Radical Civic Transitions: Networking and Building Civic Solutions
AbstractIn this intervention, as with the Civics exhibition, we draw on a range of UK grassroots movements, broadly concerned with matters of pressing social and environmental concern, which are arguably shaping, and may shape future, civic geographies. We propose that these movements are laying the foundations for, and actively co-creating, what we call ‘radical civic transitions’. We detect much that is ‘civic’ – according to the sensibility of this Interventions theme section – at the heart of working participatively towards change, seeking to effect transitions in how local ecologies, life-worlds and communities reconnect to a wider world whose current socio-environmental trajectories are potentially so damaging. We propose that our contribution usefully inserts a more explicitly temporal dimension into civic geographies than is apparent from more ‘conservative’ versions of civics, wherein the temptation is to look back, to conserve what is, rather than to project forward in building something new. In what follows, we write with and for four different civic groups: the Network of Wellbeing, the Transition Research Network, the Ecological Land Cooperative and Transition Homes. Each group plays brokering roles, bringing alternative, radical movements and ideas into more mainstream contexts, thereby engaging with more established civic geographies, such as those enacted by local authorities and higher education institutions, in a range of complementary and contradictory ways. The tensions, insights and opportunities which arise may in turn extend to and be extended by other civic groups in other times and spaces.
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