Behind the map (and the name)

From its very beginning, our initiative was a collaborative project. It includes activists, scholars, researchers from all around Europe, and more. Although we do communicate regularly, it has been clear from the start that we need to find a way from time to time meet in person.

Following the previous meetings in Madrid in October and then later in Amsterdam in January when we discussed the grant and the initial time frame, the third meeting took place last week 9-10th May in Berlin. This time, the emphasis was on finalising the BETA phase of the website. There were several topics that were essential to discuss: finalizing the technical aspects of the website, the media profiling of the project, the launching events and finally all other future events and conferences where the project will be presented.

After several online meetings in the past few months, the project collaborators this time also had an opportunity to meet with the designers, discussing their design proposals, user experience, milestones, solutions but also, in more depth, current cases gathered and their presentation on the map.

The main challenge still remains on how to find the best way to put all the data together, discuss it, analyse and then later make it interesting, comprehensive and useful. We have also stressed the importance of securing that the process will be a long-running one.

However, while we were reviewing the process, it became clear that our focus is to map the initiatives and processes, and at that point the current working version of the name started to seem inaccurate. The idea of changing the name was followed by an enduring yet productive discussion, after which the team decided on trying to rename the project. This is still an option to be thoroughly discussed.

We have splitted into several thematic working groups that will continuously work on the information gathered, help to inform the rest of the group, debate and provide different overviews on each case. To make it more concrete, the aforementioned working groups will start a debate that includes the members of the working group and decides if the initiative will be included in the map, under which theme and under which tags to make it accessible and easily navigated. Our themes are:

  • Citizen Participation Mechanism
  • Inclusive Housing & Public Space
  • Democratic Remunicipalization
  • Migration & Citizenship Rights
  • Social & Solidarity Economy
  • Socio-Ecological Transformation

This mapping website will act as a participative platform, and as a communication tool to work on transnational alliances of local actors and initiatives. During the two-days meeting, we were intensively working on how to find the best way to map both strengths and shortcomings, taking into account diverse (and potentially incommensurable) perspectives amongst the people involved in the process.