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3 A Social Learning Process

food (like the Slow Food or fair-trade purchasing groups). The list of promising cases could continue3. As far as we are concerned, in the light of these established capacities, the issue of new sustainable solutions has to be considered important: new available social resources thanks to design that has been equally effected by the specialists (technical and political) and ordinary citizens (consumers and users); like a meeting of experts, where one side bring their traditional competence, while the second comes with their direct knowledge of the problem, with creativity and initiative to generate new ways of fighting against the problem. A two-sided active process of co-design and co-production, open and dynamic, capable of making the most of all the social resources available (Box 3.1).

Box 3.1 Creative Communities and Collaborative Network The creative communities are groups of people organised to obtain a certain result, to solve a problem and/or to open a new opportunity. They involve the first hand activation of the interested parties. And thus, as a whole, they imply the capacity and desire to do (alone and/or exchanging mutual aid), rather than to ask (as in the tradition of the users of social services). These initiatives are self-created by the citizens themselves. Or often born from the fruitful encounter between social innovation and social or private enterprises. Anyhow, even when institutions or companies are involved, these initiatives are created and act from the bottom, on a local scale, and, all together, are the creation of distributed creativity and entrepreneurship. This characteristic connects them to other phenomena of contemporary society, in particular, to new activities that are growing in the new internet economy and collaborative networks. The starting point of this new phenomenon is well-known: the idea of Open Source in the ambient of information technologies has shown its capacities with peer-to-peer organisations that are able to attract a large number of participants, give them a common goal and develop very complex and difficult projects: the


The examples (and relevant comments that have been presented) emerge from research carried out by the Faculty of Design and of the Department INDIGO, Politecnico di Milano, in connection with other European universities, with research centres and the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme). Of particular importance was the collaboration with many schools of design in the world: a partnership that was, operationally, embodied in a series of workshops on the subject of daily sustainable life in countries like China, Korea, Japan, Canada, USA, Brazil, India, France, Finland and Italy. From this collaboration was born the Catalogue of promising cases, an exhibition Sustainable Everyday (La Triennale, Milan, 2003) and a book with the same title (cf. Manzini E and Jegou F, 2003). Subsequently, the research Emerging User Demands (EMUDE) has been developed: European research funded by the 6째 Programma Quadro, conducted by various research centres and design universities, and coordinated by the INDACO Department of Politecnico di Milano. Many of the cases that are mentioned in this book can be found at the address:

Design for Environmental Sustainability  
Design for Environmental Sustainability  

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