Grassroots Economics Kenya ~ Community-Currencies

Grassroots Economics is a non-profit foundation that seeks to empower marginalized communities to take charge of their own livelihoods and economic future. We focus on community development through economic empowerment and community currency programs. Beneficiaries of our programs include small businesses and people living in informal settlements as well as rural areas. GE is proud to have a rich history in community development programs thanks to it’s many partners.

Our goal is to improve the lives of those who are most vulnerable. We use approaches such as participatory education and in-depth research and community profiling to understand needs and design programs with meaningful impacts.

In 2010, we began the first pilot programs in Mombasa and Nairobi, which were awarded as one of the top innovations in Africa at the Forum Afrique in Paris. Thus far, our community currency programs have been supported by organizations in France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, and the United States.

Over the last two years, GE (formerly known as Koru-Kenya) has grown tremendously in the number of people we serve and the expansion of our currency programs. At this point we are close to our maximum programming capacity, with nearly all of our programs and services fully booked through the end of this year. Yet demand continues to grow. After winning a precedent setting court case, community currencies were deemed legal by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the groundwork has been created to expand these currencies wherever communities are unable to access the national currency.

COMMUNITY CURRENCY
A community currency is a regionally based means of exchange that does not replace but rather supplements the national currency system. Through increasing trade by matching unmet local needs with under utilized local resources, community currencies enable sustainable environmental and social development programs. Community Currencies are distinct from the wider field of financial innovations because they are set up with the asset and productive capacity backing of the communities that will ultimately use them.

Read more: http://www.grassrootseconomics.org/community-currencies

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The Ecotopia 2121 Project

The Ecotopia 2121 Project sets out to represent 100 cities throughout the world as they would appear in the year 2121 — if they’ve managed to survive and become super eco-friendly.

Over three years of research, fieldwork, seminars, travel, discussion, theorizing, writing, and drawing — a compendium of 100 illustrated stories was assembled together about how 100 cities from around the world can transform into Green Utopias by the year 2121AD. The 100 selected cities include famous places like London, New York and Paris but also some faraway places you’ve probably never heard of.  Also included are mysterious cities like El Dorado, Timbuktoo, Xanadu and Shangri La — which may sound like fantasy and fiction but, actually, they’re all real cities.

Go to: http://www.ecotopia2121.com/

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Housing In Dublin In Sixty Four 1964

Sixty Four: Woman speaking to John O’Donoghue about her move from Dublin city centre to new housing in Finglas.

How do current living and housing conditions in Dublin compare with 1964? The RTÉ television series ‘Sixty Four’ broadcast a report on the housing situation in Ireland’s capital city.
How do current living and housing conditions in Dublin compare with 50 years ago? In 1964 RTÉ television series ‘Sixty Four’ broadcast a report on the housing situation in Ireland’s capital city.

In this clip from the programme John O’Donoghue looks at the history of Georgian Dublin. By 1964 many of the Georgian buildings in Dublin city centre, which were built in the 18th century, were falling down, being demolished or both. O’Donoghue remarks “Once the proud townhouses and residences of the wealthy, the decorated ceilings are now falling down.”
Many of the landlords of these Georgian buildings claim that the tenants themselves have deliberately damaged the properties in order to get them condemned and moved out to new corporation housing estates in the suburbs.

Go to: http://www.rte.ie/from-georgian-slums-to-the-suburbs-1964/

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Mariell Juhlin ~ The Difficult Nature Of Housing

It is truly a tall order to fully understand the contribution of housing to growth, welfare and prosperity among individuals and societies. The field is generally under-researched and under-funded. Where there is research, it is often concentrated on a specific issue within a topical area such as: the link between labour market mobility and housing availability; the effect of poor housing on individual health outcomes, or the macro-economic risk of increased household indebtedness.

Rarely does housing research capture, or attempt to capture, the full socio-economic and dynamic effects of housing on individuals and society. Still, housing is affected by, and in turn affects, most other societal areas from architecture to private sector development. An obvious explanation is that housing markets are too complex to be described by unitary market equilibrium models and would require an empirical basis for submarket modelling. This, however, has not been embraced in applied research to any greater extent and, when it’s been done, it has been subject to inconsistency. The likely implication of this is that the effects of a functional, or indeed a dysfunctional, housing market may be both under-estimated and under-valued in literature and policy-research.

Read more: https://www.socialeurope.eu/difficult-nature-housing/#

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The Guardian ~ Britain’s Housing Crisis Is So Serious That It Must Be Tackled Now

A boost for childcare in the autumn statement would be a profoundly depressing move. And it will be just as dispiriting if there are new programmes to help low-income families. Not because these measures aren’t to be warmly welcomed: it is just that it will tell you that the chancellor is focused on tinkering rather than boldly tackling the most pressing crisis of the age: housing.

Last week saw several heavyweight reports into Britain’s housing crisis. The Redfern review, detailing the catastrophic slump in home ownership, told us how real house prices have jumped 151% since 1996, while real earnings have risen only about a quarter as much.

The report by the ResPublica thinktank, out the next day, told us how 1.2 million people are languishing on housing waiting lists in England, while more than 6 million face tenure insecurity and no prospect of ever buying their own home.

Lyons Housing Commission reminded us last week how, after decades of failure to build the homes the country needs, public concern about housing is the highest it has been for 40 years.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/britains-housing-crisis

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Martin Gambrill ~ Addressing The Urban Sanitation Crisis: Time For A Radical Shift

Children in Maputo, Mozambique Photo credit: Isabel Blackett/The World Bank

Children in Maputo, Mozambique
Photo credit:
Isabel Blackett/The World Bank

A successful city is economically and culturally vibrant, healthy, safe, clean and attractive to business and tourism, and provides quality of life to its citizens. This vision is appealing but remains hard to realize as developing cities have to cope with changing demographics and climate with limited financial and human resources. The sustainable development goals have given a new impetus for cities to be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG11), ensure citizens’ health and wellbeing (SDG3) and secure access to sustainable water and sanitation services (SDG6).

World Toilet Day on November 19th is the opportunity to remind ourselves of a few facts and propose a set of guiding principles for a renewed and revitalized urban sanitation agenda.

Many cities struggle to deal with the most basic municipal task of managing human excreta. Some are effectively “drowning” in human waste. Urban population growth continuously outpaces gains in improved sanitation access and, globally, nearly one billion people live in urban slums with poor or no sanitation. Only 26% of urban excreta is deemed to be safely managed. The results? Environmental degradation, endemic disease leading to mortality and morbidity, especially among children, poor school attendance and performance, low productivity, constraints on the delivery of essential urban services such as housing, transport, safe water and drainage, and, ultimately, limits on economic growth and urban development. In short, a silent crisis that impedes the realization of the urban transformation framed in SDG11.

Read more: https://blogs.worldbank.org/water/addressing-urban-sanitation

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