Creative Communities

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From a paper by Ezio Manzini:

"Observing society as a whole and in all its contradictoriness, we can see that alongside numerous worrying tendencies, signals are also emerging that indicate different and far more promising developments. Signals, still weak, but all the same stating clearly that another way of being and doing is possible.

For instance: groups of people who re-organise the way they live their home (as in the co-housing movement) and their neighbourhood (bringing it to life, creating the conditions for children to go to school on foot; fostering mobility on foot or by bike). Communities that set up new participatory social services for the elderly and for parents (such as the young and the elderly living together or micro-nurseries set up and managed by enterprising mothers) and that set up new food networks fostering producers of organic items, and the quality and typical characteristics of their products (as in the experience of Slow Food movement or in the ones of the solidarity purchasing groups and fair trade organisations)

The list of examples could continue showing their variety, but also their common denominators . In fact, considered as a whole, these promising cases tell us that, already today, it is possible to do things differently and consider one’s own work, one’s own time and one’s own system of social relationships in a different light. They show that there are people who are able to act outside the dominant thought and behaviour pattern and organise themselves, and cooperate with others, to achieve concrete, positive results.

We will refer to them with the expression creative communities: groups of innovative citizens organising themselves to solve a problem or to open a new possibility, and doing so as a positive step in the social learning process towards social and environmental sustainability." (


See examples of promising cases in the SEP/EMUDE repository:

EMUDE - Emerging user demands for sustainable solutions: social innovation as a driver for technological and system innovation 2004-2006 (NMP2-CT-2004-505345) EMUDE seeks to shed more light on cases where subjects and communities use existing resources in an original way to bring about system innovation. From here, it intends to pinpoint the demand for products, services and solutions that such cases and communities express and point to research lines that could lead to improved efficiency, accessibility and diffusion. Actions: a) identify cases of social innovation geared towards sustainability; b) evaluate, select and bring the most promising cases to light; c) clarify the demand for products, services and solutions they give rise to; d) visualise, communicate and disseminate these cases and their possible implications by mean of technological trends, scenarios and roadmaps. (End date: 2006-03-31 Duration: 24 months. Instrument: Specific Support Action).

More Information

  1. Cosmopolitan Localism