Magazine     |    Organisation

The Power of Civic Ecosystems

The Power of Civic Ecosystems: How community spaces and their networks make our cities more cooperative, fair and resilient
Edited by Levente Polyák, Sophie Bod and Luca Sára Bródy (Eutropian – Cooperating for Urban Justice)
Design by Jorge Mosquera Suárez
Publisher: Cooperative City Books, Vienna, June 2021
Format: Paper size B5, 320 pages
ISBN 978-3-9504409-2-8
The book is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Public-civic cooperation has never been as important for European cities as today. Fading trust between public administrations and the civic society, rising authoritarianism and deteriorating services all make urban life more burdensome, especially for the most vulnerable social groups. In turn, sharing resources and responsibilities between municipalities and civil society actors has helped cities not only in generating enhanced participation in urban development issues but also in co-producing urban space and co-creating urban services. 

The Power of Civic Ecosystems: How community spaces and their networks make our cities more cooperative, fair and resilient explores methods and practices of building stronger local civic ecosystems around community spaces. The book is based on the experiences of ACTive NGOs, an URBACT network that brought together the municipalities of Riga, Brighton and Hove, Dubrovnik, Espoo, Santa Pola and Siracusa for a 3-year learning process towards creating new platforms for public-civic cooperation.

Putting these experiences in a broader context, The Power of Civic Ecosystems also collects inspiring practices from other cities, ranging from municipal policies to citizen initiatives and professional methodologies, exploring mechanisms of stakeholder mapping and ecosystem-building, frameworks to access to public and private spaces, models of economic resilience, structures of participatory governance, and processes of capacity building.

You can read a preview of the book online here.
You can download the FULL BOOK HERE.

Authors: Levente Polyak, Daniela Patti, Zinta Gugane, Laura Colini, Miguel Jaenicke, Petra Marčinko, Nga Pahn Hang, Said Aden, Maria Tiilikkala, Mª Carmen González Vives, Carlo Venegoni, Guntars Ruskuls, Inese Auzina, Aura Tarjanne, Tom Goodridge, Mārcis Rubenis, Villiams Vroblevskis, Caterina Timpinaro, Wilhelmiina Griep, Jorge Mosquera Suárez, Christian Iaione, Liisa Kulta, Nagendra Singh, Nancy Russo

Interviews with: John Reading, Donna Edmead – Brighton and Hove Council; Bernardo Gutiérrez González –  Medialab Prado; Szilvia Nagy – Local Operator’s Platform; Roger Sanchez Esteban, Guernica Facundo, Sandra Barrera Navarri – Ecos; Dea Vidović – Kultura Nova; Mārcis Rubenis – Free Riga; Matteo Parmeggiani – Mercato Sonato, Margot Deerenberg – Das Packhaus; Dorothee Halbrock, Alice Barkhausen – Hallo; Giovanni Grasso – Val di Noto Community Foundation; Sarah McCarthy – Phoenix Estate Community Association; Marci Biró, András Szépe – Gólya;  Šymon Kliman, Branislav Čavoj – Nova Cvernovka; Barbara Drath – Frieda 23; Marit Baarck, Ulrika Rinke – Peter-Weiss-Haus; Salvatore Prinzi – Ex OPG Occupato Je so’pazzo


This book is the result of years of research and many serendipitous encounters channelled into the daily work of ACTive NGOs and other connected projects. It would not have been possible to assemble this material and produce this book without the support of the URBACT programme and the open-mindedness of Irina Vasiljeva and the Riga Municipality’s Department of Education, Culture and Sports that gave us a carte blanche for this publication.

Our partners in the cities of Brighton and Hove, Dubrovnik, Espoo, Riga, Santa Pola and Syracuse were a source of constant motivation and their curiosity prompted us to dig deeper in the issues we were exploring together. The experts invited to share their experiences with the partners brought an assuring presence to our events: the inputs of Miguel Jaenicke, Christian Iaione, Daniela Patti, Liat Rogel and Simone d’Antonio inspired many initiatives within the project. This journey would have

been a much less colourful and diverse experience without the support of our friends, colleagues and interviewees who contributed to this book with their time, texts, thoughts, observations and critiques. Most importantly, this book would not exist without the diligent work of the Eutropian team: the editorial work of Sophie Bod, Luca Sára Bródy, Eleonora Rugiero and Andrea Giuliano, the design and layout of Jorge Mosquera, and the support of Daniela Patti, Bahanur Nasya, Yilmaz Vurucu, Stefano Patti, Giovanni Pagano, Clara Habte, David Schermann and Lukács Hayes are all integral components of this book.

Are you curious to learn more about ACTive NGOs and the project’s learning trajectory?
Would you like to have the printed book in your specialised local library?
Do you need help to develop a community venue or to build a stronger local civic ecosystem?
Get in touch with the Eutropian team at

More information:
Please subscribe to the Cooperative City newsletter and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube!