Urban Resilience Package
The overlapping crises – energy crisis, housing crisis, climate crisis, as well as high inflation and rising interest rates – show us that the current model of urban development, based on large scale employers and infrastructure investment, has reached its limits. Instead, it is necessary to focus on locally rooted development and on building community strength, because only by working together can we build an economy that is resilient to the crises.
The Urban Resilience Package responds to these very challenges, which is based on the model of a Development Cooperative, enabling the use and enhancement of the local resources – both material and social. The solution is founded on three pillars:
- common ownership,
Democratization of the approach to development is necessary for the effective and long-term mobilization of all local resources. As well as building communities capable of responding efficiently to the upcoming changes, being able to adapt to the new living conditions, to regenerate quickly and to prevent the most severe effects of the crises.
Development Cooperatives are cooperatives that aim to fulfill the strategic tasks of a given municipality. Thus, they conduct activities of a public nature, such as:
- energy supply (construction of renewable energy sources and modernization of low-voltage networks);
- improving digital skills;
- modernizing buildings (renovations, increasing energy efficiency);
- reclamation of post-industrial areas;
- repairing and extending the life of appliances;
- caring for the elderly and children;
- food production and distribution.
Their goal may also include equalizing social inequalities, including the integration of economically inactive women into the job market, and supporting vulnerable communities.
The model designed by CoopTech Hub envisions that, as a first step, Development Cooperatives will be established by local government institutions (such as a municipality, a municipal corporation or a co-op) to ensure stability, institutional commitment and resources. However, from the beginning, the community’s voice must have a say in how the cooperative will operate and what it will do – the cooperative’s area of work should either be determined through a consultation process or be based on the strategic documents that were created with the participation of the local community. In the second step, the Development Cooperative will become open to the community’s investment, allowing local organizations, entrepreneurs and individual residents to engage their own resources and become co-owners of the cooperative, which is the local vehicle for development. The cooperative will also be an opportunity for the middle class to use their savings to enhance the quality of their daily life. We developed our model based on workshops in two cities – Dąbrowa Górnicza and Konin. While both of these cities are in coal areas and currently undergoing a sustainable transition, we found our proposed model to be universal.
The report The Urban Resilience Package was prepared in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Warsaw as part of the project „Just cooperative transition. Incubation of energy and development cooperatives for the green development of post-coal areas.”