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Meeting essential needs locally

Themes : Redefining the economy on a territorial basis

“- between inhabitants who share the same legacy and experiences and the destinies inherent to the same inherited and evolving space (native and adoptive inhabitants, migrants, visitors, etc.)”

Territory does not have the same meaning in different cultures and languages. First and foremost, it provides the geographical basis for social existence. It is a human construct that combines the most material of concerns with the most essential of relationships. This is where each society solves its problems, meets its needs and makes its dreams come true by constantly producing mechanisms and regulations capable of sustaining collective modes of operation.1 Still today, this context continues to demonstrate the vital function of proximity, even though production and trade have become globalized. Economic globalization affects even the smallscale units of personal and social life. Territorial localizations are specialized and seen as an adjustment variable in an economic approach that puts them into competition with each other. Management of food, work, natural resources, security and even cohabitation is rooted in interdependent relationships. Inhabitants’ power to act and the conditions in which local authorities can take action in managing resources are greatly modified.

The local is inextricably linked to the global. Our societies are not prepared for this fact. Many people are not aware that there are “worlds”, divided up by themes, by professions, by the territorial level where authority is exorcized, which interact with their operating mechanisms and their discriminating codes. The strident advocacy of turning within –without the ‘other’—seizes on this, but it only leads to a dead end. Understanding how proximity is affected by exogenous factors is key to any effort to meet essential needs.

Systems for taking concrete action are complex: reconstructing viable responses within systems based on concrete action and relationships, protecting proper use of resources, regenerating cultural legacies, expertise and ecosystems, in other words, taking the future in hand by integrating globality into the here and now has never been so difficult. Knowing that local actors have rediscovered the fact that the best solution is to trust in one’s own capacities within a framework of cooperation with others is a source of hope for us all. After all, the social breeding ground for a solution to the crisis is at the grassroots level.

This dossier illustrates the importance of putting down roots in the places that play host to local socio-economic innovations, usually held in low regard. It looks at:

how small groups and communities living in modestly-sized territories have come up with answers to questions relating to food, housing, travel, work, collective services, meeting places, entertainment, etc.;

the illustration of shared and recurring issues. The number and concomitance of these innovations leads us to consider the affinities, even when distant and insubstantial, and the networks they have produced as an integral part of the field covered by this dossier: as the promoters of alternatives.

3 publications | 3 Videos | 15 case studies | 5 Analyses/working papers/articles | 2 public contributions | A thesis | A pedagogical tool

3 publications

3 Videos

15 case studies

5 Analyses/working papers/articles

2 public contributions

A thesis

A pedagogical tool