Overview of project examples

Following an initial review and organization of project examples submitted/identified during 2014-2015, approximately 50 examples were selected that were most in keeping with the intents of the research project. Through an iterative process, they were sorted into three broad categories based on the macro goals that guided them (described below). Brief profiles of a subset of these projects are provided here, with links to further information. We welcome additional examples - please contact the Culturizing Sustainable Cities project at: duxbury@ces.uc.pt


1. Restore ecosystems - re-nature cities

Projects with a core environmental focus include those that aim to directly improve the state of the environment, often focused on a particular site or on a particular environmental theme within a broader geographic scope (e.g., water, bird migration, bee habitats, invasive species). Closely related to this goal (but not identical) is to foster improved human-nature connections/relationships. A second subtype of environmentally focused project is primarily concerned with changing or eliminating "bad environmental behavior" of individuals or organisations.
2. Co-build better city/community through in situ actions

Guided by a holistic definition of sustainability, this group of initiatives has more of a social or holistic outlook than the previous ones, which are primarily focused on the natural environment. The key element linking these projects is a macro goal to collectively co-design and co-build a "more sustainable" city or community, envisioning and developing the frameworks or scaffolding that will support local evolution and development into the future. This goal is underpinned by the principles of empowering people/communities to act and facilitating progressive changes, similar to the empowerment dimension in the first set of projects but with a wider and more comprehensive "community development" focus.
3. Generate and demonstrate alternative ways of living

This group of creative projects (often artist or designer-led) aims to demonstrate "what can happen" by way of alternative pathways and approaches. These "alternative" projects range from cooperative projects to advance social connections in a neighbourhood and (potentially) instill "passion for civic involvement" through to generating ideas and modelling alternate ways to do things - from sharing services and cooperative enterprises to activist appropriation of spaces to develop alternate eco-communities or to resist/protest against corporate/institutional/systemic/macro neoliberal trends and injustices. In these examples, processes of imagining alternatives as well as making are central. Although sometimes the alternatives are presented as ideas rather than functioning prototypes, this category is distinguished by its focus on invention, experimental doing, practice-based learning, and "demonstration".
Overview of categories  1. Restore ecosystems – re-nature cities  2. Co-build better city/community through in situ actions  3. Generate and demonstrate alternative ways of living