compendium   for the                                                                                                      ...
a museumturned socialenterprise
compendium forthe civic economya   production
Published by:00:/81 Leonard streetEC2A 4QSLondon+44 (0)20 7739 2230info@research00.netwww.research00.netIn association wit...
contents03            Preface by NESTA and Design Council CABE05            Foreword by the Prime Minister              In...
a civic economy is emerging,one which is fundamentallyboth open and social.its an economy which isfusing the culture of we...
Publication PartnersNESTA                                 CABE                                      00:/...is the UK’s for...
preface by nesta anddesign council cabeWe are in the midst of a difficult period of transition. Inthe wake of the global f...
4
foreword bythe prime ministerThe idea at the heart of the Big Society is a very simpleone: that real change can’t come fro...
introduction
introduction                 1 - We are indebted to the work of Robin Murray, and his wider than usual               defin...
introducingthe civic economyA new way of doing is starting                                  market and the state. Founded ...
introduction                 2 - Of the many authors one could connect with this, we would highlight               (with r...
The civic economy and its role todayThe civic economy has been part of the UK’s economic          • A widespread trend amo...
introduction                 4 - Conisbee, M et al. (2005) ‘Clone Town Britain: The Loss of Local Identity on             ...
The civic economy and                                        The task at hand: civic entrepreneursplaces in the UK        ...
case studies
arcola theatre • an open house for new ideasA lesson in renewable energy technologies at the Arcola Theatre
#01arcola theatrean open house for new ideaslondon, united Kingdom‘I was so excited when I found the Arcola, anddiscovered...
arcola theatre • an open house for new ideasembedding atheatre in theneighbourhood2000                                  20...
the storyActing and environmental engineer-                           free rein to use the theatre as testing ground and d...
arcola theatre • an open house for new ideasimpactBeyond becoming a substantial cultural institution with a plethora ofdiv...
in conclusionHow can local cultural institutions reachoutside the walls of their premises andconstraints of their traditio...
baisiKeli • an ethical bike salvage shopBaisikeli founders Henrik Mortensen and Niels Bonefeld sort dumped bicycles
#02baisikelian ethical biKe salvage shopcopenhagen, denmark‘Baisikeli helps increase the mobility of both theDanish IKEA’s...
baisiKeli • an ethical biKe salvage shopbuilding a self-sustainingventure to create wealthfrom waste                      ...
the storyIn the heart of Copenhagen’s                                 and skills in fields such as bike mechanics, logisti...
baisiKeli • an ethical biKe salvage shopimpactBy the end of 2010, more than 2,200 bikes had been shipped to SierraLeone an...
in conclusionHow do we discover new shared wealth inthe very diverse types of waste we produce?Whilst the UK’s improved re...
briXton village • a sociable market re-startBottom right: Mapping local ventures to help build Brixton Village. Other imag...
#03briXton villagea sociable market re-startlondon, united Kingdom‘All along we’ve had this asset-based approach whichsaid...
brixton village • a sociable market re-startcatalysing a newapproach to towncentre enterprise2008                         ...
the storyAn alternative approach to retail                              projects. After a month of minimal refurbishment w...
brixton village • a sociable market re-startimpactA year into the project, all 20 units are still occupied, seven of them ...
in conclusionHow do we open up fertile ground for smallentrepreneurial ventures in our town centres?Where traditional rege...
bromley by bow centre • a platform for neighbourhood well-beingTop: Entrance to the Health Centre. Bottom left: Summer fay...
#04bromley by bowcentrea platform for neighbourhood well-beinglondon, united Kingdom‘Our business model is perhaps a bit u...
bromley by bow centre • a platform for neighbourhood well-being building a holistic place for health, skills, jobs and new...
the storyCreating a culture that encourages                             team around him who helped to drive further growth...
bromley by bow centre • a platform for neighbourhood well-beingimpactThe Bromley by Bow Centre is widely recognised as an ...
in conclusionHow do we move from a public service modelthat focuses on providing for peoples’ needs toone that embraces th...
brooklyn superhero supply co. • a tutoring centre on the high streetShop front of the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. featur...
#05brooklynsuperherosupply co.a tutoring centre on the high streetnew york, united states‘We may operate behind a store th...
brooklyn superhero supply co. • a tutoring centre on the high streetlowering thethresholds to learningand volunteering    ...
the storyThe Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.                             connect the tutoring centre with the community: its...
brooklyn superhero supply co. • a tutoring centre on the high streetimpactThere are currently eight 826 chapters in cities...
in conclusionThe Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. showshow a magic intervention can cut rightacross formal land-use restricti...
fab lab manchester • a 21 century manufacturing workshop                                                        stEddie Ki...
#06fab labmanchester    sta 21 century manufacturing workshopmanchester, united Kingdom‘The main aim is for people to have...
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  1. 1. compendium for the a VERTICALLY integrated timber DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION civic practice economy What the Big Society should learn AN EDIBLE PUBLIC REALM from 25 trailblazers a home for a 21st century civic start-ups manufacturingan ethical bike workshopsalvage shop a SELF- COMMISSIONED a tutoring NEIGHBOURHOOD centre on the high street A SOCIAL- VENTURE SUPERMARKET a crowd- sourced public event a ZERO CARBON an online THEATRE platform for ride-sharing A MEANWHILE a production STUDIO FOR RE- USE DESIGNERS
  2. 2. a museumturned socialenterprise
  3. 3. compendium forthe civic economya production
  4. 4. Published by:00:/81 Leonard streetEC2A 4QSLondon+44 (0)20 7739 2230info@research00.netwww.research00.netIn association with NESTA & Design Council CABEISBN 978-0-9568210-0-3For more information about this book, please visit:www.civiceconomy.net (hosted by 00:/)or contact:hello@civiceconomy.netFirst edition May 2011Printed and bound by Calverts Co-operativePrinted on FSC Recycled Paper Revive 100 Uncoated PaperTypeface design:Body typeface: Caecilia LT StdTitle typeface: AW Conqueror InlineOther: Myriad Pro
  5. 5. contents03 Preface by NESTA and Design Council CABE05 Foreword by the Prime Minister Introduction08-13 Introducing the civic economy Case Studies Conclusion16-21 #01 Arcola Theatre 168-171 Lessons learned22-27 #02 Baisikeli 172-173 A Recognising the protagonists28-33 #03 Brixton Village 174-175 B Participation beyond consultation34-39 #04 Bromley by Bow Centre 176-177 C Financial co-investment40-45 #05 Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. 178-179 D Re-using existing assets46-51 #06 Fab Lab Manchester 180-181 E The experience of place52-57 #07 Fintry Development Trust 182-183 F An open-ended approach58-63 #08 The George and Dragon 184-185 G Generating change through networks64-69 #09 Household Energy Services 186-187 H Recognising where value lies70-75 #10 The Hub Islington 189 Building a civic economy future76-81 #11 Hørsholm Waste-to-Energy82-87 #12 Incredible Edible Todmorden 192-193 Photographs88-93 #13 Jayride 194 The 00:/ project team94-99 #14 Livity 195 Acknowledgements100-105 #15 Museum of East Anglian Life106-111 #16 Neil Sutherland Architects112-117 #17 Nottingham University Hospitals118-123 #18 Olinda Psychiatric Hospital124-129 #19 One Love City130-135 #20 The Peoples Supermarket136-141 #21 Rutland Telecom142-147 #22 Southwark Circle148-153 #23 Studio Hergebruik154-159 #24 TCHO160-165 #25 Tübingen User-led Housing
  6. 6. a civic economy is emerging,one which is fundamentallyboth open and social.its an economy which isfusing the culture of web 2.0with civic purpose. Compendium for the Civic Economy | 1
  7. 7. Publication PartnersNESTA CABE 00:/...is the UK’s foremost independ- ...as CABE and the Design Council ...is a London based strategy &ent expert on how innovation can come together, were well placed to design practice. We are drivensolve some of the country’s major give a strong voice to architecture by an aspiration to create genu-economic and social challenges. Our and design. Uniting two world-class inely sustainable places foundedwork is enabled by an endowment, centres of design excellence, our on evidenced social, economic, andfunded by the National Lottery, merger reflects the widening role environmental principles. Our workand we operate at no cost to the and influence of design. Together, as focuses both on physical architec-government or taxpayer. a leaner, more focused enterpris- ture and on the emergent institu- ing charity incorporated by Royal tions that can underpin and animate Charter, were determined to put a successful built environment for design at the heart of Britains social the 21st Century, whether at the and economic renewal. We receive scale of a workspace, a neighbour- grants from BIS and DCLG, and also hood or a city region. receive funding from a variety of other sources.1 Plough Place 34 Bow Street 81 Leonard StreetLondon London LondonEC4A 1DE WC2E 7DL EC2A 4QSresearch@nesta.org.uk cabe@designcouncil.org.uk info@research00.netwww.nesta.org.uk www.designcouncil.org.uk www.research00.net
  8. 8. preface by nesta anddesign council cabeWe are in the midst of a difficult period of transition. Inthe wake of the global financial crisis, and as we becomemore acutely aware of the scarcity of environmentalresources and the rising pressures of complex social is-sues, we need to find a more sustainable way to organiseand grow our economy.We commissioned this book because we knew therewould be a lot to learn from the myriad of innova-tions that are already showing us how. The examplespresented here are characteristic of what we call the‘civic economy’ – combining the spirit of entrepreneur-ship with the aspiration of civic renewal. This is alreadya vibrant movement, with new ventures, networks andbehaviours changing the appearance and economies ofplaces across the UK.From local food growing projects to sustainablesupermarkets, community waste-to-energy plants to co-operative telecoms services, these initiatives are havinga tangible impact on social interactions and economicopportunities in cities, villages and towns. They areeven influencing the physical shape and appearance ofthese places, changing the way they are designed, builtand used.But in order to strengthen and grow a new civiceconomy, we need to know how it works. This is evenmore critical now as the Government extols the virtuesof the Big Society and the potential for more locally-ledinnovation to address social issues. This book holdslessons for government, business, local authorities andcommunities in how to help these sorts of enterprises togrow and spread.This book is an important and timely contribution to thedebate which both NESTA and CABE – with its new homeat the Design Council – are taking forward.We welcome your comments and views. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Preface | 3
  9. 9. 4
  10. 10. foreword bythe prime ministerThe idea at the heart of the Big Society is a very simpleone: that real change can’t come from government alone.We’re only going to make life better for everyone in thiscountry if everyone plays their part – if change in oureconomy and our society is driven from the bottom up.Some people have been dismissive about this. They haveclaimed that there’s no appetite for this change and thatit’s all too impractical. The great thing about this book isthat it shows the type of entrepreneurship that generatescivic action and the Big Society, and what it can achieve.It demonstrates that there is public appetite for morecivic action. The examples in these pages show people’sreal yearning to make a difference and feel moreconnected to their neighbourhoods. Whether it’s the resi-dents of Todmorden coming together to plant fruit treesor the crowds that flock to Brixton Market, it’s clear thatwhen the opportunity is there to volunteer or to supportlocal enterprises, people grab it.And this book blows apart the myth that civic action isimpractical; something that might make people feel goodbut doesn’t make a difference. The inspiring examples inthese pages have achieved everything from supportinglocal farmers to reducing carbon emissions to helpingeducate children from disadvantaged backgrounds.These are real, tangible benefits – and they show justwhat a powerful difference can be made when peoplecome together to make life better.I welcome this book and congratulate all the socialpioneers in its pages who have done their bit to improvethe places we live in and the lives we lead. Keep up thegood work.The Rt Hon David Cameron MP Compendium for the Civic Economy | Foreword | 5
  11. 11. introduction
  12. 12. introduction 1 - We are indebted to the work of Robin Murray, and his wider than usual definition of the social economy is akin to what we call the civic economy. The central point here is that the civic economy is not the exclusive domain of any particular sector of the economy; instead, it bridges across the public, private and organised third sector as well as including the public at large; Murray, R. (2009) ‘Danger and Opportunity – Crisis and the New Social Economy.’ London: Young Foundation & NESTA.8
  13. 13. introducingthe civic economyA new way of doing is starting market and the state. Founded upon social values and goals, and using deeply collaborative approaches to devel-to change places, communities opment, production, knowledge sharing and financing, theand enterprise across Britain and civic economy generates goods, services and common in- frastructures in ways that neither the state nor the marketbeyond. In the aftermath of the economy alone have been able to accomplish. [1]financial crisis and against thecontext of deep environmental and With this book we aim to achieve three things:social change, a collective reflec- • Show that the civic economy is already a real, vital andtion is taking place on how to build growing part of our places, which actively contributes to community resilience, everyday innovation and sharedmore sustainable routes to shared prosperity.prosperity. But in the meantime, anincreasing number and great diver- • Outline in practical terms how different leaders in locali- ties – that is, all those working together to improve placessity of change-makers are already and their economies, whether in the public, private or thirdgetting on with the job of re-making sector – can create the fertile ground for the civic economy to flourish and grow.local economies and places. Thoughlocally driven, their initiatives are • Demonstrate that the potential of the civic economy todeeply rooted in global social, cul- regenerate places and improve people’s lives means that lo- calities need to get better at recognising the role of diversetural and technological trends that civic entrepreneurs and at understanding what enablesoriginated well before the recent them to create change in a wide range of contexts.economic shocks.As the political debate continues about the role and poten-tial of the Big Society and StartUp Britain, this book bringstogether a wide range of inspiring examples that begin toillustrate what places built upon a different economy mightlook like: edible public spaces, crowd-funded workspacesfor social entrepreneurs, peer-to-peer car sharing websites,and town centre markets revitalised by a fresh approach toigniting good ideas. The list is growing – and its potentialis huge. This is a trend that goes beyond traditional dividesbetween the public, private and third sectors; an attitudethat questions all aspects of supply chains and makesthem more equitable; an approach that enables citizens tobe co-producers and investors instead of just consumers;and an opportunity to unlock and share the resources wehave more effectively. This is the civic economy.We define the civic economy as comprising people,ventures and behaviours that fuse innovative ways of doingfrom the traditionally distinct spheres of civil society, the Compendium for the Civic Economy | Introduction | 9
  14. 14. introduction 2 - Of the many authors one could connect with this, we would highlight (with regards to the broader economic and cultural shifts): Murray, R., Caulier- Grice, J. and Mulgan, G. (2009) ‘Social Venturing.’ London: NESTA; Leadbeater, C. (2008) ‘We-Think.’ London: Profile Books; Shirkey. C (2008) ‘Here Comes Every- body: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.’ London: Penguin Books; Tapscott, D. and & Williams, A.D (2006). ‘Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.’ London: Portfolio; and (with regards to policy-making) Goldsmith, S. (2010) ‘The Power of Social Innovation.’ San Francisco: Jossey Bass; RSA (2010) ‘From Social Security to Social Productivity: A Vision for 2020 Public Services – The final report of the Commission on 2020 Public Services.’ London: Royal Society for the Arts, Commerce and Manufacturing; and (with regards to place-making) Markusen, A. and Gadwa, A. (2010) ‘Creative Placemaking.’ Wash- ington: National Endowment for the Arts; Barrie, D. ‘Open Source Place-Making: A Collective Approach to the Development of Cities in an Age of Big Society, Digital Media and Social Enterprise.’ (http://www.scribd.com/doc/41008414/ Open-Source-Place-making). 3 - See for example the Local Growth White Paper: HM Government (2010) ‘Local Growth: Realising Every Place’s Potential.’ London: The Stationery Office. For a wider argument see for example, Sen, A. (1999) ‘Development as Freedom.’ Oxford, Oxford University Press.10
  15. 15. The civic economy and its role todayThe civic economy has been part of the UK’s economic • A widespread trend amongst the public at large to belandscape for a long time – from the Co-operative Move- directly involved in the (co-)creation of cultural and otherment to the Mutual and Friendly Societies, and from the products either in digital or physical spaces – through theMechanics’ Institutes to housing associations. In the 19th established third sector or, just as often, in new ad-hoccentury, it was a powerful force for good during the rapid groups or networks.changes of the Industrial Revolution, creating independ-ent institutions and coalitions that improved people’s The global financial crisis and its aftermath put the civiclives and made places more resilient. economy and its potential further in the spotlight, as deep vulnerabilities in the UK’s economic model as wellMore than a century later, the civic economy is yet in the social fabric of its places were exposed. This crisisagain in focus. Since the 1990s at least, the outlines of a prompts us to think anew about how to create a moreprofound economic and cultural shift have been visible, balanced economy that generates sustainable prosper-and chronicled by a wide range of observers. [2] ity and life chances for all. [3] Equally, the impact of the recession on public finances has prompted deeper ques-There are two fundamental drivers of this shift: firstly, a tions about how public services can be sustained andgrowing recognition that we need a different economic improved in the face of public spending constraints.development model that enables genuine progress inaddressing shared economic, social and environmentalchallenges; and, secondly, a fundamental transformationin how people and organisations can communicate andcollaborate.Hence we see an increasing overlap between tradition-ally distinct domains in the economy:• A reforming state and public services, where the co-production of public goods and services between usersand providers is becoming an established principle.• An increasing number of values-driven private sectorcompanies moving beyond traditional corporate socialresponsibility (CSR) to put social opportunities andecological concerns at the core of operations, alongside aproliferation of hybrid business models that build on andbend traditional ownership structures.• An increasing recognition that innovative workingpractices in and between organisations – based on theuse of new social network technologies, collaborationtools and creative approaches to self-organisation, andtapping into both global and local connections – cancreate better outcomes. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Introduction | 11
  16. 16. introduction 4 - Conisbee, M et al. (2005) ‘Clone Town Britain: The Loss of Local Identity on the Nations High Streets.’ London: New Economics Foundation; Dermot Finch: ‘Time for a new Urban Task Force’ (HYPERLINK "http://centreforcities.typepad. com/centre_for_cities/2010/03/time-for-a-new-urban-task-force.html"http:// centreforcities.typepad.com/centre_for_cities/2010/03/time-for-a-new-urban- task-force.html); and the members of the 1999 commission that originated the very term ‘urban renaissance’ gave a critique on urban regeneration practice spurred by their original work in Urban Task Force (2005) ‘Towards a Strong Urban Renaissance.’ London: Urban Task Force. 5 - 00:/ has been involved with two of these projects: The Hub Islington (case study 10) and the Bristol Urban Beach (mentioned as an ‘other example’ under One Love City, case study 19).12
  17. 17. The civic economy and The task at hand: civic entrepreneursplaces in the UK and fertile groundThe civic economy has the potential to transform We argue that all those working to improve localitieshow places are shaped. This is particularly important across the UK can be, and need to be, civic entrepre-now that much of the regeneration and place-shaping neurs. All of us need to play an active role in facilitatingpractices of the past decade or so – often referred to as the emergence of the type of ventures presented here,the ‘urban renaissance’ – have run out of steam. Not only whether they originate from within or outside estab-has the property boom fizzled out, but more fundamen- lished organisations. In practice, this means that thosetal doubts have been raised about some of the key tenets in leadership positions in policy-making, planning andof that urban renaissance. Whilst few would question in finance need to relate actively to the emerging civicprinciple the benefits of a better public realm, invest- economy, and recognise their respective roles in enablingment in better-quality public buildings and higher design it to develop, connect and flourish. We call this ‘fertilestandards for homes and workplaces, in practice many ground’: creating the conditions for this new economyproblems remain unsolved. to grow.Not all regeneration projects have genuinely looked Therefore, we urge all those working to improve places –beyond bricks and mortar; many localities rely heavily whether as individuals or neighbourhood groups, as localon public sector expenditure; town centres are overly authorities or developers, as business owners or as inves-dependent on the consuming (and debt-laden) public; tors – to reflect on how the examples in this book couldthe public are sceptical about their ability to actually be relevant in local areas – and to recognise the wealthinfluence area change; and risk-averse, routine-driven and potential of what is already going on.approaches to regeneration have resulted in a creep-ing homogenisation of places. As the New Economics This book: a reading guideFoundation aptly summarised, those places left behindby the boom have become ghost towns; but at the same This book makes visible the potential of this civictime large-scale new developments and the gradual ero- economy to affect the places, economies and human in-sion of local character have all too often created clone teractions of our everyday lives: what this civic economytowns. [4] looks like in all its diversity, how these initiatives can grow, and what makes them possible. It shows the wideAs the impact of the recession and its aftermath con- range of protagonists driving new ventures, analysestinues to affect places across the UK, choices need to be their different characteristics and draws out lessons ofmade about how localities can best support a genuine how to strengthen this potential.recovery, particularly in the context of scarce resources.The growing civic economy is integral to this – which is We present 25 case studies – the story of their develop-why developers, landowners, architects, local authorities ment, and the lessons they contain for planning andand all others collaborating to improve places should pay policy. [5]attention and learn from the examples presented in thisbook. We distil some critical ingredients to show how each venture has been made to work, which can serve as inspiration for others. Moreover, the case studies are not just stand-alone examples; we also draw together similar stories that share this success. In a concluding chapter, we show how different actors in localities can create the fertile ground we need to grow the civic economy through a range of practical recommendations. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Introduction | 13
  18. 18. case studies
  19. 19. arcola theatre • an open house for new ideasA lesson in renewable energy technologies at the Arcola Theatre
  20. 20. #01arcola theatrean open house for new ideaslondon, united Kingdom‘I was so excited when I found the Arcola, anddiscovered they were looking for volunteers. I hadjust moved to Hackney, and I really wanted to getinvolved in the local community – to make the BigSmoke feel a little smaller! So volunteering there wasa great way of meeting friendly locals and gettingto see some amazing free theatre. It’s a real hiddengem, well-loved by locals and a favourite amongstthe acting community too – I served a drink to AlanRickman once!’Anna Levy, former volunteer at Arcola 60% audience from local 1,000 volunteers 38% reduction boroughs of hackney helped arcola in carbon & islington theatre move footprint to its new site per employee in 2009 Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #01 | 17
  21. 21. arcola theatre • an open house for new ideasembedding atheatre in theneighbourhood2000 2003 2007 2008 2011The Arcola the UKs first aRCOLA ENERGY The arcola first ARCOLA The ArcolaTheatre is black drama IS ESTABLISHED Istanbul is production loses itsfounded in school is set set up in an using LED light premises anDa former up in Arcola old car and hydrogen moves tofactory factory fuel cells Ashwin Street arcola energy Volunteers from a bank help to build new walls Turkish-language production powered solely by renewables Eco-cafe where Sustainability volunteers for Schools Half-term childrens and locals workshop outdoor activities at hang out the Dalston Gardens co-created by ArcolaArcola Capoeira Smart meters Green Sunday Youth group Sustainable Toilets made Young people getstreet dance show energy debate with NEw brainstorming energy with recycled training in technicalworkshop for usage and cost economics Creative Policy in technology loos and sinks and event planninglocal schools savings Foundation and the Bloomberg incubator & shop skills as part of film viewing Arts lab Arcolas Creative Industries Network
  22. 22. the storyActing and environmental engineer- free rein to use the theatre as testing ground and demon- stration platform. The result was Arcola Energy, whiching might seem an odd mix. But for drives sustainability within the arts by providing advicethe Arcola Theatre in Dalston, it has and inspiration to other theatres, as well as becoming a commercial provider of sustainable energy solutions. Inproven a successful recipe for up- 2008, the theatre featured its first production poweredskilling young people, working with by hydrogen fuel cells and lit by LED lamps, cutting itsmigrant groups, creating a resilient standard energy consumption by 60%.community asset and increasing Thus the organisation now consists of three mutuallyeco-awareness in a highly diverse interdependent parts: the theatre, the charity that runs community and training programmes, and the energypart of the London Borough of company – with strong linkages that enable learningHackney. and co-development. Diversification into these different funding streams has also increased Arcola’s resilienceWhen the Arcola Theatre opened in a former textile in the long term; although the theatre over time has ob-factory in 2000, its founders, Turkish migrants Mehmet tained funding from organisations like the Arts Council,Ergen and Leyla Nazli, were determined to make it a no single source makes up more than 15% of its revenue.place that was open for local initiatives. Realising thetremendous diversity of the area – over 100 languages Its collaborative and innovative attitude has had otherare spoken in the vicinity of the Arcola Theatre – their benefits: the Arcola has for example built strong relation-ethos was to combine a welcoming attitude to com- ships with Hackney Council, which has recognised themunity-driven projects with theatrical innovation and theatre’s role in driving local sustainability initiatives.experimentation. The theatre was soon hosting a variety When, in 2010, the former factory was to be turned intoof productions set up by local groups, including young luxury flats, the council took a proactive role in brokeringpeople, older residents, refugees and a host of ethnic and a deal to find the theatre a new home.religious minority groups. As a consequence, 60% of itsaudiences are from the local boroughs of Hackney and In 2011, the new Arcola Theatre opened up in the Colour-Islington. works Factory, less than half a mile from its original site. The move took only a couple of months and was carriedArcola was created on a shoestring – the founders pri- out with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers. Havingmarily used their own credit cards and personal savings moved to a larger site, the Arcola is now able to grow,– and the theatre has continued to run on minimal funds offering bigger theatre productions as well as increas-even as productions have scaled up. Every Tuesday it ing its portfolio of partnerships and projects. It hasoffers a number of ‘pay what you can’ tickets, as a way of already set up a sustainable energy incubator that willmaking theatre more accessible to the local residents. To include elements of R&D as well as genuine small-scaleenable this approach, the Arcola has cultivated a network manufacturing.of volunteers, more than a hundred of whom regularlycontribute their time and energy in a wide variety ofcapacities.In 2005 one of them made a bold suggestion. Ben Todd,an engineer, suggested that the Arcola could add envi-ronmental sustainability to its social agenda and becomethe first carbon-neutral theatre in the UK. In accordancewith the organisation’s ethos, Nazli and Ergen gave Todd Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #01 | 19
  23. 23. arcola theatre • an open house for new ideasimpactBeyond becoming a substantial cultural institution with a plethora ofdiverse and often high-end productions to its name and a hefty portfolioof community and social programmes, the Arcola has become a host andfacilitator for a diverse array of local projects and enterprises. These rangefrom a nearby community garden and the UK’s first black drama school toan online energy store and the Greening Theatres initiative. In 2008 it setup a sister theatre in a former car factory in Istanbul, Turkey.Key lessons recognising the the experience an open-ended protagonists of place approachSpace for local ideas Making sustainability A community-focused tangible hybrid ventureFrom the beginning, the ArcolaTheatre has had a distinct ethos of The Arcola had an opportunity From the start, the Arcola foundersallowing anyone with a good idea to to test the full reach of its have taken an enterprisingtry to kick-start their project within sustainability agenda when it approach to the idea of a theatrethe space. The theatre both takes a moved to its new location. The as a local institution. By rethinkinghands-off approach, allowing bud- refurbishment of the building the theatre building as not only ading entrepreneurs to experiment was an ideal pilot for pushing space for cultural production butand lead projects themselves, as innovation as well as for expressing also a platform open to engaging inwell as giving hands-on support for the organisation’s ethos, for a wider range of innovative projects,groups and individuals to imple- example, by using only a limited and by mixing income streams, theyment their ideas. For instance, amount of new material resources. have created a space that is notinstead of being ‘directed’ by a With the help of a wide range of only socially and environmentallyprogramme leader, the Arcola Youth volunteers and experts, existing sustainable but also financiallyTheatre group is encouraged to materials were re-used, including sustainable. Arcola has also showedwrite its own artistic policy and set walls, doors and scrap metal. Even openness to hybridising evenup its own productions. the toilets and sinks were recycled. further, responding to local people’s Making both the ‘do it yourself’ suggestions and projects, thereby approach and the energy savings creating a truly inclusive and (e.g. through smart meters) evident participative space. in the very fabric of the place is crucial to conveying the values of the organisation and its ambition not just to be a sustainable theatre but also, through Arcola Energy, to drive change across the cultural sector.20
  24. 24. in conclusionHow can local cultural institutions reachoutside the walls of their premises andconstraints of their traditional functions?By inclusive programming and outreach, andalso by inviting entrepreneurial outsidersto be part of an open-ended approach. Thismay see these institutions become hybridorganisations based on the ideas, energy anddrive of local people and local opportunities.other eXamplesThe Watershed, Bristol, UK, 1982 junk4funk, Nottingham, UK, 2007  FARO (Fábrica de Artes y Oficios) de...is an arts venue and platform that has ...is a company that produces recycled music Oriente, Mexico City, Mexico, 2000focused on improving the night-time culture instruments from everyday household ... is a cultural centre in one of the city’s poor-of the city’s harbour front; in the iShed it has waste, and offers music and sustainability est and most violent areas; it engages localcreated an incubator to enable and support workshops for schools, festivals and council people in co-organising the security aroundinnovation and collaboration between events. local events, reducing the need for policecomputing, communications and the crea- involvement and creating a gang-free zone.tive industries. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #01 | 21
  25. 25. baisiKeli • an ethical bike salvage shopBaisikeli founders Henrik Mortensen and Niels Bonefeld sort dumped bicycles
  26. 26. #02baisikelian ethical biKe salvage shopcopenhagen, denmark‘Baisikeli helps increase the mobility of both theDanish IKEA’s co-workers and its customers, as wellas African farmers, while also freeing the streetsfrom dumped bikes and reducing CO2 emissions.What’s not to like?’Jonas Engberg, IKEA Division of Sustainability 400,000 bicycles dumped in 2,200 bicycles sent to £0 charitable denmarK every year africa since 2007 funding Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #02 | 23
  27. 27. baisiKeli • an ethical biKe salvage shopbuilding a self-sustainingventure to create wealthfrom waste hq in copenhagen functions as warehouse, workshop, rentals , offices and Shop repaired & sold BIKES rescued shipped denmark BIKES custom built rental income shipped after 3 years POTENTIAL FUTURE EXPORT WORKSHOPS STAFFED BY LOCALS AND PRODUCING BICYCLES TO MEET LOCAL DEMAND sierra micro -finance leone scheme set up to allow LOCAL PEOPLE TO ACQUIRE BIKES tanzania MAKING SELLING re-maKING SKILLS-SHARING new LOCAL bikes sold locally skills used to adapt baisikeli staff share bicycle industry using micro- finance DANISH bikes to local skills & knowledge sparked scheme needs
  28. 28. the storyIn the heart of Copenhagen’s and skills in fields such as bike mechanics, logistics and administration. This is a continuous process, as allshopping district is one very Baisikeli’s Danish employees spend some months everydifferent venture: Baisikeli is a year working from Africa and exchange skills with their African colleagues. The goal is to develop a bicycle exportbicycle salvage workshop, an industry in Africa.ethical bike rental companyand a remarkable international To enable this, Baisikeli has started to produce custom- made bikes in Denmark, thereby developing thedevelopment initiative based on technical skills needed to start a bicycle industry fromresource sharing, skills transfer and scratch - as it plans to do in Tanzania and Mozambique from 2011. The custom-made bicycles are then leased outmicro-loans. to companies such as IKEA Denmark, and at the end of the lease (usually three years), the bicycles will be sentBaisikeli started in 2003, when cousins Niels Bonefeld to Africa where local technicians will re-build them intoand Henrik Mortensen decided to connect Tanzania’s three-wheeler hospital bikes.urgent need for cheap transport with Denmark’s grow-ing mountain of discarded bikes. The idea was simple:Baisikeli would collect some of the 400,000 bicyclesscrapped in Denmark every year and send them toTanzania, where they would be repaired and sold at localmarket prices.Although bureaucratic hurdles blocked the cousins’initial plan to collect bicycles from police lost propertyoffices, they discovered that insurance companies werehappy to be relieved of the burden of disposing thosebicycles that were left unclaimed after having beenstolen and retrieved.After their first shipment to Tanzania in 2007, the cous-ins realised that relying on charitable funding would notcreate a viable business model. To provide an additionalsource of income, they opened a combined workshop-headquarters in the centre of Copenhagen, where theycould repair second-hand bicycles and either sell themor hire them out to tourists.The resulting revenue allowed Baisikeli to open a secondworkshop in Sierra Leone, where sales were boosted by amicro-loan scheme invented by a local bicycle mechanic.The scheme allows workers to buy the second-handbicycles and pay for them over four to six months ininstalments taken directly from their salary. As well aslow-cost mobility, Baisikeli also provides an even moreimportant long-term benefit: the transfer of knowledge Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #02 | 25
  29. 29. baisiKeli • an ethical biKe salvage shopimpactBy the end of 2010, more than 2,200 bikes had been shipped to SierraLeone and Tanzania. The Masanga Hospital in Sierra Leone, which hostsone of Baisikeli’s workshops, uses its bikes to support local micro-enterprise as well as to transport patients and medicine. Baisikeli alsogained international recognition when it became the official bicycleprovider to international conferences such as the Copenhagen ClimateConference (COP15) and Velo-City in 2010.Key lessons generating the experience re-using existing change through of place assets networksSocial innovation Creating broad appeal A new purpose forsupport waste Having a multi-use spaceBaisikeli’s founders had previous (workshop/office/rental/retail) is Giving new life to previously wastedexperience both as entrepreneurs not just economically effective but, resources – the old bikes thatand in development work, but they more importantly, showcases the insurance companies normally havehave also drawn on specialist social organisation’s activities and ethic to pay to dispose of – is Baisikeli’senterprise and innovation networks. to the public. As well as generating core business proposition. TheOne of the founders trained at income, the Copenhagen workshop organisation has managed to joinKaospilots, the Danish school of communicates the entirety of up this supply to a demand, closingnew business design and social Baisikeli’s supply chain to tourists, the cycle of waste and providinginnovation. Because his Baisikeli residents, businesses and the training, jobs and low-costidea became an exam project at the national media. The workshop mobility with a remarkably lowschool, they were able to get support is thus integral to the business environmental impact.from academic advisers and tap model – and, as a bonus, enrichesinto wider knowledge networks. the diversity of the city’s retailAdditionally, the Danish Centre for environment.the Social Economy, an independentsupport and advocacy organisationfor the social enterprise sector,introduced them to helpful mentors.These support networks have beencrucial in the development of theventure’s concept.26
  30. 30. in conclusionHow do we discover new shared wealth inthe very diverse types of waste we produce?Whilst the UK’s improved recycling ratesindicate how national and local policy makesa difference, the example of Baisikeli showshow entrepreneurial ventures can spotniches in waste flows and turn them intoself-sustaining business models that createvalue across continents. Social ventureintermediaries are a crucial enabler inunlocking such pathways.other eXamplesBike Works, Seattle, USA, 1996 Union Cycle Works, London, UK, 2010 First Step Trust: SMaRT, Salford, UK,…increases young people’s mobility by ... is a not-for-profit co-operative cycling 2005teaching them repair skills and giving them project housed in an old railway arch …is a social enterprise garage servicea second-hand bicycle, which they pay back in Deptford, which trains homeless and that repairs or dismantles and recyclesby doing community work; the city is aiming unemployed people in repairing used abandoned cars, offering work placementsto triple bike usage between 2007 and 2017. bicycles, thereby increasing their mobility and employment for young people and long- and employability. term unemployed adults. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #02 | 27
  31. 31. briXton village • a sociable market re-startBottom right: Mapping local ventures to help build Brixton Village. Other images: The result
  32. 32. #03briXton villagea sociable market re-startlondon, united Kingdom‘All along we’ve had this asset-based approach whichsaid “this is not running on our talent and energy,this is running on the talent and energy of all thepeople who are coming in here.” It’s a DIY cultureand we are there to act as a catalyst.’Dougald Hine, Space Makers Agency 1 in 5 briXton village shops 98 3 proposals in 1 week weeks to open shops 20 vacant shops revitalised in 3 vacant before months rent december 2009 december 2009 free period Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #03 | 29
  33. 33. brixton village • a sociable market re-startcatalysing a newapproach to towncentre enterprise2008 2009 2010high vacancy landownerrates & failed realises theredevelopment value of small-ambitions scale approach council brokers partnership contact between between sma & land-owner & council leads to Space makers mutual learning agency (sma) land owners sma social seed-fund sma media drive to gather ideas local sweat equity outreach via refurbishment pub meetings of shops in 3 to build local weeks trust brixton village space market exploration re-opens with event to build a range of new momentum ventures COMPETITION brixton village local WITH 98 IDEAS holds regular organisation SOURCED IN A events with brick box takes SINGLE WEEK contributions over the lead from tenants catalyst role and locals sma starts new venture in west norwood rs an ru & es a do ew ti m ipa or oc g st te p st s on g of n pr r i n ne ng hi in di a i c tf y ga l em rt ri rt la ed igu pa e wa din ca al pa p l ok ar n f lo st r en d ua br sh co be fo op a em an us un
  34. 34. the storyAn alternative approach to retail projects. After a month of minimal refurbishment work, the first of these units opened on 17 December 2009. Therevitalisation has succeeded where new ventures included vintage fashion boutiques, foodprevious regeneration attempts by stores, lantern-makers, furniture restorers, photogra- phers, a children’s magazine, a recycling workshop and athe council and landowners had community shop run by groups such as Transition Townfailed. Space Makers Agency, a Brixton. In some cases up to three new businesses sharesocial enterprise, used an extensive as little as 10 sq m.personal network, a clear sense of Space Makers facilitated weekly events to attract footfalldirection and a savvy social media and build a strong sense of direction, collective belonging and sociability. They also worked closely with com-approach to create a buzz of activity munity groups and with the established shopkeepers toand a pathway to a reborn, sociable increase local participation and feedback, and create amarket place. collaborative atmosphere. The gradual build-up of trust overcame some of the suspicion generated in the yearsIn December 2008, with a fifth of the 100 units in Brixton before. This was crucial: Space Makers’ intention wasVillage standing vacant, the owners of this 1930s indoor always to be a catalyst rather than a permanent managermarket in South London proposed a major redevelop- of the market. After six months, shopkeepers and tradersment of the site. This was resisted by local people who were encouraged to take over events and projects, andset up ‘Friends of Brixton Market’ to campaign for the thus maintain the market as a sociable place in the townconservation of the market. The owners withdrew their centre.proposal in March 2009 and asked the local authority,Lambeth Council, for advice. Realising the need for analternative to demolition, council regeneration offic-ers suggested contacting Space Makers Agency, thenrecently founded.A collective of highly motivated individuals with a trackrecord as social entrepreneurs, Space Makers obtaineda moderate sum of seed funding from the owners andinvested a huge amount of personal time and energyinto the project. With the explicit ambition of revitalisingthe market through small businesses and communityinitiative, the collective launched a social media driveto attract a wide range of people and ideas to what theytermed ‘the UK’s biggest slack space project’.Prompted by a blog, Twitter, Facebook and word ofmouth, more than 350 people turned up to the initial‘Space Exploration’ event in November 2009 to dis-cuss new possibilities for the site. Space Makers gaveinterested people a week to come up with proposals fortaking over a unit on an initial three-month rent-freelease. Within that week, Space Makers received 98 pro-posals, and selected 30, of which half were for short-term Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #03 | 31
  35. 35. brixton village • a sociable market re-startimpactA year into the project, all 20 units are still occupied, seven of them by ventures originated ain November 2009. Having shown the potential of a different approach to the landownersand the council, Space Makers have slowly withdrawn from the project and allowed it tobecome self-sustaining. A new local initiative, the Brick Box, has taken over one unit as anarts hub from where it continues the weekly events with the market traders. Over timeSpace Makers have built a genuine two-way learning relationship with Lambeth Council,already leading to a next project to revitalise vacant town centre spaces elsewhere.Key lessons recognising the re-using existing participation protagonists assets beyond consultationAsset-holding civic Recognising the An invitation toentrepreneurs potential co-produceThroughout the project Space Space Makers’ approach was Space Makers did not just offerMakers ‘hosted’ the revitalisation based on recognising the potential an initial three-month rent-freeprocess. They were given significant of a space that was slated for lease to potential shopkeepers.freedom by both the landowners redevelopment. Space Makers More fundamentally they offeredand Lambeth Council, whose created a platform for activity and the possibility of being part of aprevious proposals, based on action to uncover what was possible movement to change the way thedemolition and redevelopment, and to get people working towards economy – and retail, in particularhad failed for lack of local support a shared purpose without a defined – works. Potential entrepreneursand trust. As networked and or designed state of ‘completion’. were invited to be part of theenergetic outsiders with a clear Because of its tiny shop units and project in a way that set it apartsense of purpose, Space Makers the fact that it was highly valued in from the mainstream ‘regeneration’took a hands-on role, formulating the local community, the covered discourse. This was attractive toan alternative perspective for market could be brought to life Brixton’s diverse communities,change that enabled them to create through small enterprise and at especially as a festival-like settinga coalition with local people and relatively low cost, where a new for creativity, food sharing andothers with good ideas. Intensive development would have struggled political debate complemented theoutreach work, based on informal to provide the small units that shops. Continuous re-investmentdiscussions online and regular enable micro-businesses. in this collective effort (throughopen meetings in a nearby pub, events, media articles, etc) waswas crucial to building trust and a core pillar under the project’sdebating ideas widely. Tenants and success.other locals have been able to usethese forums to suggest ideas forcollaborative events, performancesand stalls.32
  36. 36. in conclusionHow do we open up fertile ground for smallentrepreneurial ventures in our town centres?Where traditional regeneration approacheshave often led to scaling and cloning, BrixtonVillage shows us an alternative: enabling diverseforms of entrepreneurship through activatingsocial networks and a shared re-imaginationof the possible. Crucially, a productive relationbetween private owners, the public sector andthose offering this new perspective for changewas at the heart of the venture.other eXamplesMeanWhile London: Opportunity High Town Art For All, Luton, UK, Landshare, UK, 2009Docks, London, UK, 2010 2010 …is a web-based platform connecting more...was a competition to find meanwhile uses ...was an artists’ collective that took over than 57,000 people who have vacant landfor three sites in Londons Royal Docks in three vacant shops, facilitated by the Mean- to share with people who want land forthe London Borough of Newham, next to a while Project, to use as studios, workshops cultivating food.Olympic Games 2012 venue; image shows and spaces for exhibitions, poetry evenings,the Industri[us] project by a multidisciplinary and training sessions for local businesses.team of Fluid and partners. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #03 | 33
  37. 37. bromley by bow centre • a platform for neighbourhood well-beingTop: Entrance to the Health Centre. Bottom left: Summer fayre in the public gardens created on a wasteland. Bottom right: Crèche day in the Church Hall, 1980s
  38. 38. #04bromley by bowcentrea platform for neighbourhood well-beinglondon, united Kingdom‘Our business model is perhaps a bit unusual. Mostbusiness consultants would advise you to pick one ortwo things and specialise in them. But in an area likethis, people’s needs aren’t particularly specialised, sothat doesn’t work for us. So instead we offer a holisticrange of services for the people in Bromley by Bow.’Susie Dye, Programmes Development Officer, Bromley by Bow Centre 12 2,000 28 successful social enterprises catalysed since people in weekly users of 2005 generating church congregation centre in 2010 over 200 new jobs in 1984 Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #04 | 35
  39. 39. bromley by bow centre • a platform for neighbourhood well-being building a holistic place for health, skills, jobs and new initiatives....... 1950 ....... 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 01 02 03 04 05 HALL church new CHURCH & HEALTH CAFE AND ENTERPRISE built in built in minister HALL OPEN CENTRE EXTENSION BARN 1800S 1957 ARRIVES for USE BY OPENs OPENs OPENs local people 02 01 04 03 05 extension: enterprise barn: hall: public gardens: surgery: reception: church space: cafe, community affordable space used for social created and Reception space health, housing, religious worship, space, pottery & for social activites and maintained by used as informal education & creche & theatre / stone carving enterprise workshops local volunteers community space social services performing arts workshops and start-ups and gallery share space office space
  40. 40. the storyCreating a culture that encourages team around him who helped to drive further growth. The Bromley by Bow Centre was established as an inde-people to come forward with ideas pendent registered charity in 1994.has helped turn an underused The tragic death of a local resident who slipped throughchurch and its ancillary premises the gaps in local health and social services provisioninto a hugely popular local asset. prompted the team to consider the role that a genuinelyA new minister decided to open community-embedded organisation could play in im- proving people’s lives. In 1997, they set up an integratedthe hall up for community use, and health centre on the derelict land surrounding thecreated a base for a wide range of church. This covered multiple aspects of health and well- being by combining a public park with a GP practice thatinitiatives. Incrementally, this has is deeply integrated into the social enterprise, a familiesgrown into a revolutionary organisa- project, a social landlords’ office and other local services.tion. Mawson has since moved on, co-founding the Com-The Bromley by Bow United Reform Church in East munity Action Network to promote the role of entre-London had a congregation of just 12 people and almost preneurship in building communities, and creating theno funds when the Rev Andrew Mawson arrived in 1984. Water City Festival as part of a wider vision to reconnectFaced with a near empty church in a low-income neigh- East London neighbourhoods to the waterways in thebourhood, the minister and his congregation decided to area. Meanwhile, the centre has continued to evolve andopen up the church hall to the community, primarily in flourish. As the scale of community activities has grown,response to informal conversations with local residents in-house social enterprises have been set up to help fundwho needed space for a range of purposes. them.Amongst the first users were a carpentry workshop,a woman who needed somewhere to build a boat and adance teacher. The range of activities soon expanded toinclude various community services and small enter-prises. The hall was offered free of charge to projects thathelped address local needs; artists who wanted studiospace could pay in kind by offering workshops to localpeople.In this beginning phase, what was crucial was not raisingmoney but rather building purpose together with a widergroup of users and re-embedding the asset in the com-munity as a trusted and useful resource.Plans to start a nursery led to a total refurbishmentof the 200-seat church. The new space comprised a40-seat sanctuary, the nursery, a gallery, a theatre spaceand a flexible community room. While regular worshipcontinued, an increasing variety of secular projects inand outside the church premises drew in a considerablegroup of volunteers, and Mawson was able to gather a Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #04 | 37
  41. 41. bromley by bow centre • a platform for neighbourhood well-beingimpactThe Bromley by Bow Centre is widely recognised as an exemplar of how acommunity centres can transform separate services into a cherished placein the neighbourhood. Many initial projects have developed into independent(social) enterprises, including a nursery and artists’ studios. The centre hasalso brought in grant funding from the private and public sectors and fromthe National Lottery, for enterprising projects with a focus on supporting andinvesting in excluded people. For example, mental health service users help tomaintain the green spaces. Annual turnover now exceeds £4 million, and thereare more than 100 staff members, the majority of whom are local. The centrehosts more than 2,000 people every week and has become the third largestprovider of adult education and training in the borough of Tower Hamlets.Key lessons recognising the re-using existing the experience of protagonists assets placeAsset-holding civic People make a place Inclusion andentrepreneurs well-being The centre built on existing assets:In the initial phase, the minis- an underused building was brought As the centre expanded, a spaceter’s attitude was crucial: he was to life by local people’s ideas and was created that communicates toprepared to offer the asset he skills. With the blessing of the users that they are highly valued.controlled for anything that seemed congregation, the church premises A single architect worked with thea valuable idea. Free from the obli- were re-imagined as a multi-use centre to ensure that each phasegation to maximise revenue, instead space with both secular and integrated with the whole. Theof asking for rent, he asked people multi-faith events. This became an design focuses on inviting people in,to work together and co-produce on-going invitation for people to and on multi-functionality. A spacetheir concepts for local benefit. This use it for their ideas, maximising for worship has been maintainedbuilt the most important currency the use value of the building. A as a smaller but integral elementneeded: trust. Mawson could do this broader agenda for change thus of the site; the garden and café arebecause he had the local support emerged organically from the initial open to all, and health and housingand organisational authority to engagements with local people. services share the same receptionassess the risks and opportunities, Development decisions were made space – which is no institutionaland give permission locally, instead as opportunities emerged, instead waiting room but a place whereof at an abstract bureaucratic level. of through a plan-led approach. The locals can meet informally. TogetherThis created fertile ground for a centre is now led by a professional with a gallery and events space,host of initiatives and gradually at- team but still maintains its strong and a self-maintained green spacetracted a team of people who grew local roots, close relationships and with allotments, this has helped thethe centre’s activities. ever-evolving approach. centre emanate a holistic sense of well-being.38
  42. 42. in conclusionHow do we move from a public service modelthat focuses on providing for peoples’ needs toone that embraces their strengths and liberatestheir skills, ideas, energy and drive? A key stepis to move from single-function public servicesto places for integrated neighbourhood delivery.The Bromley by Bow Centre also shows thatthis is how we should view physical assets,recognising that their use value depends on thefrontline staff breathing life into them.other eXamplesThe Park Local Opportunity Centre, Central Surrey Health, Epsom, UK, The Hill, Abergavenny, UK, 2009Bristol, UK, 2000 2006 …is a coalition of third and public sector…is a community hub that grew out of a ...is one of the first employee co-owned social organisations that responded to the closureformer secondary school and now offers a enterprises within the NHS, spun out of the of a local tertiary college. After extensivevariety of services, activities and business local Primary Care Trust. It is a not-for-profit community activism, they managed toopportunities to the local community. organisation that provides community retain the site for community use, providing nursing and therapy services to the people of innovative educational services for young central Surrey. and old. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #04 | 39
  43. 43. brooklyn superhero supply co. • a tutoring centre on the high streetShop front of the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. featuring a choice of capes and magic potions
  44. 44. #05brooklynsuperherosupply co.a tutoring centre on the high streetnew york, united states‘We may operate behind a store that sells gravity bythe pound, superhero capes or pirate peg legs, butwe’re serious about student writing.’826 National 2,077 students served 800 volunteers 90 books in 2009 / 2010 published in 2009/2010 Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #05 | 41
  45. 45. brooklyn superhero supply co. • a tutoring centre on the high streetlowering thethresholds to learningand volunteering in-house publishing of childrens creative work 05 community of local writers 06 working in publishing office & press 05 03 childrens books and magazines writer 06 are printed 03 tutoring secret doorway space behind bookcase 04 leads to reading & tutoring space 03 local writers shop as mentors to writer local children student 02 04 stories tutoring space student are sold provides learning in shop 07 environment for local children the shop is a front for the 01 organisation and also contributes stories written financial support by children are printed & sold in the shop 07 02 01 distinctive facade invites curiosity
  46. 46. the storyThe Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. connect the tutoring centre with the community: its culture of creativity and adventure helped to attract curi-in New York City is a small shop ous locals as potential volunteers, and children for whomselling all types of superhero gear this place was clearly different than school or other places associated with ‘being helped’.from photon shooters to invisibilitypotions. However, hidden behind a The pirate store front also proved to be a success as ittrick bookshelf is 826NYC, part of added a vital stream of revenue to the non-profit organi- sation. When 826NYC was opened in 2004 as the seconda network of non-profit organisa- ‘826’ venture, it was purposely built with the Brooklyntions supporting young people with Superhero Supply Co. as a front. Other 826 chapters have since opened in six other US cities, each with a uniquetheir writing skills. The place cre- store front (examples include the Greater Boston Bigfootates a magic experience integrated Research Institute, Los Angeles’ Echo Park Time Travelin the everyday of a shopping street Mart, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company in Seattle, and the Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair inin Brooklyn, and extends a highly Ann Arbor). All of the chapters are located in communi-original invitation to participate – ties with socially and economically diverse populations; their locations include high streets, shopping malls andboth to potential volunteers and to residential areas. As the concept spread, the umbrellayoungsters. organisation 826 National was established in order to support chapters and facilitate knowledge exchangeThe Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. is modelled on between them.the Pirate Supply Store in San Francisco, which wasestablished in 2002. The concept was the outcome of 826NYC relies on more than 800 volunteers to provide apure serendipity. Dave Eggers was looking for a venue wide variety of free programmes and services, includingto house the fledgling tutoring centre that he wanted after-school drop-in tutoring and fieldtrips that end withto create. He saw this as a place where the many local students taking away their own published book. Manywriters he knew – most of whom worked flexible hours of the volunteers have professional writing experience;– could spend some of their spare time to fulfil a need of others are simply fascinated by the store, and offer theirwhich he had become increasingly aware: for one-on- time role-playing as superhero assistants in the shop.one tutoring for children who struggle in school. They 826NYC’s work also extends into local schools, wherefound an attractive space on 826 Valencia Street that his support is offered to teachers in the form of in-classsmall publishing company and the tutoring centre could tutoring assistance and help with special projects.share, but were told the address was exclusively zonedfor retail. Instead of looking for a new site, they decidedto make the front of the building into a pirate’s shop thatwould appeal to their target audience of 6-to-18-year-olds.Initially, this highly unusual proposition had to overcomesome understandable suspicion from parents, teach-ers and children. When a friend of Eggers, the educatorNínive Calegari, got involved she managed to connectthe writers’ community to that of teachers and parents.Soon, it showed that the magic and whimsy worked to Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #05 | 43
  47. 47. brooklyn superhero supply co. • a tutoring centre on the high streetimpactThere are currently eight 826 chapters in cities across the USA. Together they aprovide almost 24,000 students a year with tutoring, thanks to more than5,000 volunteers. More than 850 publishing projects are produced annuallywith contributions from students between the eight chapters. Several USeducator groups are currently hoping to become part of the 826 network,and there have been inquiries from groups in Canada and Mexico. Across theAtlantic, several tutoring centres in the UK and Ireland have been inspired bythe work of 826 National.Key lessons the experience of generating participation place change through beyond networks consultationAn atmosphere of Collective capacity to Co-producing tangiblemagic potential grow productsThe store fronts of 826 chapters Local educators and community 826 does not just ask the childrenare a central aspect of their workers are the ones who initiate and young people what theysuccess: they establish an ambient the setting-up of 826 chapters. would like to do but offers themculture of non-institutional Responding to different conditions, a wide range of opportunities andfun and creative achievement. chapters have opened in various guidance, as writers and publishersStudents’ writings figure among neighbourhood settings. Often, sit shoulder-to-shoulder with thethe products on sale in the shops, they are based on existing tutoring young people. Moreover, it focuseswhich provide the organisation organisations looking for new on making outcomes tangible:with welcome revenue, though directions, which means that they students’ work is published intheir real advantage is in creating can connect to local expertise while newspapers, magazines, anda very original interface with the also drawing upon the knowledge, books, some of them sponsoredpublic. They reduce barriers to experience and fundraising by well-known authors. 826NYC’sparticipation by removing the capacities of 826 National. The outreach programmes have alsostigma often associated with umbrella organisation helps with been a substantial success. Beyondtutoring spaces and have become a strategic concept development, allowing the organisation to reachkind of community venture where creates collective fundraising a high number of children, theypeople can ‘wander in’ and join capacity and encourages exchange also help to forge alliances within the magic. This supports the between the chapters. teachers, thereby establishingvolunteer recruitment process, a platform for collaborationand produces an environment between the tutoring centre and itsthat engenders creativity and high community.quality engagement.44
  48. 48. in conclusionThe Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. showshow a magic intervention can cut rightacross formal land-use restrictions and,through surprise and delight, can achieveunique outcomes. It reveals that if weembed mutual teaching and learning atthe heart of our places, the town, villageor urban neighbourhood can become theschool rather than be separated from it.other eXamplesHoxton Street Monster Supplies, Hackney Pirates, London, UK, 2010 Fighting Words, Dublin, Ireland, 2008London, UK, 2010 …is an out-of-school educational hub …is a creative writing centre set up by novel-...is the eerie store front for the Ministry of that started by offering week-long creative ist Roddy Doyle, inspired by 826 ValenciaStories, a teaching centre co-founded by au- workshops during the summer vacation. but without a shop. The centre contains onethor Nick Hornby, inspired by 826 Valencia. big, playful open-plan space with revolving bookshelves inviting in students of all ages for free tutoring. Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #05 | 45
  49. 49. fab lab manchester • a 21 century manufacturing workshop stEddie Kirkby from Fab Lab and Australian rugby player Matt King examine the prototype for a light-weight beach cricket bat
  50. 50. #06fab labmanchester sta 21 century manufacturing workshopmanchester, united Kingdom‘The main aim is for people to have the power tosolve their own problems, rather than have to go to ashop and get something that is only 50% suitable fortheir need.’Eddie Kirkby, Operations Support Manager, The Manufacturing Institute £35,000 1,800 5 patents 15 visitors in first new set-up cost of equipment 9 months products developed Compendium for the Civic Economy | Case Study #06 | 47

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