Project Type: Housing

Transition US

Transition US was established in 2008 as the result of a collaboration between the UK-based Transition Network and the Post Carbon Institute in the US. Since then, its national network has grown to encompass more than 160 local initiatives, several regional hubs and five national working groups.

All of these (mostly volunteer-led) organisations are working hard every day to revitalize local food systems, strengthen local economies, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and unleash the collective genius to design and implement innovative solutions to some of the greatest challenges of the times.

Transition US provides support for these efforts by offering leadership trainings and webinars, facilitating networking and peer-to-peer learning, sharing replicable models, and developing key resources for grass-roots leaders.

The organisation follows the eight key principles that are common throughout the international Transition Movement. These include respect for resource limits, promotion of inclusivity and social justice, paying attention to balance and the fostering of creativity.

Photo: Transition US

PEACH (The People’s Empowerment Alliance For Custom House)

PEACH was set up in 2013, in the London Borough of Newham.

It takes a community organising approach to its work, building the power of its community so that it can influence or make the decisions that affect it.

It began using the term ‘regeneration’ to refer to the urban regeneration process for which its neighbourhood has been selected. It looked at other sites of ‘regeneration’ in London and was worried by what it saw: communities broken up, new developments totally out of the financial reach of existing residents, and communities completely shut out of the decision-making processes.

This inspired it to want to change the meaning of regeneration in its Alternative Regeneration Plan.

Its plan is holistic and regenerative, thinking not just about how to demolish and rebuild, but how to maintain and grow a community, protect the social connections that provide support networks, provide relevant economic and social spaces, and improve its health and environment. It’s turning regeneration from something destructive that is being done to us into a positive opportunity for change.

Photo: PEACH (The People’s Empowerment Alliance For Custom House)

TERRA Collaborative

TERRA Collaborative founded The Pueblo Project (TPP) in 2014 to teach women and young people skills to construct and renovate homes and buildings using locally-sourced, low-carbon, natural building materials.

By providing training in natural, place-based building techniques, its work seeks to empower participants to become the leaders of community resilience. It shares natural and accessible building skills for creating homes, structures, and communities that are safer, healthier and more resilient.

Its training includes practical, hands-on sessions and classroom instruction at all levels of earthen construction practices, modernizing and building upon the traditional construction styles of the local cultural heritage. Since 2014, TPP has provided trainings in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

It has built six community spaces, developed three home improvement initiatives, drafted curriculum materials, developed prototypes for improved cooking stoves and dry composting toilets, trained two natural building teams and held an International Building Fair.

TPP’s work strives for a future where dignified housing doesn’t involve devastating damage to the environment but instead assures a sustainable, healthy relationship with our natural world.

Photo: TERRA Collaborative

Cooperativa Integral Minga CRL

This integral cooperative was founded to reverse a process common to many rural Portuguese towns: population loss, the abandonment of agriculture and the decline of local commerce.

Located in Montemor-o-Novo (a small town in the south of Portugal), Minga is creating tools that support the development of local circular economies, whilst aiming to operate in all sectors needed for living: the production of goods, services, housing, health, education etc.

Minga has supported the creation of new businesses in different fields, including biocosmetics, ceramics, detergents, clothes and solar panel installations. It shares the administrative and management costs among its members and operates a financially sustainable shop that sells local products.

It promotes agro-ecological farming practices and helps to organize production and distribution channels for local farmers. It shares a space that acts as a venue for socio-cultural activities and operates an internal currency that facilitates the exchange of products and services between members.

Through its work, Minga promotes ‘degrowth’ principles that include: the deeper integration of humans in ecosystems, consuming less, reusing resources and sourcing locally, seasonally and slowly.

Photo: Cooperativa Integral Minga CRL

Earth Freedom Collective

Earth Freedom Collective is a decentralized network of co-ops working in the domains of food, solar, housing, hemp/cannabis and health justice sanctuaries. Each co-op has a trauma-informed workforce development component, providing economic opportunity to society’s most marginalized.

The collective has access to over 700 acres of rural land in Northern California and a network of urban eco-villages in Oakland seeking to address issues of racial and economic justice, community health, sustainable housing and climate resilience.

It is working with diverse community partners to establish a hybrid model LLC cooperative and community land trust rooted in black and Indigenous land reclamation. These channels will provide practical pathways for large numbers of people to gain access to land, food and freedom from exploitation. It envisions the creation of numerous healing centers anchored by elders from various wisdom traditions that provide spiritual and practical support for marginalized communities.

Photo: Earth Freedom Collective

Brickify

Brickify recycles plastic waste bags into building bricks and lumber that are used to construct roads and build low-cost housing in Nigeria. It collects plastic waste dumped in drains, gutters and water ways and repurpose them to beautify the environment.

It also uses an inclusive model to collect its waste, whereby it rewards participating households and community members in cash or in kind as long as they submit the required level of waste.

The idea is motivated by the huge plastic waste problem in its communities. This problem leads to flooding, destroys the environment, harbours disease and causes other sorts of havoc.

Its bricks are durable, cheap, water and fire resistant, eco-friendly and heat resistant. They are available for sale to members of the public, but the project’s aim is to use them to build low-cost housing for the less privileged and homeless at a very cheap rate. There’s no need for cement to build the houses because they are used in a Lego like form.

Photo: Brickify

Cyrenians

Cyrenians Farm, based near Edinburgh, Scotland, uses organic and permaculture principles and was established in 1972 as a Community Care Farm working with homelessness in a different way.

They created “residential communities” where homeless people could come and live alongside others coming from more stable backgrounds. The mixing of peer support and a stable home offered people a real chance to find their feet, feel heard and to create a safe space to build their lives.

Today it still hosts a community of young people coming from a background of homelessness, but is also a successful income generating farm.

Photo: Cyrenians

Transition Network

The Transition Network was set up in 2007. The Transition Hubs and Transition Network set up the Municipalities in Transition project in early 2017. The project is collecting and publicising cases where Transition groups and municipalities have worked together to create much greater impact towards sustainability and regeneration, with already more than 70 examples worldwide.

It is creating a recommended framework to help community groups and municipalities work together, and will launch an innovative pilot programme and set up an international community of practice.

It continues to deepen relationships with influencers and decision-makers at EU, national, regional and municipality level. The Municipalities in Transition project means it can step up in this influencing work, to reach policy makers.

Photo: Transition Network

Rosemary Morrow (Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute)

BMPI was founded to enable people otherwise excluded from recognition in the global Permaculture world to learn, be seen and heard. BMPI meets the needs for non-formal permaculture community education.

Rosemary wrote the Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, the Teacher’s, and the Training of Teacher’s, manuals to establish quality, consistency and ‘care of people’. Locally, BMPI held two Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses, one teacher training and other short courses. Free places were given to young people and refugees. It also supports other permaculture organisations in Australia such as Milkwood.

Overseas, several months a year, Rosemary teaches PDCs and teacher training with a deep commitment to people’s rights to access permaculture strategies, identify future problems and work on local short and long term solutions.

Photo: Rosemary Morrow (Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute)

Blueprint

Blueprint is an international alliance and network of individuals, small businesses and not-for-proft organisations, that collaborate on developing integrated design solutions for regenerative human settlements. It partners with communities and organisations to develop, research and promote regenerative principles and practices.

It’s currently working on ‘Blueprint200’ – a design framework, demonstration site and sharing resource for creating regenerative refugee camps that meet and go beyond current humanitarian SPHERE standards. It has visited refugee sites and interviewed refugees, aid and social workers, permaculturists and more. In 2017 it developed the first version of a framework that includes design principles, a regenerative continuum and a pattern language for refugee camps.

Photo: Blueprint