People holding each others

Solidarity is fairness in action

#Solidarity

A sustainable and just city is built on solidarity. It fosters the sharing of abundance in time and resources through equitable redistributive mechanisms and sharing programs. Bottom-up social and affordable housing programs are supported and strengthened through robust regulation. Shared forms of housing and care-oriented ways of living and working are encouraged and supported. Sustainable and affordable food networks are woven together to support local farmers and offer high-quality sustenance for residents.

Solidarity can be fostered by funding schemes such as financial practices and instruments, participatory budgeting, and also by enhancing governance and participation processes. Policies and practices for inclusion of disadvantaged groups can lead to increased multi-stakeholder partnership, as local impact is seen and felt. Central is the role of sharing and cooperatives for urban commons, which, in the spirit of care and solidarity, work for and with vulnerable and marginalised groups.

A sustainable and just city based on solidarity seeks to involve the most vulnerable and marginalised people in multiple processes that shape their territories. Tapping into existing community networks is a vital first step to maximising the inclusion of the greatest diversity of voices and perspectives. This must be followed up by city authorities committing to a meaningful participation process that recognizes traditional power imbalances against such groups and by the bridging of different stakeholder groups to implement co-created community visions. If vulnerable groups and communities feel tricked, exposed or duped, their participation can be quickly turned against existing systems.

Solidarity is often needed for communities fighting against physical injustices due to uneven environmental health and pollution patterns. Furthermore, solidarity is key for addressing forms of racialized or ethnically exclusionary urbanisation, as well as urban communities impacted by evictions and gentrification processes caused by unquestioned Neoliberal growth and austerity urbanism. Solidarity is fairness in action, with key battles consisting of simply seeking balance in uneven and exclusionary urban intensification and regeneration, strengthening of weak(ened) civil society, remediation or replacement of unfit institutional structures and solutions to limited citizen participation in urban planning. Solidarity can be manifested at the local level, but also translocally.

  • “Once mechanisms are put in place for people to be able to support others in their community, it's incredible to see how many people want to be involved, how committed they get and what a difference people can make.” (Emma Erwin of Transition Stirling)
  • “Solidarity describes very well the components of a city. It contains the basic needs that should be accessible for everyone (housing and nutrition) but also sheds light on the fact that living goes beyond those needs: caring for each other, sharing, sustainability.” (Nina Rosstalnyj, Central European University (CEU))  

Inspirational example

Fighting hunger while reducing retail food waste, Vantaa (Finland)

Instead of throwing away food, factories, wholesalers and supermarkets can donate their food to the Shared Table network where centralized collection then leads to distribution of the surplus through communal meals and bags of food to take home.

The model was developed by the City of Vantaa and Vantaa Parish Union in 2015, and it has been adopted by other cities across Finland. In addition to helping people in need of food, the model has also successfully reduced food waste, provided jobs for long-term unemployed people and reduced loneliness with its community- and welfare-based approach to food aid. According to Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Vantaa has managed to reduce retail food waste by 1 kg per inhabitant with this model.

The first Shared Table –network centralized food collection team, autumn 2015.

Avenues for action

You might be wondering, what everyday actions can I take to put all this theory into practice? Take a look at the avenues for action, below, for some practical guidance.

Get inspired!

This is recommended related external content and can be viewed by clicking on it. By clicking you consent to the display of external content. This enables personal data to be transmitted to third-party platforms.

Read more about our privacy policy.

Wloclawek Point of Food Sharing

This is recommended related external content and can be viewed by clicking on it. By clicking you consent to the display of external content. This enables personal data to be transmitted to third-party platforms.

Read more about our privacy policy.

UrbanA logo

This is recommended related external content and can be viewed by clicking on it. By clicking you consent to the display of external content. This enables personal data to be transmitted to third-party platforms.

Read more about our privacy policy.

Environmental racism

This is recommended related external content and can be viewed by clicking on it. By clicking you consent to the display of external content. This enables personal data to be transmitted to third-party platforms.

Read more about our privacy policy.

image/svg+xml

We are using cookies, learn more on our data protection page.