2019 Foundational Economy Colloquium

The Collective’s 2019 Colloquium was held in Brussels on the theme of “Socio-ecological transitions: making space for the foundational”. The event was sponsored by Cosmopolis- Centre of Urban Research at the Free University, Building Brussels and Cities of Making and the organiser Sarah de Boeck  put together a full programme over the two days of 9 and 10th September which featured plenaries by distinguished academics, presentations by collective members and by guest academics and practitioners engaged with making space for foundational activities in urban places.

New foundational thinking

Short FE Film

In this short film, members of the foundational economy collective explain how and why the foundational economy matters. It was filmed at the 2019 foundational economy colloquium and produced by the colloquium organiser Sarah de Boeck.

COVID-19 UK NHS report

This report outlines how fragility was built into the UK’s hospital and public laboratory systems so that the Covid- 19 crisis was an accident waiting to happen, a normal accident.

The hospital system did not have the buffer capacity needed to absorb a pandemic surge and the public health laboratory system lacked the organisational capacity to respond to unexpected circumstances. All this was unintentionally caused by a combination of long-term funding shortages and the hyper-innovation of organisational churn imposed on the NHS and public health in the name of public sector reform.

 Beyond this critique, the report addresses remedies and the question of how to rebuild so that we have more robust health systems and more generally can re-skill the state so that it does not default onto distress outsourcing whenever it wants quick results. Renewal requires much more funding and a new approach, the care-ful practice of policy, which recognises the limits of the control paradigm – the top-down approach to policymaking that has been dominant for three decades.

COVID-19 and a Welsh community

This short report comes from the small deindustrialized town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales which through the lens of official statistics  would be described as “left behind” But a different kind of close-up knowledge was obtained from a community online questionnaire about the impact of Covid-19  in May and early June 2020. Wages are low and self-employment is precarious but family and community matter to most of our respondents (both native born and immigrants) and most felt that the lock down has brought the community together to help neighbours. At this point, business failure and high unemployment were apprehensions about the future; not the present realities they will be in autumn and winter 2020. But the survey underlines the importance of public policy on access to the foundational basics and the ned to maintain and renew infrastructure which allows families and communities to get on with what matters for them.