Everywhere in Brussels people are putting their heads together to make life in the city more pleasant or more sustainable. Whether in a large or a smaller group, they are taking initiatives, helping each other, making or repairing things, creating services or managing goods or areas that are accessible to the public.
One common thread in all these activities is that people are not waiting around for actions to be taken by the authorities, private companies or established organisations from civic society. Rather than demanding that others get things organised, they would rather get going themselves. Another recurring feature is their positive approach. Whereas in the past groups of residents were often created in order to protest against an external threat, today’s slogan is ‘can do’.
Selfcity.be collects knowledge and experiences from and about phenomeon such as self-help organizations, commons, social innovation, peer-to-peer, self management, bottom-up initiatives, civic economy, and sharing. All with advantages and disadvantages. The site is a meeting place for everyone who is interested in these new phenomenon. Its a place to answer questions like: ‘How democratic is the internal functioning of collectives? ‘ ‘How diverse are they?’ ‘How (in) dependent are they with respect to civic society or the authorities?’’ ‘Could they develop into a key driver for sustainable development and participatory democracy or will they remain a marginal but sympathetic phenomenon?’ And also: ‘Should the authorities provide space for these kind of initiatives or do we then risk the reduction of our public services and our social welfare model?’