Compendium for the Civic Economy



After we ran out of the first edition already by late last year, we are very happy to announce that the Compendium for the Civic Economy is available again in print. The 2nd edition, published by trancityxvaliz, is identical to the first except for the cover and a Foreword to the 2nd edition, in which we reflect on developments around the civic economy since the book was first published in May 2011.

To get a copy, order through your local bookstore or online:
United Kingdom:
The Netherlands:
North america:
Rest of the world:

On the genealogy of the Compendium for the Civic Economy…

So the Compendium for the Civic Economy launched last week – for more information visit the NESTA website.

To start this blog we thought it’d be good to tell a bit about the genealogy of this book. We started talking about this idea here in the office in late 2009 / early 2010. On the one hand we realised that projects we had been involved with over the past few years, like Demos’ Urban Beach in Bristol and the Hub, all suggested a way of practicing spatial interventions which did not fit comfortably with the dominant urban policy narrative of the time – but which opened up powerful possibilities, experiences and conversations. On the other hand we recognised the deep crisis of purpose in the world of regeneration and place-making – a crisis that had become glaringly obvious in the wake of the financial crash, but that of course had been latent for a while, the inevitable result of the woefully thin value often created in the real-estate driven ‘regeneration’ projects of the past decade.

So we wanted to make manifest a wider range of initiatives, projects and ventures that collectively showed a glimpse of the way forward.

This was all about operating under a different set of parameters. After the crash, the absence of ‘big public’ or ‘big private’ funding made more of the same classic physical infrastructure-driven projects impossible or much more difficult to achieve. So what were instead the projects that were relevant, viable, purposeful to pursue? We had organised an early series of debates about this together with the Architecture Foundation, and it also became the question that led to our book project and its 25 detailed case studies. The case studies range from citizen-built edible public spaces and member-led supermarkets to new communities of practice for social entrepreneurs, and from locally funded superfast broadband and self-commissioned housing to peer-to-peer ride sharing websites. What the book shows is how these are based on the initiatives of an increasingly wide range of civic-minded pioneers in the private, public and social enterprise sector, and that crucially they are built on local strengths – whether existing or latent social networks, people’s skills and aspirations, and dormant physical assets.

In the office, we sometimes spoke about this project as a ‘critical coffee-table’ publication – because we realised it needed to be both highly illustrated and analytical. After all, we wanted to show, on the one hand, the tangible quality of the projects that we had researched, and on the other hand reflect on what is required to create the fertile ground for this economy to flourish and grow. Therefore we aimed our book to help build an evidence base of existing projects, and to give pointers to the kind of policies, attitudes, prototyping projects and conversations that local leaders (whether in Local Authorities or otherwise) now need to engage in

The result? We’d like to hear what you think. Most importantly, it is part of an ongoing conversation – we build on the research and / or practice of a wide range of people like Robin Murray, Tessy Britton, Umair Haque and organisations like Space Makers, Agency or those collected in the Spatial Agency project – to name just a few. Our book is part of a discourse that itself is flourishing and becoming ever more powerful – in sum: to be continued…


Launch of the Compendium for the Civic Economy

The Compendium for the Civic Economy launched Thursday 12th May 2011.


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About the Book

Against the context of rapid economic, social and environmental change, a collective reflection is taking place on how to build more sustainable routes to shared prosperity. In the meantime, an increasing number and wide range of change-makers are already finding ways to imagine and grow a different economy in our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages.
This book presents 25 case studies of this civic economy... the remarkable achievements of these 25 trailblazers show why we need to get better at understanding and recognising the role of civic entrepreneurship and enable it to turn ideas into action and impact.

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23 months ago
23 months ago
Couldn't agree more! "@nesta_uk: Inderpaul Johar - Social businesses and social enterprises are on a convergence course #civiceconomy"
23 months ago
RT @nesta_uk: Inderpaul Johar - Social businesses and social enterprises are on a convergence course #civiceconomy
23 months ago
RT @nesta_uk: Inderpaul Johar - Social businesses and social enterprises are on a convergence course #civiceconomy
23 months ago