Several organisations are collecting and publishing local initiatives in response to the Covid-19 crisis. We are offering below the links to a number of these initiatives (section 1) and our own selection (section 2).
We are also starting a series of reflections on what these initiatives could mean for local development. In section 3, Rosalba La Grotteria and Maria Joao Filgueiras Rauch present their thoughts and summaries of local initiatives from Europe (IT, PT) and beyond (Argentina, Azerbaijan).
1. Who collects, what?
URBACT has developed a map illustrating how cities are responding to COVID-19.
FARNET is offering a rolling coverage of efforts and actions carried out by FLAGs and other bodies to support the fisheries and aquaculture sector overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Several AEIDL collaborators share their thoughts on the unprecedented crisis that we are going through, and express their vision and expectations, for better or worse, for the future.
2. An LDnet selection: Local development in the COVID-19 era
This #FridaysForFuture, discover the story of this migrants’ cooperative that has become key for food provision in #Italy during the #pandemic. Raised fist Herb #ClimateJustice through a #RightToTheCity lens: #UrbanRuralLinkages with #SocialSolidarityEconomy
Check out the 1st UrbanA Community Conversation with João Dinis, from Cascais, Portugal, who gave an insightful presentation on creating a local climate adaptation plan. It was followed by a live exercise in creating an actual plan.
COVID-19: Share your initiatives!: (03 April 2020) – Wishing to share local initiatives in the fight against coronavirus, the French government has turned to Carrefour des innovations sociales, a platform in which AEIDL participates.
Rennes – citizen factory platform and a reading corner full of publications, An online platform is now offered to residents to shared good practices to improve people’s lives during confinement. @metropolerennes #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
Which of our #Mayors are doing best during the #CoronaVirus emergency? What did they do and what can we learn from them for those that are not doing so well? Tweet your suggestions using @LDnetNews we will disseminate. @URBACT @post2020regions @EUROCITIEStweet @ICLEI @CCRECEMR
Keeping collective culture alive: Rotterdam’s virtual music https://www.rotterdamsphilharmonisch.nl/en/pQlJNt2/rpho-online?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=20mrt-rphoonline
Nantes – To support economic actors from artisans to small enterprises, Nantes is taking a range of actions including tax exemption, a single information point, and funding solutions. #COVIDnewsCities #covid19 @NantesMetropole
Distributed production comes of age with the use of 3d printing to make urgently needed respirators. Who knew that it would take the #coronavirus crisis to make 3d printing socially useful? Can we find more examples of digitally driven local development? @LDnetNews
The French people made more than 1.9 million contributions in two months and held more than 10,000 community meetings.” @pcoullomb of @OpenfieldDesign shares examples of successful participative #democracy initiatives in the Spring 2020 issue.
3. Some early reflections
The coronavirus emergency has put us in front of a series of micro and macro transformations and now that after more than a month of quarantine, what was previously “exceptional” has turned into “routine”, we are wondering about the extent of these mutations and on the role of local development initiatives. During this period, some communities have exploited the “slowdown” that we are experiencing to reflect on what is happening to us and try to lay the foundations for the world to come.
Among the areas that are undergoing the most radical transformations are communities and spaces. And it is on this level that social innovation moves today to get the answers for tomorrow. In addition, the new poverty and the dramatic economic crisis that has occurred have led to the multiplication of numerous local development initiatives. Furthermore, the local micro-communities have been rediscovered and it will be crucial to enhance the school, sports, neighbourhood communities, small producers up to those of mothers and more generally of parents and the elderly. How? Certainly by putting in place the good practices that have so far emerged spontaneously to respond to emergency needs but which may perhaps provide answers to social needs in the coming years.
In LDnet we thought of starting to collect good practices and highlight initiatives to build a common space for reflection. We also hope to move on to the discussion of local recovery plans.
Here are some initiatives:
La Portineria di Comunita- Torino (IT)
The initiative is unique in Italy. It is the ‘Community Concierge’, which in Turin goes to the free aid of families and lonely people in this period of quarantine. The ‘concierges’ offer their time to help parents who are unable to follow their children in their homework, because they are busy with work or because they think they do not have all the necessary knowledge.
For the little ones, a series of games and creative activities, but also a bedtime fairy tale service. There is also SOS technology, to help people download applications, create accounts, transfer data. There is also the possibility to chat in French, with two native speaking concierges, and to follow a small singing course. For those who cannot do without hairdressers and beauticians, there are the practical tips of a Moroccan ‘concierge’ who uses homemade ingredients to prepare creams and hair dyes.
The ‘Shop of Culture – Community Concierge’ is a project conceived by the Italian Network of Popular Culture and is part of the 15 social innovation projects supported by the City of Turin, co-financed by the European Union – European Structural Investment Funds – Metropolitan City Operational Program 2014-2020; in partnership with the Pastoral Office for Migrants and Nobody is a foreigner. The initiative was born to encourage employment and the inclusion of the weaker groups and save time for those who do not have time.
Mértola challenges young people to develop initiatives of active citizenship (PT)
The Municipality of Mertola launched an award called “I participate – without leaving home” aiming to develop initiatives of active citizenship helping to overcome the COVID-19. These initiatives shall promote solidarity and mutual support and help as well as to fight isolation and loneliness.
Another interesting initiative in Portugal was the case of the Insurance Company Aegeas that established a partnership with the respective Foundation, with the Hotels Association of Portugal and with a private company in order to produce masks to deliver to social institutions such as elderly homes. All the workers that accepted to participate have received at home a sewing kit and all together they have produced many masks to distribute.
Argentina – Buenos Aires
Caminos de la Villa is a citizen action platform that allows easy access to information related to urbanization processes in the neighbourhoods of the City of Buenos Aires and see how they are being carried out.
The Caminos de la Villa has been adapted so that residents of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods of the city can geo-reference problems related to COVID-19 and access relevant information, in addition to continuing to monitor data related to the urbanization processes of the towns of CABA. The project carried out between ACIJ and Wingu.
Azerbaijan – Baku
“The website http://www.evdeqal.az (evdeqal means stay at home) was launched jointly by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan and the United Nations Development Programme. The main purpose of the website is to educate people about the importance of not leaving home when they do not need it and to protect their own health and the health of those around them, at the same time to provide easy access to digital services to meet the daily needs of the population. As it is known, amid social isolation measures due to coronavirus, people’s demand for distance education, e-health, online stores and cinemas, online ordering of goods and services has increased several times. With this in view, the website evdeqal.az provides users with online services in the categories of “education”, “delivery”, “medicine”, “food” and “entertainment”, as well as makes available detailed information about the challenges and opportunities during the period of coronavirus epidemic.
The website also provides online learning opportunities for personal development, ways to build a digital business without leaving home, as well as online business management methods.” https://evdeqal.az/
Rosalba La Grotteria & Maria Joao Filgueiras Rauch