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Eco Cities 2013 – Human Resilience and the Resolution Trade

By Mandeep K Bhandal, on 3 October 2013


ISRS Senior Research Fellow, Chris Cook provides an account of his experience at the ECOCITY, the World Summit on sustainable cities held in Nantes, France on 25 – 27 September.

Representatives from Cities all over the world came together from 24th to 27th September 2013  in Nantes to discuss with representatives from other sectors – private sector, social enterprise and academia – a broad range of subjects with an ‘Eco’ theme.

The first panel on which I contributed was titled Fostering the mutualisation of goods and services with economic and legal frameworks.

The objective was to discuss the following questions.

Mutualisation of housing has a twofold objective: the optimisation of the use of resources in the city and the reduction of its ecological footprint. To what extent can cooperatives and co-housing projects achieve this mutualisation goal? How to spread these economic and legal models to other functions of the cities? What are the social benefits of such organisational modes?

Human Resilience

One of the participants, Pierre Zimmermann, outlined interesting initiatives over the last decade by the City of Strasbourg in respect of ‘autopromotion’ self-build projects using municipal land.  But even with a sympathetic administration such initiatives faced slow going due to competition from the private sector; institutional inertia within the public sector; and the ever-present problems of sourcing development financing and long term funding.

The second presentation was extremely relevant to the subject of human resilience. In 2003 thousands of the elderly died alone in France from the effects of the prolonged heat wave that summer.  This unprecedented mortality brought home the fact that a large number of the post-war generation, the majority being female, now lived alone, often in substantial properties, with no-one to visit or care for them.

As a result, Aude Messéan founded Le Pari Solidaire, a charity which brings together students with a need for accommodation with elderly people with spare accommodation, and a need for company, and some light assistance.

Protocols and Prepay

Both of these presentations brought home the need for the unconventional frameworks for property occupation and tenure which I have been developing, and which are based upon legal framework agreements and financial instruments which pre-date modern finance capital.

The two elements are firstly, the Capital Partnership revenue sharing protocol within which productive assets may be financed and funded, and secondly, the simple but radical rental pre-pay instrument which enables funders to invest directly at a discount in units returnable against future streams of rental income.

As the panel discussed, such rental units would firstly enable self-builders in Strasbourg to be rewarded for their efforts with sweat equity paid in rental units. Secondly, it could enable the scaling up of La Pari Solidaire through generic exchange of care for rental units of property occupation. This could bring together a generation which is ‘long’ of property, and ‘short’ of care, for themselves and their home, with a generation which is long of care but short of a home.

I think of this exchange as the ‘Resolution Trade’ through its capacity to resolve otherwise intractable issues, including the above inter-generational exchange , but extending to the resolution of unsustainable property debt.

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