3.5 Active Minorities and Auspicious Cases
As mentioned in the previous chapter, during the past few years a model of user has evolved and become established who is principally concerned with reducing the effort, time and attention required from him. We can now claim that the marketing, with its insistence, has created a place for an increasingly lazy and disinterested user. The consequence of this vision has been a trend towards what could be called the “throwaway planet”: a world in which the user is offered the “luxury” of obtaining functional results and sensory excitement just by paying the smallest amount of attention and making the minimum effort. Besides, all other possible ways of assessing the “value” of degrading the quality of products and the experience brought by a widespread throwaway planet, the environmental consequences of this behaviour are evident and demonstrate clearly that this vision of consumer/user, which is the basis of this throwaway world, should be amended. In the sustainable perspective, in fact, people should be considered as an active part in the processes of caring about things, the public goods and the environment in general. For this they are seen as people with the ability and willingness to struggle and act as co-designers and co-producers of the production–consumption system that concern them and the places where they live2.
3.5 Active Minorities and Auspicious Cases All that has been said creates another question: if and how the move from the model of consumer/user to co-designer/co-producer is going to take place (or could take place). As already said in the previous chapter, the prevailing behaviour is all but promising; on the contrary, unfortunately, the dominant dynamics give way to an increasingly unsustainable lifestyle. Things change if we focus on lifestyles that are adopted by minorities, but which have given birth to promising social innovations, i. e. lifestyles that have taken concrete steps towards sustainability. As a matter of fact, we can see that in all industrial societies the number of people is growing who have found the desire, energy and ability to focus on some results and invent original ways of achieving them. Groups of people with initiative, called here the creative communities, which, for example, are experiencing new lifestyles by pooling residential services (and creating different forms of cohousing). Associations that promote the neighbourhood life by creating conditions for children to walk to school (as in the case of the Foot Bus), or stand for alternative forms of mobility (walking or cycling). Communities that implement new social services for the elders and parents (cohabitation of elders and youngsters, day care centres promoted and managed by mothers). Groups of people who build new food supply networks and prefer the local producers of quality or organic 2
The idea about people with capacity comes from the aforementioned thesis by Amartya Sen (cf. Nussbaum and Sen, 1993; De Leonardis, 1994; Balbo, 1993).
Published on Nov 17, 2010
Published on Nov 17, 2010
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