Creating Regenerative Futures with your Local Council (CfF session #21)

Thirty three people participated in our 21st #CommutiesForFuture session on Tuesday 28th of February. The session featured four guest speakers, including two municipal servants and two Community-led initiative (CLI’s) representatives. Three key themes were explored :

  • Showing successful stories of CLI’s working with local councils
  • Sharing tools & resources
  • Linking to the policy thesis in the topic

The video is available our YouTube channel and featured the following speakers:


Two mayors/municipal servants:

Two Community-led initiatives:

  • Cristiano Bottone, Kunelab, Monteveglio, Italy
  • Amy Scaife, HubRen, London, UK


Community-led initiatives and local authorities have shown fruitful collaboration but that’s far from being the dominant interaction between them. Local initiatives often struggle to have constructive partnerships with their municipalities or counties. And vice versa: a municipality can invite community-led initiatives to their projects and fail to gain their engagement.

There’s never a lack of crisis situations and the strong bond between local authorities and communities has proven to be essential for the constructive response to crises. Regions with such a tight bond have done better during the pandemic than those that failed to build bridges.

The ECOLISE team contributed to balancing the understanding of who initiates change. Communities are the drivers of change towards sustainability, but hundreds of local authorities are just as engaged.

This session was also a bit of an experiment working with multilingual challenges. We tried to use the real time translation from between Spanish and English, but we had some technical issues, so apologies for some messy sections in the video. More work required here.

A space to keep this conversation going: UrbanCommunity for Sustainable and Just Cities  (Communtiy of Practice, on LinkedIn) or on our Communities for Future public group on Facebook.

Related speaker bios and files:

Speaker bios and links:

João Dinis leads the implementation of the climate and sustainability strategies for Cascais, Portugal. In the last decade, he has ensured a systemic, inclusive and innovative approach to redefine the role of municipalities in the global movement for a sustainable future. He believes in strengthening European based partnerships to enhance the reach of emerging technologies and methods to promote resilience. João is passionate about the simplicity of life changing ideas that support a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle while, simultaneously, respecting local cultures and resources. & AdaptCascais

Mayor of the municipality of Almócita for 24 years, determined activist in the protection of our natural environment and firm defender of the rights of all living beings (animals). Activist in the fight against climate change and in defense of the right to a better world for future generations. Lover of my town, its people and our environment. Almócito was declared in 2020 most sustainable Municipality of Spain. Almócita en Transición

London-based human who made a living with a camera, forever obsessed with the stories we tell ourselves, about belonging, our place in the world, our power. Swapped camera for a cargo bike, which unfolds into a friendly, out-of-the-ordinary vehicle for new storytelling, named hubRen. hubRen is an invitation to imagine a future where we have addressed climate change, and to create together in community the pathways towards this thriving future. & UrbanCommunity podcast with Amy: Art and culture in climate conversations

‍A twenty-year background in the world of marketing and communication then, since 2008, he has dedicated himself completely to the study and practice of systemic social innovation mainly within the Transition Town movement. In particular, he deals with exploring the involvement of institutional levels and experimenting with the evolution of democratic systems. He is Transition Trainer and facilitator, co-founder of the first Transition Town in Italy and of Transition Italia, member of the MiT core team, developer of the LTT methodology and LTT Tutor. & EURONEWS TV Feature: Northern Italian town leading the way to eliminate use of fossil fuels

Questions from the floor that were explored:

  • Do the initiatives having access to fund adaptcascais need to have a legal basis or can it be a for example a citizens’ collective?
  • I’m interested in the legal barriers for the energy community in Almocita. SPANISH: Estoy interesado en saber algo más sobre las barreras legales para la comunidad energética en Almocita.
  • A question to João: I’ve been doing citizen and environmental activism for more than 30 years and Cascais (where I come from) is one of the most difficult places in the country to dialogue with the municipal executive. The mayor, especially, is one of the most aggressive and rude towards environmental NGO and activists, especially those that oppose his plans to urbanise (destroying natural landscapes in the process). How can you go around this “annoyance”? What is your advice?
  • So I would be interested in the biggest challenges in influencing a higher Level/ politics? Or regarding the composition of a Local Implementation Team? (Maybe @Cristiano?)
  • What’s the role of the art, creativity, storytelling to catalyse participation and how can  communities and local governments work together to foster it. Amy and Paco

Resources shared by session participants:

  • News
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