Fri 30 Aug 2019 10:53AM

Looking for examples of successful enabling of vital civil action

MF Maija Faehnle Public Seen by 158

Hi all! I’m making a small study on promising solutions on supporting or enabling civic action, as part of a project aiming to address the development of Finland as a ground for vital and autonomous civil society. The task is wide and I would very much appreciate suggestions and tips from you as commons experts on examples worth studying in more detail!

We are interested in a wide scale of international examples Finland could learn from, for example
- Holistic approaches such as Enspiral as a network community with co-creation tools and practices
- governmental attempts such as the Oregon Kitchen table serving as a forum for interaction between the government and local actors, including things like support for P2P lending
- platforms for organising and funding civic initiatives, for example Open collective enabling transparent crowdfunding and follow-up of the economy of the initiatives
- reported cases illustrating vitality of civic action and how it has been enabled
- any other particularly useful approaches, practices and tools related to governmental action in relation to civil society: regulation, resourcing, education, evaluation etc.

Our project is funded by the Prime Minister’s Office and our results should serve national governmental actors especially but we can make suggestions also for other actors, for example municipalities, civil society organisations and enterprises.


Josh Fairhead Fri 30 Aug 2019 11:03AM

Ive recently heard of metabolic who might be a nice network to investigate.

As an aside, the city of rajneesh is an interesting case study too - they screwed up with but it started great, worth watching wild wild country to see what goes wrong and how a race to the bottom started


Maija Faehnle Tue 3 Sep 2019 8:12AM

Heartfelt thanks to all, what a wonderful community you are here! <3 Lots of really interesting and relevant tips, sources and ways to get forward. I'll go through all this. Will definitely look at the Synergia MOOC and consider participating when it's run next time. @joshafairhead could you maybe link something about the metabolic network? Didn't find by googling. @sobeit I'll contact you. @dilgreen these developments around open credit are highly relevant as inspirational examples as in Finland there is an ongoing process about reforming the national funding system. New solutions are needed to improve the autonomy.


Josh Fairhead Fri 30 Aug 2019 11:05AM

Fundraising in crypto world is getting interesting with curved bonding emerging as a primitive for many collectives like metacartel, Moloch DAO, Aragon fundraising, panvala, and of course Giveth/Commons stack.


John Restakis Fri 30 Aug 2019 11:17AM

Hello Maija,
I was happy to receive your email and am encouraged by the description of your work.

I would like to suggest you have a look at Synergia Institut’es work on system change, in particular the course titled, Toward Co-operative Commonwealth - Transition in A Perilous Century. The program is an online course (just finished) that explores both the theoretical and practical dimensions of achieving system change in a number of strategic sectors (land & housing, food, social care, energy, finance), and includesa a curated collection of videos, articles, and case studies that cover a wide range of strategies and models, all of whoch are illustrations of system change at local, regional and, national/international levels. The course material is accessible and may be viewed/downloaded for further study and application.

As one of the founders and organizers of the course, I am certain you would find it useful in your work. We are also close coallaborators with the good folks at the P2P Foundation and Commons Transition.

Please do let me know if you have any questions, or how we might help further.

In Solidarity,

John Restakis


Jeff Regino Thu 5 Sep 2019 3:11PM

Hi John, I'm one of those who took the course but was unable to finish. Would it be possible to keep the course open forever?

Many online courses do this. Thanks!


John Restakis Fri 30 Aug 2019 11:19AM

To get further info on how to access the course material, please contact: mikeg@athabascau.ca


Sophie Jerram Fri 30 Aug 2019 11:23AM

HI Maija - greetings ! In haste - there's a big movement toward 'co-city' practice in Italy (and elsewhere but often driven from Italy) - see https://labgov.city/co-city-protocol/


Graham Fri 30 Aug 2019 12:30PM

Hi. You are probably already there with this one, but just in case, the Fearless Cities book (http://fearlesscities.com/en/book), and more broadly a lot of the work that's been happening in Barcelona and other places mentioned in the book, is worth looking at.


Graham Fri 30 Aug 2019 12:33PM

Also the whole community wealth building agenda, which seems to be gaining real ground here in the UK, building on the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, seems highly relevant. See https://democracycollaborative.org for more on that.


Graham Fri 30 Aug 2019 12:35PM

And of course @John Restakis piece on the Cooperative Commonwealth and the Partner State seems highly relevant: https://thenextsystem.org/cooperative-commonwealth-partner-state


mike_hales Fri 30 Aug 2019 4:45PM

Hi @Maija Faehnle no links to give you - others can do this better - but just wishing you great success with ‘vital and autonomous civil society’ in Finland. Yes, Fearless Cities @Graham is great. Yes, the Synergia MOOC @John Restakis is great - next time they run it, you and colleagues should consider participating - but be aware, it does require a LOT of attention and some filters in the first couple of weeks, until the forums settle down a bit.

Something you may be less aware of is the ecocities work of Chris Ryan and colleagues based in Melbourne. Finland is very different from Oz (urban vs rural mix?) so this might spin in an interesting way in Finland?

Goodness me, what a lot of blokes! 😉 Where are the women? How about here. Warm regards.


Andy Sat 31 Aug 2019 11:14AM

Hey @Maija! Really interesting project. I'm actually in Helsinki and work at the software company Vincit as a designer on our new Planet-Centric offer. Would be really interested to meet up and see if there could be a collaboration. My Vincit email is andrew.matias@vincit.fi if you'd like to connect.


Phil Green Sat 31 Aug 2019 2:47PM

Hi @Maija. Wondered if you're aware of Participatory City and their local/current project Every One Every Day, and if relevant? Might also be some links you'd be interested in via a couple of wiki pages on CASwiki: Community involvement & Urban sustainability

Best wishes


dilgreen Sun 1 Sep 2019 7:52AM

I can't see how autonomy is achievable in any context without economy - taking economy to mean organisation and allocation of resources of all kinds.
In a developed capitalist state, economy has mostly been removed from the sphere of civic action - one of the characteristics of capitalism, of course, is separating people from the means of production.
Thus for me, any civil action initiative which does not have well-developed economic mechanisms is unlikely to have much autonomy (practically, this means they will depend upon grant funding or crowdfunding, or try to get by without funds).
Open Credit Network is starting out to build a UK wide Mutual Credit economic platform - where value exchange can take place without fiat money (or blockchain :relieved: ).
At a wider scale, the Credit Commons whitepaper describes how such networks can be federated together), and the Credit Commons Org is building the technical underpinnings for such federation.


Sophie Jerram Wed 4 Sep 2019 8:05AM

In Wellington our Vogelmorn Community is working as an ongoing experience of commoning and community - in conjunction with, but not dependent on, local government


Danyl Strype Thu 9 Apr 2020 10:15AM

Hi @Maija Faehnle , sorry for the slow reply, but I can recommend a couple of resources:

  • Tazia Gaisford's Masters thesis, ' An Alternative to Development Framework: A Study of Permaculture and Anarchism in Global Justice Movements in New Zealand': http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/handle/10063/9/browse?type=author&value=Gaisford%2C+Tazia

  • Emma McGuirk's journal paper , 'Timebanking in New Zealand as a prefigurative strategy within a wider degrowth movement': https://doi.org/10.2458/v24i1.20897

If you contact Emma, I'm sure she would be happy to send you a .PDF copy of her PhD thesis, ' Timebanking in New Zealand: Academic and Activist Discussions of its Challenges and Pleasures': https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/time-banking-nz/