Volume 2

Volume 2

enhancing creative community resilience

Christian Bason, Director of Innovation, MindLab

Ania Rok, Project Officer – Urban Governance & Sustainability Management, ICLEI Europe

Volume 2 is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- NoDerivative license. You can buy the book here, or read it online in two formats.

TIP: click on the image above to zoom in and read in full-screen mode (you can hide the menu bar by clicking on [x]). Enabling City is also available in French, Spanish, Italian and German.


Three years and thousands of readers later, Enabling City is back with a new book.

Packed with inspiring prompts and provocations, this volume explores the relationship between public space and democracy, the links between the commons and resilience and, ultimately, the role that social innovation can and must play in order to safeguard and advance both.

With a total of 80 initiatives hailing from over 40 countries, Volume 2 celebrates the efforts of everyday communities as they respond to the challenges and opportunities of urbanization, and the issues influencing larger ecological, economic, and emancipatory trends worldwide.

Groundbreaking organizations like Shareable Magazine, the new economics foundation and MIT CoLab contribute 8 guest articles that complement the compelling stories of courage, vision and determination at the heart of this impressive book. A series of infographics guide a more critical engagement with popular practices like civic crowdfunding and smart city planning, while an original proposal for a School of Civic Creativity celebrates the type of collaborative skills required for participatory projects to thrive.

As creative thinking redefines everyday life in urban centres, the power of place-based creative problem-solving is spreading into the suburbs, small towns, and diverse settlements of the world.

This volume of Enabling City reminds of the power of our imagination, and invites us to make the most of it.

David Dodman, Senior Researcher, Cities and Climate Change, IIED


Advance Praise for Volume 2

“Chiara Camponeschi has written a powerful contribution to our thinking about the future of cities. Collectively, the essays, articles and cases presented in this volume provide more than insight and inspiration – they demonstrate the emergence of a very different kind of urban reality: human, sharing, inclusive, resilient, innovative. The ideas in this book should influence anyone involved with urban and civic development, whether professionally or personally. Enabling City will be a tremendously valuable resource for many years to come.”

Christian Bason, Director of Innovation, MindLab

“This book demonstrates how inspiration and commitment can transform cities in ways that improve the wellbeing of their residents. But it is much more than a set of anecdotes – Volume 2 is tied together with insights from scholar-activists who help us think through the challenges of enabling the majority of the world’s population to harness their own creativity and enthusiasm, and to instigate and strengthen community responses to some of the 21st century’s greatest challenges. By encouraging the reader to consider ideas such as innovation, resilience, wellbeing and participation, the author and contributors provide a vision of “enabling cities” that is both ambitious and achievable.”

David Dodman, Senior Researcher, Cities and Climate Change, IIED–International Institute for Environment and Development

“Civil society has become increasingly able to create value, and the concept of a Partner State has been proposed as a vision of how public authorities can become facilitating and supportive entities. At the city level, this gives us the Enabling City – a city that creates policies and infrastructures that enable its citizens to create thriving and meaningful lives through their chosen productive and associative activities. This book, which describes a variety of such experiences, is therefore long overdue. Before it can exist at the regional and state level, Enabling City will have shown the way. This is a first record of these pioneering experiences and their theoretisation.”

Michel Bauwens, founder, Peer-to-Peer Foundation

“Cities are the frontline of transitions to sustainability; it is in urban contexts that new solutions emerge, driven by networks of pioneers in all domains of society. The most advanced cities create spaces for co-production, learning and diversity, rather than adopting generic and large-scale solutions. Thereby, they are able to create increasingly resilient communities, networks and solutions that fit their own time and context. This very timely book gives an outstanding and diverse overview of the ways in which cities and citizens can and should organize such creative co-production. To me, it is another great source of inspiration to keep finding new and effective ways of creating space for change.”

Dr. Derk Loorbach, director, DRIFT–Dutch Research Institute For Transitions

“The second volume of Enabling City brings even more insight into how people all over the world are turning their cities and communities around – and how we can do that, too. But it is not (only) for these ideas that you should read this book. To notice a pattern emerge from thousands of seemingly unrelated stories you need a proper lens, and Chiara Camponeschi’s narrative of “place-based creative problem solving” is that lense. Enabling City provides us with a way to make sense of the shift that is taking place around and within us. It is a powerful message of hope that doesn’t shy away from the urgency and complexity of the challenges ahead.”

Ania Rok, Project Officer – Urban Governance and Sustainability Management, ICLEI Europe

“Enabling City gives us reason to be optimistic about the future. Chiara Camponeschi thoughtfully explores macro-trends in urban sustainability, taking the reader on a global journey to visit inspiring projects that challenge the status quo and shine a light on new alternative systems taking shape today.”

Satsuko VanAntwerp, Manager – Social Innovation, Social Innovation Generation (SiG)

“Chiara Camponeschi’s Enabling City Volume 2 is beautifully written and presents very powerful ideas on how to create cities for all. Public space is where we meet each other as equals, where we develop a sense of belonging and where democracy, human rights, and sustainability find their highest expression. At a time of tremendous population growth, Chiara’s concepts contribute a great deal to the discussion of how to provide ways to improve our current cities and how to build vibrant and healthy communities where millions will live over the next centuries.”

Gil Penalosa, Executive Director, 8-80 Cities