Complementary currencies are exchange systems set up alongside official ones to advance social, environmental or economic goals, highlighting local assets and resources that are not part of the usual exchange circuits. They also pose an alternative—and a challenge—to traditional banking,
Complementary currencies are systems created on the fringes of official currencies to promote economic, social and environmental projects. They also assign value to local activities and resources that are not found on ordinary exchange circuits.
The Austrian town of Wörgl’s local currency reactivated production and internal demand during the Great Depression. The Swiss WIR business cooperative’s credit system is another successful example of a complementary currency. WIR and the Kenyan mobile payments system, M-Pesa, are the only present-day examples that are having a macroeconomic impact.
Time banks are spaces where skills can be exchanged without any money changing hands. Instead, the hours people spend providing services to others are deposited in the bank and withdrawn in the form of other services they need.
The first eco-networks appeared in Catalonia around 2009-2010. These innovative initiatives entailed the use of local currencies, which in turn promoted economic transactions operating outside the dominant monetary system. They are not-for-profit networks of citizens who exchange goods and services that are paid for in social currency.
Ecopolis is a game that takes its inspiration from Monopoly, but instead of teaching us how to speculate, it tries to help us understand how the use of complementary currencies can improve a town’s economy.
Santa Coloma de Gramenet has issued a social currency it calls the grama, with the object of incentivising local trade and strengthening residents’ commitment to their town. Inspired by this and other projects, Barcelona City Council is preparing a test local currency for introducing to the Besòs neighbourhoods.
The digital revolution has eliminated intermediaries from most economic sectors, apart from the area of finance where they have strengthened their grip. The ability to create currency — the exclusive domain of banks — is the primary reason for this anomaly. The solution is to develop new currency-creation mechanisms.
To house the history section, the City Council bought and restored the Casa de l’Ardiaca, which in 1922 opened its doors as home of the new Historical Archives of the City, headed by Duran i Sanpere himself. We are commemorating these one hundred years in the life of the centre with a dossier.
The country’s archives were just as or even more vulnerable to the events of war than were human lives at the begining of the Spanish Civil War. Many were destroyed, particularly if they were of a religious or bourgeois nature and in the event that paper pulp was required for the printing of newspapers.
Duran i Sanpere left a written testimony of the operation, whose reading allows us to grasp the enormous dimensions of his work.
The new archive facility will become a first-rate civic and cultural information centre, with the development of a city-wide programme of activities and close working relationships with neighbourhood study centres and workshops.
Alongside the Historical Archive of Barcelona (AHCB), civil society organisations have also done invaluable work to preserve the historical memory of the city.
Have you given any thought to how we use the city and the public space? Men and women make use of the city in different ways: men move around the city more for occupational reasons (19.4%), while for women it’s primarily for family reasons (15.6%) with occupational concerns in second place.
Efforts to refocus urban planning to take into account the human aspect place a special emphasis on the gender perspective, the aim being to obtain an equal use of the city based on the diversity of gender, ethnic origin, age or occupation of the community.
Mobility and safety are the two issues that most affect the everyday life of women who work in the metropolitan area at night, especially those that use public transport or go on foot, according to a participative study conducted by Col·lectiu Punt 6.
Rethinking the city from a feminist perspective means no longer creating spaces on the basis of production rationales that are socially and politically restrictive and, instead, starting to think about environments that place a greater emphasis on the people who use them.
In 2015, organisations and groups in the Poble-sec neighbourhood created a protocol – Guidelines for feminist festivals – to prevent and take action against gender-based violence at street festivals. The ultimate goal is to extend those guidelines to include every type of recreational space in the neighbourhood and in everyday life.
Metropolis Women, the strategic network run by the Barcelona’s Department for Feminism and LGTBI, is working to mainstream the gender perspective within the World Association of the Major Metropolises, which has 138 member cities around the world.
Grass-roots feminism finds its expression in multiple movements fighting for an urban space, that smash the stereotypes of female passivity and bring women out of situations of vulnerability, onto the path of resistance.
The new visibility of women and their demands also set out to express itself through cinema, to reflect the political activities of the second wave of feminist groups and be used as propaganda to raise awareness.
The changes from which the new cities will emerge will be feminist in nature since they will be based on life, not production; on health, not depredation; on collaboration and mutual support, not on competition: all long-held feminist values.
We often imagine animals as being either in the wilderness, far from the city, or imprisoned in zoos, while forgetting that there is also a richly diverse and mostly free-living urban fauna living alongside us. Experts and activists will reveal the richness of this natural treasure of Barcelona which is so near and yet so little-known to us.
Urban wildlife and vegetation are not simply a reminder of the natural environment, with which we have an emotional attachment. We also have an obligation to care for them, if we want to contribute effectively to the creation of a functional city, connected to natural cycles and providing a habitable public space.
Living with a pet is a right, but it also involves taking on a series of responsibilities to satisfy the animal’s physical and emotional needs, as well as respecting the rights and well-being of other people.