"The purpose of utopia? To cause us to advance". So explore an Atlas of Utopias - in water, energy and housing
"Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance."
– Eduardo Galeano
We are interested in a politics framed as an "I - We - World" process - connecting up individual, collective and global power. So anything that tries to adopt a global perspective, about initiatives driven by individuals and communities, we want to promote.
The Atlas of Utopias is a global gallery of inspiring community-led transformation in water, energy and housing.
The atlas features 32 communities from 19 countries who responded to the Transformative Cities initiative which seeks to learn from cities working on radical solutions to our world’s systemic economic, social and ecological crises.
The atlas is by no means a comprehensive mapping of transformative practices. Transformation in one area such as water management does not necessarily mean transformative practice elsewhere in the city. Nevertheless, the atlas showcases inspiring stories of communities challenging entrenched power and boldly developing alternatives.
These range from small villages in Bolivia to international cities like Paris that have even defeated multinational corporations and hostile national governments in order to deliver democratic, people-powered solutions on water, energy and housing.
The cases show how public solutions based on principles of cooperation and solidarity rather than competition and private profit have been more successful in meeting people’s basic needs – and perhaps just as importantly in creating a spirit of confidence and empowerment that strengthen communities for many other challenges. These initiatives demonstrate in practice that another world is possible, and is already happening.
Some of our favourites include:
- Cooperation Jackson (Missisippi, US)
- Network for energy sovereignty (Catalonia)
- Our Water, Our Rights (Lagos, Nigeria)
- Women Workers Cooperative Builds Tens of Thousands of Homes (Jaipur, India)