On Saturday June 7th, citizens in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Montreal created acts of urban change as part of 100-in-1 Day, a movement uniting people across the nation to make cities better. Each Canadian city hosting the event was fortunate to witness an outpouring of engagement. Two numbers tell the story: A total of 460 interventions took place across Canada – many more than the stated target of 100. Halifax had five times as many actions (on a per capita basis) as any of the other cities. Go Halifax!
We’ve taken a closer look at some of the interventions that have new economies at their heart. New economies are about taking a holistic perspective on the nature and origins of wealth, and evaluating the ways in which economies can work for people and the planet through shared, just, and lasting prosperity. This includes fair trade, the sharing economy, collaborative consumption, alternative measures of progress and wellbeing, social enterprise, and social finance.
OVER 460 URBAN INTERVENTIONS ACROSS CANADA IN 1 DAY!
Toronto featured 174 interventions, including one on the reclamation of public space. In the People’s Queen Street, people occupied parking spaces on a major street, and filled the spaces with grass, hammocks, back yard patio furniture and games. Similarly, public spaces came alive with people participating in public poetry (Halifax), hosting a piano picnic (Vancouver) and hosting a potluck in a park
In Halifax, 52 interventions took place. In one, people shared ideas for a new tool library…
“Setting up on the street and selling hot dogs was a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Tool Library in the community where it will be located. We received useful input on our lending policies and some neighbours took the opportunity to donate tools. Like many of our engagements, the most fulfilling aspect was watching people come to grips with the concept of a Tool Library for the first time. We hope it will spark other ideas for the resources we can share.” Halifax Tool Library
Montreal was also buzzing with energy as over 87 interventions took place in the urban fabric – even families got into the action, planting a garden that would encourage eating their leafy greens…and plenty of muddy playtime. One of the 83 interventions in Vancouver was the Match Maker booth hosted by Kits Space Projects at Vancouver’s Maker Faire. It provided an opportunity for makers to connect with the Strathcona Resource Exchange where business waste is repurposed for creative projects and new economies…and people see what’s possible when waste is recognized as a resource.
Citizen actions explored the links between the economy and ecology in Toronto: people came together to discuss what engineering means to them; they walked through a ravine while pondering the effective integration of nature and people.
Interventions encouraged local and indigenous food consumption, including by designing a First Nations Indigenous Garden, by holding a permaculture blitz, growing an organic food forest (Vancouver), by distributing seed bombs, and by learning about urban beekeeping (Halifax).
And across the border in Boston, Canadian Justin Ritchie (nonprofit The Extraenvironmentalist) recorded a livestream of the New Economy Coalition conference, CommonBound. He interviewed Mike Lewis of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal. Other speakers from Canada include Béatrice Alice of Chantier de l’économie sociale and Mike Toye of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDnet). Web: http://commonbound.org/register
WHAT DOES REAL WEALTH MEAN TO YOU?
The One Earth team took to the streets of Vancouver to discuss new economies, talking with people to figure out what “real wealth” means to citizens. Our question, “What does real wealth mean to you?” generated interesting responses like, “people reclaiming their power”, “access to sports”, “being in love”, “accomplishing your goals”, and “kindness”. An 88 year old pensioner we spoke with said that real wealth “is loving what you do”, while a 5 year old girl confidently stated with that “snails” make her feel wealthy.
These genuine responses to understanding wealth brought to light an important aspect to consider while re-evaluating our current economic system. They reveal that wealth is a state of being, and not necessarily a state of ownership. This is what the new economy is striving to highlight through these generative discussions on the roots of value, money, and exchange.
Economics has traditionally been about understanding the allocation of scarce resources – but what we saw on June 7th was an abundance of happiness, enthusiasm and connection, not scarcity. The intangible qualities of what real wealth can mean – creativity, innovation, equality, participation, capacity, and ability – all expand the more they are used. These are important to keep in mind when thinking about what we want our present and future to look like, and how economies should be understood and measured.
Our commons don’t need to become a tragedy – they can, instead, be bountiful and rewarding shared assets. 100 in 1 Day showed that through people coming together to act, express, engage, connect and design what they want to see in the world, we join together on the path to manifesting that reality.
JOIN US CITIES FOR PEOPLE IN FOSTERING NEW ECONOMIES…
Cities for People will continue to explore the different ways in which we all engage with new economies. Sign up on our mailing list to receive updates and invitations to future events, access to insightful discussions, and prizes.
Click the following links to get involved in the upcoming events:
– Sharefest TO, July 16, Toronto
– New Economy Week, 12-18 October
– Cities for People Toronto Leadership Summit, 12 November, Toronto
You can also sign up to watch the recorded livestream from the new economy conference by CommonBound June 4-6th, Boston.
Photo credit: Lucy Gao