Hivos International

Social Movements

Let's talk about city farming!

Creative City Lab hosts a day for eager cultivators

Let’s talk about city farming! Also dubbed Urban Agriculture, we see a rise in small and larger initiatives in our hopelessly crowded cities around the world. New York, Berlin, Beijing, Havana and Amman are but a few examples where citizens (and sometimes the state) have picked up their shovel for some serious farming or gardening. This trend has not bypassed the Netherlands. On April 4th, Creative City Lab organized a gathering at the NDSM dockyard in Amsterdam, where city farmers, professionals and students came together to discuss this increasing trend. For Creative City Lab, the day also functioned to present a plan in which sixteen excellent students from varying disciplines work on a strategy to cultivate two pieces of land in Amsterdam, aiming to turn it into a successful business case.

Social Innovation Safari 2013 - Upside down and backwards up

During 10 days, 23 participants, from more than 10 different countries such as Kenya, Costa Rica, Iran, Zimbabwe, Guatemala and Nicaragua, went on Social Safari  in Amsterdam. In the midst of the urban jungle participants set out to find new social solutions for some of the most wicked challenges in our city such as youth unemployment, youth care for young criminal offenders, a declining urban neighbourhood and the rise of a shared economy.

Ignite event Tales of Innovation, from triggers to tools

Back-to-back with the two-day Open for Change event, an Ignite event took place in the afternoon of October 10th, 2013, in the Van Nelle factory, Rotterdam. Fifteen speakers presented daring perspectives and inspiring thoughts on how people all over the world are actively shaping their societies. Red threads through all the talks was the power of arts, pleasure and playfulness as driving forces for social change. Some talks focused on the transformational power of serious games, while others celebrated urban art expressions for awareness of pressing issues in the city, such as violence against women or corruption.

Nishant Shah's talk on Making Change

During the writeathon that laid the foundations for the 'Making Change' programme, Nishant Shah gave a five minute talk introducing his provoking thoughts around how we can think about social change. Guided by five keywords, he gives us food for thought on whether such a thing as making change is possible.

Following the symposium Can do-ocracy deepen democracy? last December in The Hague, Hivos, ISS and WRR publish an online magazine: Can 'democracy by doing' deepen democracy?.

For the activist, the academic interested in power and politics, the development practitioner and the engaged citizen, these last couple of years have offered a veritable treasure of moments with which to re-imagine the world and the place of the ‘citizen’ in it, the relationships between rulers and the ruled, and the very meaning of ‘democracy’.

When the Indignados took over Spanish squares, Maro Pantazidou wondered why it was all quiet on the Greek front. Facing the most extreme austerity measures in the Eurozone, it seemed as if Greek citizens were experiencing a shock, holding them back from exploding in national rage. However, could it be that by focusing on mass movements, we were overlooking smaller but meaningful initiatives below the radar?

By bringing in the context of state’s affluence and the pervasive vulnerability across agricultural and non-agricultural segments, it portrays a situation that could have led to the emergence of a sound social security system in the state. However, an observation of the minimal social welfare effort made by the state in terms of its policy and expenditure encourages us to unveil the nature of politico-social dynamism in the state.

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