Participation in locally-based, collaborative forms of bottom-up subsistence and governance is vital to the emergence of an alternative to capitalism that has resilience, fairness and wellbeing at its heart. How do we engage earnestly with this urgency when the only safe path forward can only be made with others? Is it possible we have more agency than are used to believing?
Probably few people would disagree that the state of the world right now is dire to say the least. How much hope can we have for the future? How much action does the present demand?
What can we do If we don’t want to (blindly) wait for those with power (economic, political) to stop abusing it and return it to those who are affected to make decisions about what they need and want?
Politics and Economy should work for the common good, but somehow they have been subverted into creating inequality instead.
As well as causing countless people untold suffering, this thing that our societies work towards (GDP Growth) is destroying the ecosystems vital to the existence of all life on Earth.
If we are to respond to the challenge ahead of us in the scale required, collaboration will be essential. Not just collaboration though, but voluntary participation around citizen-led projects.
As well as being fundamentally important, in my experience, citizen participation is probably also one of the hardest things to achieve.
This project has involved conversations with over twenty people (ranging from friends and family to complete strangers) to refine the idea behind a design intervention in public space.
This intervention hopes to communicate both the urgency and the agency of organised action as well as consulting people in regards to these.
By communicating and inviting communication in relation to the concepts of Dystopia (needs, problems), Utopia (values, ideals) and Optopia (optimal, pragmatic utopia), I hope to foster co-learning that moves from crisis to opportunity.