Building a Sustainable Creative Community project is a model of sustainability through which a cultural NGO and, also, a social enterprise seeks to be an equal partner in the local economy and to generate an example of 'yes we can' in the local community by hosting creative and social innovators in a community space.
The pandemic period made us feel more and more alienated and, consequently, emerged the need for more safe meeting spaces, individual workspaces and different operating models. In response, AMBASADA, including an amazing effort from a team of volunteers, under the framework of Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities project, built a creative community space from shipping containers. Building.a.community project is a living lab, a hybrid case study, which developed by listening to the needs of atypical entrepreneurs, who are the creative breath of a functional community. Alongside these newly imagined creative spaces, the neighbourhood is also invited, when time and regulations regarding social distancing permit such actions, to make use of the community garden. Built from shipping containers and with natural interiors made of raw poplar plywood, the spaces host some of the most active creative entrepreneurs in Timișoara (Romania), in a hybrid resilience exercise: • Bogdan Cotîrță | https://facebook.com/bogdancotirta • ePretext | https://epretext.ro/ • Gruni | https://gruni.ro/ • Ludic | https://ro.ludicstore.com/ • OilRight | https://www.oilright.eu/ • ONE | http://plai.ro/one/ • Space Artisan | https://www.facebook.com/spaceartisanstudio/ • Skinder | https://www.facebook.com/SkinderMade/
The concept of "sustainable communities" or "eco-communities" refers to communities planned, built, or modified to promote sustainable living. Such communities focus on environmental and economic sustainability, urban infrastructure, social equity, and municipal governance. The Institute for Sustainable Communities emphasizes four dimensions of sustainable communities: • LEADERSHIP, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY, • ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY, • ECONOMIC SECURITY, • SOCIAL WELL-BEING. Next, we give space for the creative community to express itself and give voice to what holds it together. "Inspired by everything that happens around us, in the context of the European project - Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities - where Ambasada works together with the Trans Europe Halles network, we have adapted an agenda of events and transformed them into creation of spaces and resource contexts for the local community, pushed beyond the limits by the pandemic reality. We decided to give up one-off events and invest in spaces that the community can use to generate learning experience and maybe even obtain an additional income. Intended as a space for daily activities of residents, a community garden that can be used as a yard, also by the neighbouring community, building.a.community project is a pretext to explore the way communities in Timișoara assume a space. Symbolically, it is a desire for local resilience, in a context in which we have felt the importance of the civic spirit that brings us together and helps us generate beneficial change that matters. " Andrea Curuț / AMBASADA "I definitely wanted a space connected to the creative community for my own music production studio, which will involve a predominantly collective activity. Besides the activity from Melting Dice, the new project that is baking in this place will be as open as possible to various collaborations and aims to bring together different musicians and artists. So, the neighbours are very important and a good starting and returning point." Bogdan Cotîrță, musician "Our choice to join the first residents of the new project developed by AMBASADA was simple: we like the community! This community is defined by the fusion of qualitative people from different fields of activity. The Fabric area is a bonus, being very attractive for the city's creative community." Andrei Jecza / ePretext "Gruni is a young local brand of jewellery, crockery & deco, with an extensive range of small series of ceramic and porcelain products, designed around the ideas of sustainability and responsible consumption. It is very important for us to be part of the local community - we like collaborations (and) because it means new ideas and methods. We have partnered with Ludic and Skinder, two other local brands, to open this small local shop around a concept that is actual and sustainable." Livia Coloji / Gruni "Ludic is a children's clothing brand designed by an architect and each collection is enriched by the contribution of a Romanian artist or illustrator. Using only natural materials, with the highest organic certification (GOTS), Ludic talks about each child’s soul and build a better world for them. Focusing on caring for people and the planet, Ludic produces small series of items and support the local industry and fair trade." Alina Giurgiu / Ludic "OilRight offers the people of Timisoara a clean and handy alternative for collecting and reusing cooking oil. In partnership with a team from Slovenia, OilRight transforms this waste into candles and raw material for biodiesel. All this happens, employing people with vulnerabilities with an institutional past - one of the most excluded groups, not only from the labour market, but from the life of the community in general." Roxana Damaschin-Țecu / OilRight "Our creative approach brings forward authentic materials that we capitalize on. We draw, model, design and build, looking for simple inspirational solutions. Every object we make has its own story. We want to find the usefulness of art and beauty through objects and pieces that last and deserve to be valued and that we find around us." Paul Hetzl / Space Artisan "ONEshirt is a natural response to the whole process of making a community more inclusive and the world a better place. It is a very small, but bold step towards a sustainable, responsible textile industry that is focused on process, sustainability and the individual. Besides involving recycling practices and the social economy model, ONEshirt finds, naturally, its place in the building.a.community project, acting in the same spirit and speaking (in triangle shapes) about unique stories that form Timișoara." Andreea Iager-Tako / ONEshirt
AMBASADA/Asociația CASA PLAI is a non-profit organisation founded in 2006 in Timișoara (Romania) that aims to develop communities in a sustainable and collaborative way. As a brand and cultural centre under the CASA PLAI Association, AMBASADA has hosted over 2,000 free events and community-driven activities, while running a social business in the cultural centre. Its priority is to develop a community of doers through collaboration and networking. The objective of PLAI Cultural Centre embraced, gradually, different forms, such as: a music festival, urban interventions, industrial reconversions, occupation of urban space and artistic productions put in place especially to have an impact in the local community and strengthen collaboration. AMBASADA have created together with and for the local community, have established collaborations at local, national and international level, in order to generate an energy that is oriented towards finding viable solutions as a functional inclusive community and increase the quality of life. After almost 5 years in the location of a former hat factory, PALTIM, AMBASADA’s building was demolished in 2020, but the story continues in an old-new house, AZUR, the former factory of paints, candles and soap. Part of a new and ambitious initiative, Faber.community, the Faber building and the energies created around it are dedicated to the creative community. Along with partners that AMBASADA’s team admires a lot, they will continue to connect people, ideas, fields and search for solutions.
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1yNEScWnTpfa9RY42yb_Zb9Tl6dPPAbBtThe Institute for Sustainable Communities, https://sustain.org/about/what-is-a-sustainable-community/ Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros, Changing Societies through Urban Commons Transitions, P2P Foundation, https://commonstransition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Bauwens-Niaros-Urban-Commons-Transitions.pdf