating spaces, places and communities. The former Can Batlló factory, a post-industrial infrastructure in La Bordeta neighbourhood of the Sants district, is part of this industrial heritage. Due to […]

Spores Home – A self-sustaining co-living space that is a second home

Spores Home is a self-sustaining co-living space in Spain. Founded by an innovative entrepreneur, it offers affordable housing to people from various ways of life. With no on-site management, residents rely on common sense and self-initiative to co-manage their dwellings and common spaces. The community thrives through trust and collaboration, contributing to a unique ecosystem […]

Rome’s interconnected, holistic and circular food policy

Rome’s transformative journey towards developing a comprehensive food policy reflects the profound influence of food on the city and its inhabitants. Inspired by international research and experiences the Rome municipality embraced a city-region food system approach, recognising the interconnectedness of urban and rural areas. Through a bottom-up process which began in 2018, diverse stakeholders united […]

Szeszgyár: An ecofeminist, queer community garden in the centre of Budapest

Right in the heart of an inner district in Budapest lies a 7700 square metre wild, at first sight untamed green space, sandwiched between unassuming residential buildings. Walking in the area, one is surprised to find Szeszgyár, this vast ecofeminist and queer community garden behind the graffiti-filled walls, away from sight. Szeszgyár is different to […]

Overcoming isolation: Multigenerational and multicultural co-housing in Sweden

 “A new way to live” states the website of the revolutionary SällBo co-housing project where young people between the ages of 18 and 25, including refugees, and over 70s live together. The aim of mixing these different groups is to support social interactions of people who can easily feel like outsiders, isolated and lonely. The […]

From initiatives to synergies: Mapping Újbuda’s cultural scene

It is difficult to measure the cultural vitality of a neighbourhood. We can browse through a city’s event calendar and assess the concentration of activities in any given area. Otherwise we can rely on feelings: the buzz we feel when strolling along an avenue, passing by art galleries, co-working spaces and live events, or walking […]

So Stay: Poland’s first socially responsible hotel

In the past years, tourism’s growing share in national economies and the increasing touristification of many European cities prompted social innovators to develop new forms of tourism with new, non-extractive business models and more inclusive employment policies. So Stay Hotel in Gdańsk is one of the hotels born from this need for a more responsible […]

Climate adaptation through participation: urban approaches from Vienna

We are flooded by the effects and consequnces of the global climate crisis, whether in the news, on social media, in education, or in discussions with friends and family. The conversations are filled with frustration and hopelessness of climate activists as well as scientists, leading to a sense of climate anxiety in society, effecing especially […]

neoom: app-based support for energy communities in Austria

Establishing an energy community requires different legal, technical and organisational considerations and skills. For those without a background in energy production, getting started with this process can seem difficult and daunting. How can those interested in producing and using renewable energy be supported? neoom is a Freistadt-based company that offers innovative, clean and integrated decentralised […]

Free Riga: A platform for temporary use

Free Riga is an organisation promoting the temporary use of vacant and underused buildings across the city of Riga. Founded in 2013, Free Riga gained exposure through a highly successful campaign to make visible the hundreds of empty buildings that suffered from decades of neglect. Since then, the organisation operates as a platform to help […]

Reclaiming public space through tactical urbanism: Milan’s Piazze Aperte programme

In the past years, Milan has become a model city in public space regeneration. The Piazze Aperte (“Open Squares”) programme, launched in 2018 has become a key reference for municipalities and activists aiming at transforming their cities with safer streets, more attractive and more accessible public spaces, more climate-resilient infrastructure and stronger, more compact and […]

Inclusion Potentials of Co-Housing – A look at OASE.inklusiv 

wohnbund:consult is an independent office working in the field of social and sustainable urban developments with a focus on housing. Its interdisciplinary team focuses on urban and social housing issues as well as research projects, development and planning. In accordance with Vienna’s subsidised housing schemes, wohnbund:consult supported the development of the project OASE.inklusiv as part […]

The Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava: The Slovak capital’s urban think-and-do-tank

The Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava (MIB) is a new urban centre that aims to bring fresh, dynamic, participatory and data driven urban developments to the city. It can be described as a “think-and-do-tank” that is concurrently responsible for strategic urban planning, as well as for the development and implementation of architectural and spatial urban interventions […]

Planning a new cultural venue: Connecting to Újbuda’s existing institutional tissue

How to conceive a new cultural institution in an area already known for its strong cultural scene? How can a new venue integrate into an existing institutional network, complementing and strengthening the work of already running cultural spaces and community centres, instead of draining their resources? Adaptér will be an Art & Technology Centre in […]

Learning from each other: the possibilities of transferability

In the last decade, cities across Europe have seen an increasing number of innovative actions taking place on different scales: from the district, to the municipal level and from here to regional and national one. However, in most of the cases, experimentation and innovations run the risk of being limited to local impact. How to […]

Planning a new cultural venue: Exploring the needs of the local cultural ecosystem

How to plan a new cultural venue in a district already rich in cultural life? How can a new cultural institution help to connect existing spaces and organisations, instead of competing with them? Adaptér will be an Art & Technology Centre in the Újbuda district of Budapest, co-financed by the Urban Innovative Actions-funded project CUP4Creativity. […]

Precariousness, double standards and racism in housing refugees

The blog presents an initial reflection on emerging challenges that the influx of refugees from Ukraine – about 7 million people since 24 February 2022 – poses to cities and their housing infrastructures. Based on a recent exchange convened within the framework of the JPI-funded research project HOUSE-IN, it focuses on the project’s case studies […]

Social housing with self-determination: Wiener Wohnen’s quest to involve tenants in decision-making

Vienna is the largest municipal housing owner in Europe. About half of the city’s population lives in subsidised housing, while only around 30% of the Viennese apartments are privately owned. The public ownership of such a large housing stock gives the Vienna municipality an important leverage over housing affordability and other aspects of urban development. […]

The Ute Bock Association: Building on a legacy of inclusion

Considered by many as a secular saint, Mrs. Ute Bock (Linz 1942 – Vienna 2018) began helping refugees, especially those who were not included in the classic asylum system or who could not receive institutional support, as early as the 1990s. At that time, refugees were sent to Mrs. Bock as her pragmatic approach was […]

Ois In An: Social and ecological sustainability all-in-one

In the centre of Vienna, a small commercial space is trying to make a difference working with a social and sustainable oriented mission. Ois In An is a restaurant combining the inclusion of migrant women in the workplace and the promotion of sustainable food products in a warm and cosy environment. We visited Ois In […]

Solidarity City Policy Observations

Policies for a City of Solidarity: Observations Solidarity City is a media project by Cooperative City Magazine to promote and strengthen social and solidarity economy practices throughout Europe. Taking Vienna as its starting point, the project mapped initiatives that focus on social inclusion, participation, citizen-led urban regeneration, ecological transition, sustainable food systems, ethical consumption and […]

Brunnenpassage: Activism and art strengthen each other

Brunnenpassage is an art and social space located in a former market hall in Ottakring, Vienna’s 16th district. Brunnenpassage mirrors the area and its mixed demography – a melting pot of different cultures, such as Turkish, Serbian and Croatian – as it prides itself to be a “laboratory for transcultural art”. It is located next […]

Bikes and Rails: Co-housing with solidarity and an environmental mission

Self-managed and affordable, ecological and inclusive – the pioneering project Bikes and Rails in Vienna’s Sonnwendviertel stands as an alternative to real estate speculation in the increasingly pressured housing market. The concept provides for buying houses collectively through private financing, freeing them from the market in the long term and thus securing affordable housing. The […]

The Wiener Tafel: Building bridges between abundance and need

About one-third of the food produced worldwide gets thrown away[1]. Since its foundation in 1999, the Wiener Tafel has been providing social institutions such as women’s shelters, homeless care facilities and refugee homes with food and other goods that would otherwise have ended up in the waste bin. It is Austria’s oldest food bank and […]

Zukunftshof: An agricultural city laboratory at the edge of Vienna

On the site of the old Haschahof, a former farm at the southern edge of Vienna’s Favoriten district, stands today’s Zukunftshof (meaning Future Farm), which has been a place of forward thinking since the 1980s. Rothneusiedl, the former village where Zukunfthof is located, will become a new settlement for approximately 20,000 inhabitants in the next […]

magdas HOTEL: Changing the world while sleeping

Founded in 2015, magdas HOTEL is not only a cosy, retro-style hotel next to the famous Prater park in Vienna’s 2nd district. “Change the world while you sleep” is one of the mottos of magdas HOTEL , the first hotel in Austria that is run as a social business. It is dedicated to the integration […]

Augustine newspaper: The social conscience of the city

The Augustin is an independent Viennese street newspaper that aims to help less privileged people to lead a self-determined life. In addition to social work, the newspaper also takes a critical look at current political and social issues. We are on Reinprechtsdorfer Straße, in Vienna’s 5th district. Between an ice cream parlour and an outlet […]

Nut & Feder: Joining forces through carpentry

Nut & Feder is a Viennese carpentry shop, a social business, that supports the integration of asylum seekers through work with local carpenters. This peer-to peer cooperation helps to overcome the challenges faced by asylum seekers getting into the job market due to legal, social and cultural barriers.  At the border of the City of […]

A residence for emergency housing and impact tourism in Turin: Luoghi Comuni

Right in the heart of Turin, just next to the remains of the Roman city walls and the Porta Palatina, one of the four ancient city gates, lies Piazza della Repubblica, the largest square of the city, which is home to one of the biggest open markets in Europe, locally known as mercato di Porta […]

Gradual space: Room for Diversity in the Future of Urban Public Spaces

Article by Levente Polyak for, a project by the CCCB. In 1748, the Italian architect Giambattista Nolli published an ichnographic plan of Rome, documenting every building in the city and their adjacent spaces. The Pianta Grande di Roma, besides outlining all the buildings, and separating them from the surrounding public spaces, also depicted publicly […]

Public procurement with social impact

Local communities and their local governments have two possible ways to cooperate. One is centred upon the use of public procurement for social purposes. The second is based on new forms of partnerships. The perspective of new types of partnerships that overcome the public-private binary and allow new forms of public-community or public-private-community collaboration is […]

Mobilising local resources: The Val di Noto Community Foundation

Community foundations are a means to mobilise resources within a territory in order to help the creation of local initiatives. In an area with limited public resources but a great density of active charities, civic organisations and private companies, a community foundation can act as an actor to raise funds, connect initiatives and trigger cooperation […]

Gólya: collective ownership in a self-organised social and cultural centre

Gólya is a self-organised community space in Budapest’s 8th district. Gólya has relocated to its current location due to intense property development and increasing real estate pressure around its previous venue. In order to counter gentrification and gain independence from the changes of the rental market, the community running Gólya decided to buy a building and […]

The story of the Lazareti Heritage Complex

In the year 2000, the Art Workshop Lazareti, one of the most significant Croatian organisations in the field of contemporary arts and culture, signed a long-term contract with the City of Dubrovnik. This contract, with a duration of 25 years, allowed the organisation to use three of the ten buildings of the Lazareti heritage complex […]

Collaborative housing: innovation in community engagement, social inclusion and participatory design 

Collaborative housing can be conceived as an approach to complement state- or municipality-led public housing schemes with bottom-up, self-organised housing projects. It has been the object of a great diversity of experiments throughout Europe, turning housing into a field of innovation when it comes to community engagement, social inclusion, solidarity economy, ethical finance and participatory […]

Co-Housing students and homeless people – VinziRast in Vienna

A four-storey historical building in the heart of Vienna that houses bicycle, woodworking and sewing workshops, a restaurant serving international cuisine and a café hosting events sounds like a hipster tourist trap. In reality, though, it is a social initiative by VinziRast, an ambitious volunteer-based organisation, that aims to give a second chance at life […]

Cooperative City Podcasts

Welcome to Cooperative City podcasts! You can follow our episodes on Anchor, Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Radio Public or Pocket Casts. CUP4Creativity   In this first Zoom-in for the UIA project CUP4Creativity, Levente Polyak joins a pop-up event in the future Adaptér, to learn about the art & tech centre under construction in the heart […]

Cooperative City in Quarantine: Connecting local initiatives during the COVID-19 crisis

Realising the need to create international dialogue on handling the COVID-19 crisis at the local level, Eutropian launched a weekly webinar to connect activists and experts from all parts of Europe with a broader audience. On a Sunday evening in early March, I received a few text messages. It was 8 March, and I was […]

Welcome to Cooperative City

What is the Magazine about? Cooperative City Magazine brings its readers the stories of collaborative urban development processes in different areas in Europe. It is a project run by Eutropian, a company and association developing collaborative planning processes in various cities in Europe. Latest Article More articles Explore more articles The Cooperative City Webinars Placemaking […]


Planning post-COVID-19 cooperative cities Building on existing efforts towards social economy We advocate for existing knowledge, policy recommendations and financial resources to be geared towards the strengthening of social and solidarity economy practices* throughout Europe. We believe that this is the way forward to not leave anyone behind. At the present time EU Member States […]

Cooperative City in Quarantine #14: Manifesto – Planning post-Covid cities

During the first weeks of the lockdown we noticed that there was little or no exchange across nations about how to respond to the emerging crisis. This is why we launched Cooperative City in Quarantine, bridging this gap and brought together lots of people from different backgrounds and countries to contribute to the discussion. We […]

Creating Soil from urban waste – experience of Maribor

The City of Maribor is piloting circular economy projects to close the material loops through the involvement of the municipal companies. In this interview with Igor Kos and Brina Lazar we understand more about their Urban Soil 4 Food project funded by the Urban Innovative Actions EU program.  What is the experience of the City […]

Cooperative City in Quarantine #12: Community Spaces

Since the 2008 economic crisis, cities in Europe have witnessed a veritable revolution in community-led development processes. Prompted by the opportunities offered by the last crisis, many formerly vacant buildings and complexes have been reused by “citymakers” and “Re:Kreators” – concerned citizens with the necessary skills to make use of these spaces. In the last […]

Cooperative City in Quarantine #9: Refugees

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the vulnerability of many disadvantaged social groups. Among these groups, refugees and asylum-seekers are particularly at risk, with limited visibility and restricted access to public services. Since 2015, Athens has become a main hub on the refugee route, facing the challenges of addressing the needs of tens of thousands of […]


Given the current situation, more than 200 million people could become unemployed as a result of this crisis. Not everyone can work home, and disadvantaged categories such as riders, sex workers, and harvest workers are risking even more.  It is undeniable that we will be facing a huge employment crisis, much bigger than the 2008-09 […]


Tourism is big business: It employs more than 12 million people in Europe, it counts for 3,9% of EU’s GDP, in 2019 global tourist revenues amounted to 9,25 trillion USD, and half of the tourists worldwide visited Europe. Due to the current lockdown, international tourism may drop by 30% in 2020, causing unprecedented damage to […]


The Coronavirus pandemic is causing huge damage in both physical and psychological terms in all fields of life. At the moment, approximately eight million people are working in the cultural sector in Europe. As the COVID-19 spreads and the lockdown expands country by country, we are evermore aware of the fact that the creative sector […]


With the announcement of the lock-down due to the COVID-19 people in many cities literally assaulted the supermarkets to make sure they had enough stock at home to survive the quarantine in case of food shortage. Despite this being the result of a collective anxiety due to the extraordinary situation we are living, it clearly […]


Progettare città cooperative post-COVID-19.  Mettendo a valore gli sforzi compiuti nell’Economia Sociale               Vogliamo che in tutta Europa le conoscenze attuali, le raccomandazioni politiche e le risorse finanziarie siano volte al rafforzamento delle pratiche di economia sociale e solidale*. Questa è per noi la via da percorrere per non […]

Cooperative City in Quarantine #9: RIFUGIATI – IT

La crisi dovuta al Covid-19 ha fatto venire alla luce in modo ancora più evidente la condizione di vulnerabilità di molti gruppi sociali svantaggiati. Fra quelli particolarmente a rischio ci sono i rifugiati e i richiedenti asilo, che hanno poca visibilità rispetto ai loro bisogni e un accesso limitato ai servizi pubblici. Dal 2015 Atene […]

Cooperative City in Quarantine #5: TURISMO- IT

Episodio #5: Turismo Quali danni ha subito l’industria del turismo in seguito alla crisi covid-19, e quali opportunità questa può offrire? Grande business, quello del turismo in Europa: oltre 12 milioni di lavoratori impiegati nell’UE, un settore che rappresenta il 3.9% del suo PIL, con 9.25 trilioni di dollari di entrate complessive nel 2019 e […]

Co-Hab Athens: changing the ownership paradigm in Athens

Co-Hab Athens is a research project which aims to elaborate long-term models of collective housing ownership, claiming the quality of housing as a right. Active since January 2016, it aspires to act as an exchange platform for urban researchers and activists on the issue of collective ownership, to propose new policies and to promote the […]

Exploring FRIEDA 23: a media and arts space in the city centre of Rostock

FRIEDA 23 is a venue for art and media production. Located in Rostock, Northern Germany, it was opened as a result of the cooperation of various institutes in the city – Kunstschule Rostock, the Institute For New Media, the Lichtspieltheater Wundervoll, the Lokalradio LOHRO, and other organisations who wanted to work in a shared space. […]

The Art of Traveling Light: Tourism with a Positive Impact

The extractive nature of mass tourism is made possible by tourist behaviour, missing regulations and lacking alternatives. There has been very little work done to make tourism more responsible, sustainable and enriching for local communities. While there is a growing number of emerging NGOs, cooperatives and social enterprises to channel tourism revenues into socially meaningful […]

Polis Athens: citizen-led urban regeneration through pop-up activities

Polis is a platform developed by Martha Giannakopoulou and her studio, If- untitled, to  enhances collaboration between architects and the Municipality of Athens. It aims to support civic engagement into urban regeneration by promoting community-led interventions and temporary use of space in vacant buildings. An important part of its work is to evaluate urban vacancy, […]

Social Solidarity Economy in Barcelona: The Ecos Cooperative

Ecos is a cooperative of cooperatives which works to support the growth of single cooperatives and to promote inter-cooperatives projects in Barcelona. In this article, we share what we learned from Roger, the coordinator of Ecos, and Guernica, a member of the organisation, who explained us how does social solidarity economy work in Barcelona and […]

Fusolab Roma: Regenerating the periphery through education

Fusolab is a non-profit community hub in Rome’s Eastern periphery, offering educational activities within the arts, communication, technology, new media, sports and a variety of other fields. With a strong focus on the neighbouring Alessandrino and Torre Maura districts, among the most disadvantaged areas of the Italian capital, Fusolab works closely with local communities, connecting […]

Ecomuseo Casilino: an open-air museum in the Eastern periphery of Rome

Ecomuseo Casilino is a museum that operates beyond the standard walls of a museum. The Associazione Culturale Ecomuseo Casilino Ad Duas Lauros is committed to collect cultural resources, based on what local communities consider as such. Besides all the historical, archaeological and artistic heritage, the association also explores objects of cultural value that local residents […]

Gólya: cooperative management in Budapest

Gólya is a community house in Budapest. It has been working for six years on Bókay János utca in the 8th District, and currently it is relocating to a new venue because of increased gentrification of its neighbourhood and the consequent sale of their former rented venue. In this interview with Marci Biro, one of […]

Variante Bunker: temporary use of a land in between vacancy and master-planning in Torino

The Bunker is a cultural project launched by The Cultural Association URBE – Urban Regeneration and the Torino Quittengo Srl, owner of the area. Bunker is located near the Vanchiglia Railway Station, decommissioned since the 1980s and to be subject to urban transformation in the coming years.  The association Variante Bunker temporary manages the area […]

Mindspace: A consultancy for urban regeneration in Budapest

Mindspace is a non-profit organization based in Budapest and founded in 2011. It manages cultural urban projects with a focus on smart and livable neighbourhoods and sustainability, using participatory methods and recreational activities. Ádám Kobrizsa, co-founder of Mindspace, talks about the history of the project and its future. How did Mindspace start? We opened Mindspace […]

A Város Mindenkié: resisting homelessness and housing crisis in Hungary

A Város Mindenkié, in English The City is for All, was established in 2009 to advocate for housing rights in Hungary. Homeless people, those experiencing housing poverty and their allies, work together to overcome homelessness in Hungary by campaigning for social housing policies and for a homeless care system and by fighting against the discrimination […]

Deviszont Közösségi Tér: a new community space for teenagers in the periphery of Budapest

Deviszont is a community space located in the suburban area of Budapest. It offers non-formal educational activities and space for the socialization of disadvantaged working class teenagers. Deviszont was recently opened by a group of young professionals following a long process consisting of organisation and fundraising, as well as the refurbishment of a vacant building. […]

ShareTown: digital technology as a tool to envision cooperation between citizens and government

ShareTown is a fictional town populated by a cast of characters, which sets out to create a positive vision of what a preferred future for cities might be. Community needs are attained in ShareTown through self-organization, as well as democratic and inclusive growth. A new relationship between citizens and local governments emerges in this new and […]

Dynamo Velostation: making urban cycling easier for commuters in Bologna

Dynamo Velostation was opened in 2015 with the support of the Incredibol tender promoted by the Municipality of Bologna. Behind Parco della Montagnola, few hundred meters away from Bologna Central Train Station, it became an intermodal hub for urban cyclists and commuters. It provides a safe bicycle parking space and a variety of services, giving […]

Urban redevelopment at the neighbourhood scale: the case of Bagni Pubblici di via Agliè 9 in Torino

Bagni Pubblici di via Agliè 9 is a community space where more than 15 organizations, associations, traders, schools and institutions, work to improve the quality of life of their district and to encourage relations between neighbors. In this interview, Erika Mattarella presents the projects and its importance in the neighborhood of Barriera di Milano.   […]

Affordable space for artists – Berlin’s Studio Commissioner

The role of the Studio Commissioner for Berlin exists since 1993. After the city’s reunification it became evident that affordable space for artists would become increasingly rare and contested; therefore the position of the Studio Commissioner was proposed by organised artists to tackle this challenge. Later it was installed within the KulturWerk, a part of the berufsverband […]

Das Packhaus – a start-up community in a temporary-use project

Das Packhaus is a project of Paradocks an international think- and do-tank for reuse of vacant buildings inVienna. Since 2014 Das Packhaus has been showing the potential for temporary use in the city of Vienna thanks to a community of 85 companies coming from different fields. A place where companies can support each other and […]

There’s more to Digital Democracy than just a tweet

The US presidential election results came as a surprise to many of us especially because we hadn’t encountered any testament of sweeping support towards the current president in any of our communication channels. None of our friends on Facebook seemed to support Trump, so how could he be elected? Recent public discussions have highlighted the […]

How to strengthen the position of cities in the digital domain? Amsterdam’s ecosystem of cooperation

Recent newspaper articles highlighted the controversial position of large ICT companies in terms of taxation, data management, political leverage and spreading of fake news. With Google and Facebook becoming one of the major global players in terms of turnover thanks to our digital actions, their relationship with the public interest is no longer a secondary […]

NORDBAHNHALLE – Promoting mixed-use affordable spaces in Vienna

A former warehouse has become a living lab where the spatial and economical needs of small entrepreneurs are studied in order to promote mixed-use spaces in the future Nordbahnhof district. Working with the private and the public sector, “Mischung: Possible Nordbahnhof” is helping the City of Vienna to enhance a sustainable and affordable urban growth […]

NEST Ghent – Creating a momentum through temporary use

NEST is a temporary use project in the former City Library of Ghent awaiting refurbishment and a new use. The 7,000 m2 building, was given to an alliance of organisations for temporary use until construction works begin. During its year of temporary use, the building has hosted about 50 different projects and many events and […]

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Data Privacy Policy Our website may be used without entering personal information. Different rules may apply to certain services on our site, however, and are explained separately below. We collect personal information from you (e.g. name, address, email address, telephone number, etc.) in accordance with the provisions of German data protection statutes. Information is considered […]

WASTED – How to create local welfare from waste management

Based in Amsterdam since 2008, CITIES Foundation has been working to address global urban development problems by implementing solutions at the local level. CITIES first research project, Farming the City, has evolved into a social enterprise for local food distribution service, Foodlogica. In 2017, CITIES published “The Wasted City,” a book exploring models of circular economy […]

Ökokauf in Vienna – Procurement for sourcing ecological food

ÖkoKauf (Eco-Purchase) is an initiative of the City of Vienna, part of the Eco-Business Plan of the City, that was started in 1998 to purchase goods and services according to ecological considerations (from laundry detergents and office supplies to construction services). The City of Vienna has around 65.000 public employees and a total cost of […]

Caught between the public and the private: urban cooperative solutions in Central Europe

In the early 2000s, some cities in the Central Eastern European region began to introduce new mechanisms for citizen participation in urban development. These attempts have remained mostly sporadic however, and the possibilities of the third sector in shaping the region’s cities have remained very limited. In order to understand the reasons that hinder the […]

Szatyorbolt – Buy and consume local

Szatyorbolt has been operating an association and a food shop within a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme for the past 9 years. The shop’s aim is to bring local produce from the countryside to the city, by connecting consumers with small and mid-size farms and food producers within a radius of 50-70km from Budapest. Establishing […]

Plateau Urbain – Temporary use for new ecosystems of work

Plateau Urbain is a temporary use organisation in Paris. Established in 2013, it examines the possibilities of vacant spaces in the city, bringing together property owners with a diversity of tenants. Together with the temporary housing organisation Aurore and the architecture collective Yes We Camp, Plateau Urban was a key actor in reactivating a former […]

PIGS, from crisis to self-organisation

Southern European countries were among the hardest hit by the 2008 economic crisis. In response to the economic pressure, declining public services and drastic unemployment situation generated by the crisis and the corresponding public policies, the Southern regions of the continent became terrains of experiments in self-organisation and gave birth to new forms of the […]

Toestand – Temporary use for mixing communities

Toestand is a temporary use organisation in Brussels, helping citizen activities and community groups access spaces at an affordable rent or for free. While the organisation undertakes the work of identifying buildings, negotiating with owners, renovating the spaces and recruiting tenants, it is also responsible for the daily management of the reactivated sites, bringing together […]

ZOHO – Development with a hundred investors

ZOHO or the Zomerhofkwartier near Rotterdam’s Central Station has witnessed a significant revival in the past years. The area is composed of office buildings constructed after the war, and gradually witnessing a loss of attractiveness as well as tenants over the past few decades. Although a housing corporation had purchased many properties in the area […]

Paralelní Polis – Virtual economy for community spaces

Paralelní Polis is a community space organised around the notions of bitcoin and blockchain technology. Located in Prague’s upcoming Holesovice neighbourhood, it opened its doors in 2014 to provide a physical space for discussions and activities investigating the relationship between technology and self-organisation. Decidedly “state-free,” the organisation operates with private membership fees and donations, and […]

Complementary currencies for a commons-based economy

Responses to the economic crisis of 2007-2008, and ambitions to create autonomous systems of exchange generated hundreds of complementary currencies in the past decade. Created to connect local actors, help local businesses or assure financial transparency, mutual credit systems, convertible local currencies and cryptocurrencies have evolved into mechanisms used not only in socio-economic experiments, but […]

Public policies in support of civic initiatives

Civic initiatives regenerating urban areas emerged all over Europe as an answer to the crisis of traditional urban policies. Often they share a conflicting attitude towards the public sector or aim at extending their independence. In the following chapter, we focus on citizens’ demand for cooperation with public administrations. Firstly, we describe some opportunities for […]