Widening Spheres of Democracy

The 21st century has seen an explosion in Worker Cooperatives—particularly since capitalism’s 2008 crisis. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, UPSTREAM PODCAST explore how worker coops present a radically different kind of ownership and management structure—one that has the power to bring democracy into the workplace and into the economy as a whole. Upstream Podcast takes a deep dive into the cooperatively owned and run bike/skate shop Rich City Rides, exploring how they have created a community hub that puts racial & economic justice front and center. The podcast also takes a trip to the Basque Country to explore how the cooperative environment compares to that of the United States and the San Francisco Bay Area specifically.

Featuring

Richard Wolff Economics professor emeritus at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, founder of Democracy at Work, and host of the weekly radio show Economic Update

Gopal Dayaneni– Co-founder of Cooperation Richmond & Staff Member at Movement Generation

Doria Robinson– Founder of Urban Tilth and Co-Founder of Cooperation Richmond

Esteban Kelly – Executive Director of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Gorka Espiau – Senior Fellow at the Agirre Lehendakaria Center at the University of the Basque Country and Professor of Practice at McGill University

Najari Smith – Worker/member of Rich City Rides bike & skate shop

Roxanne Villaluz – Worker/member of a cooperative bakery & pizzeria

Sofa Gradin – Political Organizer and Lecturer in Politics at King’s College in London

Many thanks to Phil Wrigglesworth for the cover art.

 

This part 1 of a 2-part series.

Listen to Part 2:

Worker Cooperatives Pt. 2

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Shaping Neighborhoods

This April, the Quartier de l’Innovation and the McGill University Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal (CIRM) invite you to try new experiential meetings focused on innovative local initiatives aimed at improving urban life.

Shaping Neighborhoods: Experience and Innovation is a series of “conference experiments” designed to encourage Quartier de l’Innovation communities to reconnect with the Quartier’s urban planning projects and spur discussion on its community projects, academic research and municipal programs. They are an opportunity to reflect as well as to develop and build a resilient neighborhood that’s open to its residents’ ideas. At each meeting, participants will visit a prominent location in the neighborhood and talk with local organizations that are rethinking their living environment. Contributors and academic researchers will also join the discussion to connect the actions undertaken locally to research conducted on these projects.

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Why has place-making become necessary? Most places in most cities developed organically over time, as people and builders appropriated space, modelled it and gave it character. In this era where buildings and neighborhoods are built and torn down, rethinking architecture has become essential.

Date: April 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Meeting point: Wellington Control Tower (click here to see how to get there)

Academic Leader: Richard Shearmur, Director of the School of Urban Planning, McGill University

Program: Visit of the Wellington Control Tower, a research/action, dissemination and incubation venue with a café-bistro, which will serve as a meeting hub for all who are rethinking and building the city of today and tomorrow. The visit will be followed by a discussion in the Young Project transitory space created by Entremise.

Panelists:

  • Ms. Pauline Butiaux, vice-president and treasurer, Manoeuvres / Wellington Control Tower
  • Professor Gorka Espiau : professor pr practice, McConnell Foundation / CIRM 
  • Mr. Philémon Gravel, co-founder, director of de urban planning, Entremise
  • Mr. Jonathan Cha : urbanologist, landscape architect, heritage consultant, landscaping consultant for Jean-Drapeau Park, lecturer at UQAM and UdeM, co-founder of MTL\ville en mouvement, co-director at Le Virage MTL
  • Ms. Carla Rangel Garcia and Ms. Marie-Philip Roy-Lasselle : Mont Réel project and ConstructLab Berlin

Wayfinder Istanbul

In 2017, Social Innovation Exchange hosted the first Wayfinder in London at a time when social innovation globally was at a crossroads. In some ways, social innovation has achieved a huge amount over the last decade. However, compared to the scale of the social challenges facing the world, this success is marginal. The London Wayfinder explored how we can create large scale, deep and systemic change over the next 10 years.

One year on, some progress has been made, but many of these challenges remain — we need to continue focusing on getting truly multi-sector, prioritizing people and planet, and supporting leadership rich social innovation ecosystems globally. With the support of local, regional and international partners, the Wayfinder is heading to Istanbul, Turkey to dive deeper into these calls of action from the inaugural Wayfinder.

Together, we will explore: how do we get to transformational change, such as achieving the SDGs? What more can be done to tackle systemic barriers to systemic change over the next ten years? Istanbul Wayfinder will build on two calls to action from London:

  • Getting truly multi-sector in social innovation — with an emphasis on integrating corporate, government and philanthropic social innovation;
  • Creating enabling platforms to enrich social innovation ecosystems — learning from around the world about the key conditions and overcoming barriers.

I am really honored to have been invited as a member of this selected group of 150 innovators, experts, and entrepreneurs from around the world and across Turkey, who have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in building the social innovation field.icon.png

As we embark on a shared global learning experience for two days, we will specifically be listening and learning to help inform a regional social innovation hub Istanbul — a unique historical crossroads of trade, information, culture and business flows between east and west.

Istanbul Wayfinder is convened by Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), hosted by Zorlu Holding, powered by imece, in knowledge partnership with ATÖLYE and S360, ‎and supported by UNDP Regional Hub Istanbul and Brookings Doha Centre.

Euskalgintza, gizarte eredu

Euskararen biziberritzean diharduten gizarte eragileek zer balio eta harreman sare dauzkaten aztertu du Elhuyarrek, Agirre Lehendakaria Centerrekin. Lau eragile izan dituzte aztergai: Argia, Elkar, Ikastolen Elkartea eta Elhuyar bera. «Kapital sozial handia» sumatu dute, baita elkarlana ere.

Garikoitz Goikoetxea – 2018ko martxoak 16

Ezinak izaten dituzte askotan, aurrera jarraitzeko zailtasunak. Nekeak. Baina euskararen biziberritzean ari diren gizarte eragileek badituzte indargune nabarmenak. Ondorio hori atera dute Elhuyar fundazioak eta Agirre Lehendakaria Center ikerketa guneak. Euskararen biziberritze prozesua: balioak eta harreman sareak ikerketa egin dute. Eredutzat jo dituzte eragileak. Besteak beste, zein den pertsonen lekua: «Kapital sozial handiko mugimendua da euskararena, eta berdintasunean sakontzea ahalbidetu du, erabakiguneetan egitura horizontalak bultzatuz». Elkarlanerako joera ere bai: «Sistema atomizatua da, autoaskitasun maila altukoa, baina, aldi berean, kolaborazio estrategiak garatu dituena». Gizartean arrastoa uzten dutenak, funtsean. «Gizartearen eraldaketa prozesurako funtsezko elementua izan dira».

Euskalgintzaren esparruko lau eragile hartu dituzte aztergai, denak ere ibilbide luzekoak: Argia, Elkar, Ikastolen Elkartea eta Elhuyar bera. Izatez, Elhuyarren bertan egin zuten lehen azterketa, 2016an. «Elhuyarren ibilbidean funtsezkoak izan ziren lau egitasmo zehatz identifikatu eta aztertu genituen. Helburua izan zen euskara biziberritzeko prozesuan egon diren balioak eta harreman sareak identifikatzea, aurrera begirako gakoak ateratzeko. Eta, bide batez, eraldaketa narratiba positiboak zabaltzeko», azaldu du lanaren egile Imanol Azkuek. Narratiba positibo horiei buruz aritu da: «Euskara gure identitate ikur nagusietakoa izaki, hizkuntzaren berreskuratze prozesuan izan diren elementu positiboak indartu eta zabaldu behar ditugu».

Elhuyarren ikerketa eginda, euskalgintzako beste eragile batzuekin konparatzea erabaki zuten. 2017an aztertu zituzten Argia, Elkar eta Ikastolen Elkartea. Azterketaren emaitza atzo aurkeztu zuten, Martin Ugalde kultur parkean, Andoainen (Gipuzkoa). Ikerketan parte hartu duten eragileetako arduradunak ez ezik, bertan izan ziren beste hainbat esparrutako ordezkariak ere; besteak beste, Gipuzkoako Foru Aldunditik, Garbiñe Mendizabal Hizkuntza Berdintasuneko zuzendaria eta Maribel Bakero Bizikidetza eta Giza Eskubideetako zuzendaria, eta Etxepare institututik, Irene Larraza zuzendaria.

Ondorio arrotzik ez

Ikerketa egiteko, lehenik, eragile bakoitzaren ibilbideko mugarriak identifikatu dituzte —esaterako, Elhuyarren beraren kasuan, lau: aldizkaria (1974), euskara planak (1991), hiztegi elebiduna (1996) eta Hizking21 (2002)—. Bigarrenik, elkarrizketak egin dituzte: 57 lagun, ardura eta zeregin desberdinetan aritutakoak, oraindik lanean ari direnak eta jada ez daudenak. Genero aldetik izan dute desoreka: 37 gizonen eta 20 emakumeren iritziak eskuratu dituzte. Gisa horretan osatu dute eragile horien diagnostikoa. «Erakundeon balio nagusiak identifikatu ditugu, harreman sareen garrantzia eta ezaugarriak azpimarratu, eta berrikuntza irekiaren aldetik zer ezaugarri dituzten aztertu dugu».

Sei balio nagusi sumatu dituzte: burujabetasuna eta autonomia, konpromisoa, elkarlana, demokrazia, erresilientzia, eta berdintasuna. Horrekin batera, nabaritu dute harreman sare «egonkorrak eta trinkoak» dituztela euskalgintzako eragile horiek, eta «ohituta» daudela horrela jardutera.

Ez dira ondorio arrotzak euskalgintzaren esparruan. «Euskararen berreskuratze prozesuan normaltzat hartzen da balio horiek euskalgintzako erakundeen artean partekatuak izatea», aitortu du Jon Abrilek, ikerketaren egileetako batek. «Baina kanpotik ikusita, azpimarratu egiten da ez dela hain ohikoa balio sistema hain indartsu bat erakunde hain desberdinek partekatzea». Baina ez da euskalgintzan soilik gertatu.

Hain justu ere, Agirre Lehendakaria Center ari da beste esparru batzuetako jardun ereduak aztertzen; adibidez, Mondragon taldearen bueltako kooperatibagintza eta Gipuzkoako eredua ari da aztertzen. «Bestelako azterketa batzuek erakutsi duten moduan, lurraldearekin oso lotuak daude balio horiek. Mondragonen kasuan, adibidez, elkarlana eta demokrazia modu bertsuan ulertzen da», azaldu du Gorka Espiau Agirre Lehendakaria Centerreko kideak.

Kontakizun komuna

Lau erakundeen artean antzekotasunak sumatu dituzte iragana azaltzeko moduan, Abrilek azaldu duenez: «Konexio izugarria agertzen dute erakundeok, eta iraganari buruz narratiba komun indartsua dute». Ikertzaileen esanetan, horretan badu zerikusia garai bertsuan sortu izanak. «Frankismo amaierako testuinguru politiko eta sozialean euskara berreskuratzeko erakundeak sortu izanak lagundu du antzekotasun horiek izan daitezen». Ohar bat egin dute, hala ere: «Zehazteko dago etorkizunean nolakoa izango den narratiba hori».

Elkarlana aipatu dute euskalgintzako eragileen balioen artean, baina nabarmena da elkarren lehiakide ere badirela eragile horietako asko. Ikertzaileen arabera, biak uztartu dituzte: «Erakundeen arteko kooperazioak eta konpetentziak lagundu dute aurrera egiten: elkarlanaren bidez, zailtasunak gainditzen; konpetentziak lehiatzea, etengabe berritzea, berrasmatzea eskatu du». Giltzarritzat jo dute bi alde horiek uztartzea: «Konpetentziarik gabeko kooperazioak ez zuen lortuko erakundeon lanak hain inpaktu handia edukitzea; konpetentzia basati batek, berriz, ez zuen aukerarik emango eraldaketa sozialerako guneak eraikitzeko».

Horregatik, zalantzan jarri dute eragileen integrazioa biderik egokiena ote den aurrera jarraitzeko. «Administrazio publikoetatik, baliabideak arrazionalizatzeko aitzakiarekin, erakundeen arteko integrazio handiago bat eskatzen da, baina ezin da ondorioztatu ekosistema bateratzeak edo sinplifikatzeak emaitza hobeak ekarriko lituzkeenik. Ezin da ondorioztatu ekosistema konplexuetan inpaktu gutxiago lortzen denik». Horren adibide jo dute euskalgintza: «Ekosistema konplexua eduki izanak lagundu du inpaktu handiagoa lortzen, kooperazioan eta konpetentzian oinarritu delako ekosistema hori».

Balioak eta harreman sareak aztertuta, ez dute kontakizun hutsean geratu nahi. «Iraganari begiratuta, etorkizuna eraikitzeko eta erronka berriei aurre egiteko ikasgai ugari atera daitezke». Areago, uste dute euskalgintzako eragileen balioak eta harreman sareak mahai gainean jarrita sor daitezkeela lankidetzarako bide gehiago.

Aurrera begira baliagarri izango da euskalgintzan egindako azterketa, Espiauren hitzetan. Agirre Lehendakaria Centerren, «euskal transformazioa» ari dira aztertzen. «Ez zelan, baizik eta zergatik hartu ziren hainbat erabaki berezi Euskal Herriari buelta bat emateko». Nazioartera begiratuta, berezia da Euskal Herrian egindako bidea, Espiauren arabera. Hori aztertu nahi dute, etorkizuneko erabakietan argi egin dezan. «Informazio baliotsua lortu da euskararen arloko eragileetatik, jakiteko etorkizuneko erabaki estrategikoetan zer elementu ukiezin hartu behar diren kontuan».

 

Global Festival of Action

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Foreign Office, the Global Festival of Action brings together the global community taking action to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It will recognize and celebrate the innovators, conveners and breakthrough actors who are transforming lives and generating practical solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems.

Taking place in Bonn each year, the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG implementation and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

I am really honored to take part in the panel that will present the Work4Progress initiative powered by La Caixa Foundation.

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Euskararen biziberritze prozesuaren balioak

Euskararen biziberritze prozesuan erakunde eta norbanako ugari egon da inplikaturik, eta ekimen berritzaile eta eraldatzaile ugari eskaini ditu. Duela bost hamarraldi hasitako bide hura testuinguru politiko eta sozial zailean abiatu zen, eta gaur egun arte iritsi da. Baina zerk bultzatu zituen pertsona eta erakunde horiek bide hau egitera? Balio eta oinarri sendoak egon dira hartutako erabakien atzean: elkarlana, demokrazia, konpromisoa, berdintasuna, erresilientzia eta burujabetasuna.
Balio horiek identifikatzeko, Elhuyarrek ikerketa proiektu bat garatu du. Horretarako, lanerako egon diren balioak eta aurrera egiteko gakoak izan diren hainbat egitasmo berritzaile identifikatu eta aztertu ditu Argian, Elkarren, Ikastolen Elkartean eta Elhuyarren.

Ikerketa honen emaitzak aurkeztuko dituzte Martin Ugalde foroan.

Parte hartzaileak:
Bego Zuza (Argia)
Joanmari Larrarte (Elkar)
Leire Cancio (Elhuyar)
Abel Ariznabarreta (Ikastolen Elkartea)
Gorka Espiau (Agirre Lehendakaria Center)
Gidariak: Jon Abril eta Imanol Azkue (Elhuyar)

Innovación social, ¿demasiadas expectativas?

El 14 de marzo, el Centro de Innovación en Tecnologia para el Desarrollo Humano, Itd-UPM os  invita a la presentación del número especial de la Revista Española del Tercer Sector sobre Innovación Social junto con Acción contra el Hambre. El evento contará con la presencia de la mayor parte de los autores que hemos participado en este número, y aprovecharemos esta circunstancia para mantener un diálogo abierto sobre el impacto de la innovación social. Para asistir sólo tienes que registrarte en este enlace. Lugar: Secretaría General Iberoamericana (SEGIB). Paseo de Recoletos, 8, Madrid. Ver mapa.

 

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PROGRAMA:

  • 17:00h. Presentación del número monográfico en la Revista Española del Tercer Sector. Presentan Olivier Longué, director general de Acción contra el Hambre, y Víctor Renes, director de la Revista Española del Tercer Sector.
  • 17:20h – 19:00h. Debate: Innovación social, ¿demasiadas expectativas?. Moderan Carlos Mataix, director del itdUPM y Sara Romero, investigadora itdUPM.
Gorka-Espiau2

Gorka Espiau. Plataformas de escucha y cambio social. Gorka es Professor of Practice en el Centro de Estudios Multidisciplinares sobre Montreal (CRIEM) de la Universidad McGill (Canadá) y Senior Fellow en The Young Foundation. Desde el año 2013 dirige el área de investigación en el Centro de Estudios Sociales y Políticos Agirre Lehendakaria Center.

LuisIgnacio.[1]

Luis Ignacio Álvarez-González. Visión multidimensional del concepto de innovación social. La línea de investigación principal de Luis se ha centrado en la gestión de organizaciones no lucrativas y de economía social. Es profesor titular de comercialización e investigación de mercados de la Universidad de Oviedo.

Adrian Smith-BN-baja

Adrian Smith. Innovaciones “de base” y democracia. Adrian es catedrático en tecnología y sociedad en el Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) de la Universidad de Sussex en Inglaterra. Investiga para entender la política de innovación para el desarrollo sostenible, y contribuir a la gobernanza de la Innovación para que sea más justa socialmente y responsable medioambientalmente.

julianbriz_c

Julián Briz. Agricultura urbana: efectos sociales e inteligencia colectiva. Julián es catedrático profesor emérito de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Presidente fundador de la Sociedad Española de Naturación Urbana (PRONATUR) desde 1990 y presidente fundador del Observatorio Español de Agricultura Urbana en Foro Agrario. Miembro de la Junta Directiva de la World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN).

MARTA REY

Marta Rey. Contribuciones de las organizaciones no lucrativas. Marta es profesora de comercialización e investigación de mercados de la Universidad de A Coruña y Directora de la Cátedra Inditex de Responsabilidad Social de dicha universidad. Su línea de investigación principal es el gobierno y gestión de organizaciones no lucrativas.

LUCIA VELASCO

Lucía Velasco. El caso de la Fundación Tomillo: promoción de la inclusión social de forma innovadora. Lucía es especialista en innovación social, emprendimiento, Responsabilidad Social Corporativa y consultoría estratégica. Actualmente dirige el área de Estudios e Innovación Social de la Fundación Tomillo.

Antonella Broglia

Antonella Broglia. Comunicación para la innovación social. Con una trayectoria profesional ligada a la dirección de grandes agencias de comunicación, Antonella actualmente es TEDx Ambassador y Ambassador de Ashoka España, dirige un espacio en el programa televisivo Para Todos La 2, y es profesora colaborada en el Máster de Comunicación Arquitectónica de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

Un travail de « Montréalistes »

Par Jean-Benoît Nadeau (B.A. 1992)

Ils travaillent à la fois sur, pour et avec Montréal. C’est l’idée à la base du Centre de recherches interdiscipli-naires en études montréalaises (CRIEM), qui regroupe une cinquantaine de chercheurs de huit établissements québécois, dont le tiers provient de l’Université McGill. « Ensemble, nous essayons de comprendre ce qui fait Montréal », dit Pascal Brissette, qui dirige le CRIEM et le Département de langue et littérature françaises.

Le CRIEM s’inscrit dans une tendance très forte au sein des universités nord-américaines, désireuses de se rapprocher de leur communauté : qu’il suffise de penser au Ryerson City Building Institute de l’Université Ryerson, au CityStudio Vancouver de l’Université Simon Fraser ou à Civic Innovation YYC de l’Université de Cal-gary. « C’est une belle occasion pour McGill de s’affirmer tant comme une université au Québec et comme une université québécoise », affirme Stéphan Gervais, coordonnateur scientifique du CRIEM et coordonnateur du Programme d’études sur le Québec.

Autre particularité du CRIEM : son financement, de source privée. En 2015, la Fondation McConnell y a engagé un million de dollars sur dix ans, et en novembre 2017, la Banque de Montréal annonçait un financement de 2,25 millions de dollars sur dix ans pour l’octroi de bourses et le versement de certains salaires. « Ça n’a pas été facile à obtenir, mais c’était nécessaire », explique Annick Germain, professeure titulaire à l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) et membre du comité de direction du CRIEM. « En raison des normes du Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ), les chercheurs ne peuvent appartenir qu’à un seul centre de re-cherche, ce qui est évidemment un problème lorsque le centre est interdisciplinaire. » Le soutien de bailleurs de fonds du secteur privé facilite le financement multisource pour les membres.

« MONTRÉALISTE » DANS L’ÂME

Annick Germain, qui a prononcé la conférence inaugurale du CRIEM en 2013, se décrit comme une « montréaliste » convaincue. L’expression résume parfaitement l’objet du CRIEM, où Montréal est à la fois un sujet d’étude et une cause.

C’est ainsi que le CRIEM est devenu un partenaire stratégique de Je fais Mtl, un mouvement citoyen à l’origine de 181 projets conçus pour redonner de l’élan à Montréal. À la demande du Service de la diversité sociale de la Ville de Montréal, le CRIEM a également constitué une équipe de chercheurs pour veiller à la mise en place et au développement de la politique de l’enfance de la Ville.

Cette volonté de s’allier à des partenaires externes est très présente au CRIEM. Elle est au cœur même de Vivre ensemble à Montréal : entre conflits et convivialités, ouvrage collectif publié chez Atelier 10. « Nous tenions à ce qu’un certain nombre d’articles soient signés par des gens de la communauté, comme la Maison d’Haïti et les cégépiens du Collège de Maisonneuve », précise Annick Germain, qui a codirigé la publication avec Valérie Amiraux (Université de Montréal) et Julie-Anne Boudreau (INRS).

« On doit veiller à élargir les voix de la recherche et ne pas inclure seulement celles provenant du milieu universitaire », lance Stéphan Gervais (B. Ed. 1994, M. Ed. 1997). Pour être membre du CRIEM, les chercheurs doivent obligatoirement adhérer au principe du partage des expertises et de la co-construction du savoir avec le milieu.

Dans cet esprit de maillage université-communauté, une partie du don de la Banque de Montréal servira à l’embauche d’un « conseiller en transfert de connaissances ». Sa mission : mettre en réseau les chercheurs, les associations et la ville. « Il faut être à l’affût des initiatives », déclare Stéphan Gervais, évoquant une belle occasion ratée avec Lande, association consacrée à la réappropriation des terrains vacants. « À un moment donné, ils avaient besoin d’étudiants et de chercheurs pour faire la recension des terrains. Mais nous l’avons su trop tard. Quelqu’un doit se consacrer au travail de veille à temps plein. »

À L’IMAGE DE MONTRÉAL

Le modus operandi du CRIEM découle de sa genèse. « On se demandait comment contribuer au développe-ment de la société québécoise », se rappelle Pascal Brissette. « En étudiant ce qui se faisait ailleurs, on a trouvé pas mal de chercheurs qui s’intéressaient au Québec par le truchement de Montréal, mais on a aussi constaté l’absence de centre de recherche multidisciplinaire consacré à Montréal. »

Pascal Brissette et Stéphan Gervais ont donc entrepris de rassembler ces chercheurs. Habituellement, les centres d’études sur la ville réunissent surtout des architectes, des urbanistes, des géographes, des sociologues et des politologues. Le tandem a ajouté à cette brigade des juristes, des littéraires, des philosophes, des historiens, des économistes et même des professeurs de médecine. « C’est ce qui nous distingue des autres centres de recherche sur des villes comme ceux de Boston, de Londres ou de Washington. »

Comme ses fondateurs n’ont pas suivi de recette empruntée, le CRIEM ressemble à Montréal. « C’est une chose dont on s’est aperçu après l’avoir créé. En fait, tous les grands centres d’études sur la ville ressemblent à leur ville. »

Il cite le cas de LSE Cities, créé par la London School of Economics et résolument axé sur l’économie. Quant à la BARI (Boston Area Research Initiative), consortium formé du MIT, de l’Université Harvard et de la ville de Boston, elle travaille dans les données quantifiables. À Washington, le Centre Wilson, sous l’autorité du Congrès de par sa charte, est foncièrement politique. « Le CRIEM relève de la Faculté des arts, et ça tombe bien : quand on pense à Montréal, on pense culture, langue, diversité. »

SI MONTRÉAL M’ÉTAIT CONTÉE…

Un thème important des travaux du CRIEM, c’est la recherche du « récit collectif » montréalais. « Il y a les récits individuels, les récits collectifs et les récits transformationnels, ceux qui produisent de l’action et du changement », explique Gorka Espiau, professeur praticien de la Fondation de la famille J.W. McConnell, qui travaille au CRIEM depuis septembre 2016 pour un mandat de deux ans. Basque d’origine, cet ancien directeur des rela-tions internationales et du programme Places de la Fondation Young (à Londres) est un spécialiste des innovations sociales et de la transformation urbaine.

« Quand un mauvais quartier devient cool, c’est parce que le récit a changé. La volonté et la perception ne sont plus les mêmes, tant chez les nouveaux que chez les anciens résidents. C’est pareil au sein d’une ville », dit Gorka Espiau, pour qui le récit n’est pas une conséquence du changement, mais bien sa cause profonde.

« Autrement dit, la transformation est possible quand elle est autorisée socialement. Qu’est-ce qui crée le dé-clic? Comment le renforcer? C’est ça qu’on cherche », explique Pascal Brissette, dont la thèse portait sur les mythes littéraires et les récits collectifs. Pascal Brissette a beaucoup travaillé avec Marc Angenot, professeur émérite titulaire de la Chaire James McGill sur le discours social et père de la théorie du discours social.

« Un récit collectif se nourrit de faits, mais ça ne suffit pas. La preuve, c’est Donald Trump. Ce qui importe, c’est ce que l’on dit des faits », affirme Pascal Brissette, constatant que Montréal et le Québec divergent sur le plan du récit. « En dehors de Montréal, la société tient un discours de perte d’acquis, alors que Montréal, elle, est en reconstruction. Montréal s’est classée première ville étudiante du monde. Sur le continent, c’est la deu-xième ville universitaire après Boston, mais Montréal ne le sait pas encore elle-même. »

Le CRIEM est actuellement le maître d’œuvre d’un ambitieux projet de recherche du récit sur le terrain. « Le but est d’en arriver à un Observatoire des récits de Montréal », dit Gorka Espiau, qui y consacre tout son temps. Une première expérience, appelée Amplifier Gamelin, visait à comprendre le récit collectif entourant le parc Émilie-Gamelin. La deuxième, Amplifier Côte-des-Neiges, vise le même objectif, mais à l’échelle d’un quartier.

La mairesse de Montréal, Valérie Plante (à gauche), participe à une conférence de presse
convoquée en vue de l’annonce de l’octroi de 3,25 millions de dollars au CRIEM.
Étaient également présents à l’événement (de gauche à droite) L. Jacques Ménard,
président de BMO Groupe financier, Québec, Suzanne Fortier, principale de l’Université McGill, et Stephen Huddart, président-directeur général de la Fondation McConnell. (Photo : Paul Fortier)

Ce projet requiert la contribution de l’Université Concordia, de la Fondation McConnell et de Centraide, entre autres partenaires. Le travail, qui occupe neuf employés, dont une demi-douzaine d’ethnographes, consiste en une collecte qualitative de témoignages, d’une part, et en une analyse de mégadonnées puisées dans les ré-seaux sociaux, d’autre part. « Quand on étudie le récit, ce qu’on étudie en réalité, c’est le processus culturel de la transformation », indique Gorka Espiau, qui veut que ce modèle fournisse des informations réelles aux décideurs. « Notre plateforme d’écoute ne servira pas seulement à comprendre, mais à diriger l’action. »

TRANSFORMER MONTRÉAL

Car le véritable objectif du CRIEM, c’est de participer à la transformation de Montréal. Ce qui est en soi un exercice périlleux sur le plan épistémologique. Après tout, pour des chercheurs montréalais et « montréalistes », si convaincus soient-ils, les arbres peuvent cacher la forêt. « D’où l’intérêt d’avoir un Gorka Espiau parmi nous, qui apporte un regard extérieur sur les transformations sociales en cours ici », dit Pascal Brissette.

« Un processus de transformation, ça résulte de mécanismes normatifs, qui découlent de décisions. Habituellement, les études s’arrêtent là. Tout le monde convient que la dimension culturelle de la décision est cruciale, mais personne ne l’étudie », déplore Gorka Espiau. « Parce que les décisions, elles, découlent de l’attitude et du comportement, lequel découle des croyances, qui se fondent sur un système de valeurs. C’est là qu’agit le récit collectif. »

Gorka Espiau dit faire des pas de géant depuis son arrivée au CRIEM, en septembre 2016. « À la Fondation Young, ils sont dans l’économie et le changement social. Ils savent que le récit est important, mais ils saisissent mal son importance. Au CRIEM, ils ont compris ça dès le premier jour. »

Selon Pascal Brissette, une étude en profondeur du récit montréalais est nécessaire pour favoriser la transfor-mation de Montréal. Le récit, c’est ce qui, par-delà les différences, lie les hommes et les femmes qui habitent le territoire ; il recèle aussi bien les conditions du vivre ensemble que de la transformation urbaine. »

Depuis qu’Amazon a annoncé son intention d’ouvrir un second siège social dans une ville du continent, Gorka Espiau observe le brouhaha avec intérêt, alors qu’on ignore si Montréal sera dans la course. « Si Montréal cherche à concurrencer sur la base du prix, ça n’ira nulle part, dit-il. Ça demande plutôt une discussion de haut niveau sur les qualités de l’écosystème montréalais et la place qu’Amazon pourra y occuper. Ça suppose une compréhension fondamentale de ce qu’est Montréal. »

Mais qu’est-ce qui fait Montréal? Sans hésiter, les chercheurs évoquent le secteur culturel, le mouvement coopératif, l’économie sociale et la langue, mais personne ne comprend nettement comment tout cela s’articule avec la mentalité, dont l’un des traits caractéristiques est la diversité. « Les Torontois se sont monté un récit et des slogans sur la diversité, mais pas les Montréalais, même si Montréal est beaucoup plus plurielle dans les faits, avance Annick Germain. Montréal, c’est une diversité assumée, mais peu revendiquée ou affirmée. »

Gorka Espiau en convient : « Les Montréalais imaginent que leur manière de vivre avec la diversité est une chose normale, alors que ça ne l’est pas du tout. C’est tout à fait exceptionnel. C’est un puissant outil de transformation. »

 

Montreal under the microscope


The 50 researchers affiliated with the McGill-led Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal (CIRM) have a single goal in common. They want to know what makes their city tick. “Together, we are trying to understand what makes Montreal,” says Pascal Brissette, a professor of French language and literature at McGill and the director of CIRM.

The CIRM team is busy exploring the things that make Montreal unique. Other cities might have had successes in certain areas that we’re interested in duplicating, but it isn’t a simple or straightforward process, says Bris-sette. “Borrowed formulas only work if we adapt them to who we are. In order to do that, we need to first understand who we are.”

CIRM is part of a growing trend among North American universities to use their research expertise to foster stronger links with their host cities. Other examples include Simon Fraser University’s CityStudio Vancouver and Ryerson University’s City Building Institute.

“It’s a nice occasion for McGill to fully express its identity not just as a university in Quebec, but as one that’s a part of Quebec,” says CIRM’s scientific coordinator Stéphan Gervais, BEd’94, MEd’97.

CIRM’s efforts recently received a substantial boost. At a November event attended by new Montreal mayor Valérie Plante, CIRM announced it had received $3.25 million in funding support — $2.25 million from the BMO Financial Group and $1 million from the McConnell Foundation.

One of CIRM’s chief aims is to strike up partnerships outside university walls. CIRM members are working with the City of Montreal, for instance, to develop a child policy for the city. Part of the money that CIRM received from BMO will go towards hiring a knowledge transfer and partnership advisor who will help to build links be-tween CIRM and other organizations in the city with an eye towards using CIRM expertise to bolster Montreal’s social, cultural and economic development.

Thanks to support from the McConnell Foundation, Gorka Espiau is CIRM’s J.W. McConnell Foundation Visiting Professor of Practice. The former director of international affairs for the Young Foundation in Britain, Espiau is an expert on social innovation and urban transformation. “He brings an outsider’s perspective to the social transformations going on here,” says Brissette.

Espiau is leading an effort at CIRM that looks at “collective narratives.” “When a bad neighbourhood becomes a cool one, it’s because the narrative has changed. The will and percep-tion of the residents have changed. The same is true of cities,” says Espiau. “So what’s the spark that gets [that] process going?” adds Brissette. “And how do you reinforce it once it’s started? That’s what we are look-ing for.”

An ongoing project, one that has attracted support from Concordia University, the McConnell Foundation and Centraide, is examining the collective narrative for the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. Personal testimonies collected from residents are being combined with an analysis of mega data gleaned from social media.

According to CIRM members, Montrealers don’t always fully appreciate their own narrative or the things that make their city special. “Montreal [was named] the best city in the world for students and is the sec-ond-biggest university city in North America after Boston, but Montrealers don’t know it yet!” says Brissette.

“Toronto has put together a narrative and slogans about diversity. Not Montreal — even if Montreal is actually more diverse,” says Annick Germain, a member of CIRM’s executive committee and a professor at the Montreal-based Institut national de la recherche scientifique. She believes Montrealers largely take this characteris-tic of their city for granted. Espiau agrees. “Montrealers imagine their diversity is normal when it’s not. It’s really exceptional. And it’s a powerful tool for transformation.”

by Jean-Benoît Nadeau, BA’92 (translated by Julie Barlow, BA’91)

A glimpse of the good future

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. These famous words, uttered on an icy January afternoon in 1933 during Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural address, continue to resonate 85 years later. In Europe’s cities today, they carry particular weight, as the pessimism barometer seems to rise inexorably.

Roosevelt issued his rallying call at a time when the US – and indeed the global economy – seemed on the brink of collapse. The incoming President assumed office at an inauspicious time, with one in four Americans out of work. Today, in footballing terms, we might call it a ‘hospital pass’ – a very unwelcome gift. Of course, FDR, advised by the best brains in the country, had ambitious plans to put America back to work – what he would refer to as the New Deal. But he knew that while those plans took shape, he would have to address the psychological damage inflicted by the Great Depression. Overcoming the fear that gripped the country was the first step to stabilization – and to staving off the extremists.

Today in Europe, fear is all around us. People are afraid that their jobs will disappear – taken over by robots, undercut by migrants or outsourced to parts of the world where labour is cheaper. They worry that the welfare state will have disappeared by the time they retire and that they will no longer be able to live in their neighbourhoods as property prices rise and our great cities become the preserve of the rich. Worst of all, they fear that their children’s lives will be worse than theirs, corroding the most valuable commodity – hope.

Fear and uncertainty are happy hunting grounds for scaremongers. We have already experienced this with BREXIT and the rise of Trump. Within mainland Europe we also see it in those Member States building walls and rewriting history. Facts are not allowed to get in the way of these new populist narratives.

Our cities ignore these developments at their peril. Although fear can be irrational, the root causes – concerns about life’s fundamentals; home; food; work – require us all to sit up and take note. In the face of this challenge, how can our cities respond?

The Future is already here

It’s too early to state with any certainty the patterns that will define the 21st Century; however some early distinctions seem evident. One is the decline of ‘systemic’ solutions – the so-called ‘isms’ of the 20th Century (Socialism, Fascism, Communism etc) – for more pragmatic alternatives. Another is the rebalancing of power between nation states and cities. Mayors may not rule the world just yet, but the trend of devolution towards regional and metropolitan solutions continues. As Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution noted in a recent interview:

I would say that there has been a de facto memo sent out by the national government and most states to city-regions and counties: you are in charge of the future. You, literally, are going to need to figure out how to fund those things, those activities — whether it’s innovation, whether it’s infrastructure, whether it’s inclusion — that really set the platform for growth, prosperity, and equity. That the nation-state really had become sclerotic and non-entrepreneurial. It lacks the discretion and the agility to adapt to what is fast-changing societal challenges and fast-changing technological disruption.”

Although this process of renegotiation will not happen overnight, in some places it’s well under way. As William Gibson once noted: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Where it is here, cities are looking to address the existential issues we face. As well as climate change, this means ensuring that all citizens have enough to address their basic human needs. In line with the New Urban Agenda, this means tackling poverty, UN Habitat’s first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Shameful but true, that in 21st Century Europe we still face such basic challenges.

Within URBACT, cities are bringing fresh thinking and innovative policies to these age-old challenges. Amongst these is the rethinking of welfare, driven by a combination of conclusions. One is in anticipation of a future where there may be fewer or different type of jobs as a result of automation. Another is the recognition that despite millions of euros invested in improving the infrastructure of our most deprived neighbourhoods, the most vulnerable in society often remain unaffected. Too often, displacement and gentrification have been the result.

The wave of activity around the Universal basic Income (UBI) reflects this need for new thinking. It acknowledges the need for a safety net when levels of precariousness are rising. In it’s purest form, UBI provides a flat payment to every citizen. It places recipients under no obligation to undertake tasks in exchange for payment and so is what economists’ term, unconditional.

UBI is radical and divisive. It is loved and hated by sections of the old ‘Left’ and “Right’ in equal measure. Currently, variations of the model are being piloted globally, most notably in Finland, the Netherlands and, later in 2018, Scotland. As part of the URBACT Urbinclusion network– as well as through Urban Innovative Actions , Barcelona is developing its own approach to this challenge. Targeting two of the city’s poorest barrios, the Catalan capital is testing a Minimum Income model, providing citizens with a guaranteed minimum level of income, to ensure they are above the poverty line. In this case however, receipt of support is conditional upon beneficiaries agreeing to give back to the community, for example in the form of volunteering.

Lifting the lid on the new world of work

Looking ahead, to what a meaningful life will be in 21st century urban Europe, many see civic participation as part of the story. In a digital world of different jobs and rising social isolation compassionate action may, in the words of George Monbiot, give people “what work once promised: meaning, purpose, place, community.”

Certainly, mobilizing active citizenship is a common factor to those cities looking to promote more cohesive communities, which we can see through URBACT networks like CHANGE! Again, this policy discussion touches upon the Future of Work debate, whilst connecting to other fundamental issues, most notably the need to reinvigorate democracy and to address the growing epidemic of urban loneliness and isolation.

But although paid work may play a less important role in future, it remains a pressing and immediate policy priority right now. This is where we desperately need innovative solutions.

Today, many Europeans remain unemployed, particularly young people in the South. Ten years on from the Global Financial Crisis, the most recent EU data indicates that in Greece the 2017 youth unemployment rate was 41%, in Spain 37% and in Italy 32%.

However, it is not just the unemployed who are poor. In work poverty affects 8% of the working age population in OECD countries. The scale of the informal economy, the rise of the Gig Economy and the seasonal nature of sectors like tourism, mean that increasing numbers in work lead precarious lives. There is extensive evidence that in many parts of Europe wage rates have not recovered from the 2008 crash. OECD analysis showed that in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and the United Kingdom in 2015, hourly wages were 25% below what they should have been if normal wage growth had continued. For Hungary, Greece and Ireland the gap was over 20%. Only Germany bucked this depressing trend.

Meanwhile, the growing disparity between those at the top and those at the bottom of the employment chain fuels the sense amongst ordinary workers that no one is fighting their corner and that inequality is inevitable. On average, the 10% wealthiest households hold half of total wealth in the OECD countries; the next richest 50% hold almost the entire other half, while the 40 % least wealthy own little over 3%.

In the UK, calculations by the GMB Trade Union to mark the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of the Minimum Wage showed that the salary of top executives had increased by 354% to an average of UK£4.35 million per annum. In this same period the minimum wage had risen by £7.50 per hour. And of course there is a gender dimension to this unequal state of affairs, with women in the EU earning on average 16% less per hour than their male counterparts.

These structural inequalities undermine citizens’ trust in our institutions. They exacerbate the sense of frustration with policy makers and, ultimately, create a climate that can be manipulated by those wishing to destroy the cohesive urban model which, for many, represents the best of Europe.

A mix of old and new

Again, the question comes: what can cities do? Part of the solution is adopting agile responses to the new challenges created by the digital economy. For example, municipalities can regulate to mitigate the potential damage caused by the extractive platform business models. Many cities have already taken steps to limit the damage caused by the major players such as Uber and Airbnb. They are also exploring how these new technologies can be harnessed for good.

But as well as developing new responses, sometimes we need to pay attention to familiar concepts that might have a new found relevance. Like those who champion UBI as an old idea whose time has come, growing numbers of cities are turning to another long-standing model as an effective tool to tackle growing inequalities in the workplace – the Co operative business.

The concept of the co-operative business, as we recognize it, dates back to the north of England in the mid 19th century. Behind it, is the basic idea that workers own the business in which they work. More recently, another version has emerged where the cooperative business is owned by its customers – as is the case with many food coops. Emerging during the early industrial revolution, cooperatives evolved alongside the growing organisation of the industrial working class. Forged by tight-knot mutually supporting communities, the model spread around the globe.

Fast forward to 2018 and cooperatives remain alive and well in Europe. We find them throughout the EU, with deep roots in particular regions. One of the best known of these is in the Mondragon Valley in the Basque Country. From humble beginnings in 1956, the Mondragon Corporation has expanded into a business comprising 261 companies employing almost 75,000 worldwide. Operating an annual turnover of €12 billion per year, much of Mondragon’s production revolves around high quality manufactured goods. Despite its growth, the group remains wedded to an established code of cooperative principles which include:

  • Open admission
  • Democratic organisation
  • Participatory management
  • 1 to 7 payment ratio, and
  • Inter-solidarity mechanisms

The Mondragon Valley, comprising a cluster of small municipal authorities, provides an example of how an innovative ecosystem can cover a territory comprising sub-urban and rural communities. On every level, cooperation is at its heart: cooperation between public and private sector, between businesses, voluntary sector, academia and between communities. This valley presents extraordinary indicators in relation with GDP per capita, but also secondary and university education, life expectancy, poverty and equality.

Mondragon is a structure which is constantly evolving and reinventing itself. As it does so, it generates a need for new products and services that are met by the start up of new cooperative businesses. So, as well as servicing external customers, within the group there is a strong internal market where cooperatives buy and sell from one another. They collaborate and compete with each other at the same time and there is no central command. This continuous and distributed innovation system generates resilience. It is one of the distinctive features driving the business that should be better understood for other social business to operate at scale. For many, Mondragon needs to be interpreted as a social innovation ecosystem that is reinventing the rationale and methods of social transformation movements in the context of Industry 4.0 competitiveness strategies.

Another is the quality of life offered by working for the Mondragon Group. In many other businesses of this scale, the CEO will earn many multiples of the salary of their regular employees. In a Mondragon Cooperative, typically the CEO will earn no more than seven times the salary of a shop floor employee. Perhaps even more importantly, all employees will take lunch in the same staff canteen, reinforcing the sense of solidarity and social connection. Equality makes Mondragon more competitive.

The value of cooperatives in such communities although distinctive in the Basque country is not unique. Parts of Italy – in particular Emilia Romagna – have long been established as centres of cooperative business activity, particularly in sectors including furniture and food production. A recent investigation into Finnish cooperatives reported that this small country has more cooperative members (5.4 million) than its entire population. The article quotes Finnish Nobel Prize winner A. I. Vertanen noting that:

We have no Rockefellers or Carnegies, but we do have co-operatives.”

At a time when an interest in workplace democracy and tackling economic inequality is rising, there is a renewed interest in cooperatives as being part of the solution. As businesses they generate jobs. As principled businesses they seek to create meaningful employment, giving workers a say in the running of the operation. As equitable organisations they strive to tackle the gap between the highest and lowest paid, offering employees a genuine stake in their own destiny and the organization’s future. What we see in places like the Mondragon Valley is a large-scale manifestation of the European Commission´s commitment towards inclusive growth, a principled business model firmly rooted within the local community. One of the 97 URBACT Good Practices reflects this growing interest amongst cities in supporting cooperative businesses. Cooperative City, Glasgow, is an example of a municipality reinventing how it engages with citizens to design and redevelop services. The principle of co-design is at the heart of this transformation. The model includes the establishment of new platforms to collaborate with citizens and local organisations. It also includes a financial package to support the development of cooperatives.

The aim of the Cooperative Business Development Fund is to provide financial and structural support for the establishment of cooperatives, mutual and social enterprises. The support package is cross-sectoral and to date it has invested over €7,700,000 in new enterprises, through 56 awards. This has created or safeguarded over 325 jobs and volunteer positions.

A glimpse of the good future?

What can cities take from this? For sure, a greater sense of responsibility and a green light to find their own solutions. Alongside that, a clear message that they are not alone. Across Europe, sister cities are keen to share and explore together, through URBACT and other channels. Finally, in the confusing rush of the New, lets not overlook potential solutions that may already be familiar – like Cooperatives. As Victor Hugo, who also visited the Basque Country pointed out: “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Gorka Espiau & Eddy Adams

Putting Innovation in a Box

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The Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP) is organizing, with multiple partners, a week of conferences, workshops and roundtables focused on public policy supporting innovation and intellectual property in Montreal.

Innovation week schedule > Programme de la semaine

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RSVP/information (les places sont limitées):  cipp1.law@mcgill.ca.

Mon > Lun 19 The End of Innovation as We Know It with Richard Gold (CIPP/CPPI, McGill)

12h-13h30, McGill Law (3644 Peel, room 316), $20 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

Tue > Mar 20 From Big Data and Open Data to Community Actions and Impacts with Gorka Espiau (CIRM/CRIEM, McGill), Stéphane Guidoin, Charles-Antoine Julien, Jean-Noé Landry, Pierre Luc Bacon, Geneviève Boisjoly

13h30-15h30, CEIM (20 Queen Street)

Wed > Mer 21 Law and the Blockchain: A Crash Course with Allison Christians (McGill), Max Jarvie, Kendra Rossi, Marc Richardson Arnoud

12h-14hMcGill Law (3644 Peel, room 316), $30 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

Thu > Jeu 22 Putting Innovation in a Box: Tax and IP Policy, Society, and the State with Allison Christians and Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse (McGill), Nicolas Binctin, Alessandra Flamini, Irma Mosquera, Lyne Latulippe, Alain Strowel, Edoardo Traversa, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Laurens van Apeldoorn

13h30-17h30, CEIM (20 Queen Street),  $50 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

Fri > Ven 23 Innovating at the International Level – CETA, BREXIT, NAFTA with Armand de Mestral (McGill), Marc Bungenberg, Charles-Emmanuel Côté, Henri Culot, Graeme Dinwoodie, Alain Strowel, Edoardo Traversa, Lukas Vanhonnaeker

9h00-15h00, Faculty Club (3450 McTavish), $50 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

For more details about the events, click here.