AUTOPIAS: Autonomous and solidarity installation project

AUTOPIAS is a participatory project that strives to help underprivileged populations become more autonomous by proposing ecological and solidarity solutions.

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9, rue campagne Premiere 75014 PARIS
FR France

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About the project Edit

Our team currently dedicates its time, energy and brain power to one hundred children at the Jaime Roldos Nutritional Centre, a poor neighbourhood in Quito in Ecuador. Its operation is entirely funded by Terre d’union, a French association.

However, in light of local instability and the financial crisis, this economic dependence makes the situation risky.

Therefore, we hope to promote an autonomous and participatory system around three components: nutrition, architecture and energy.

Nutrition:
Spirulina is the jewel of the nutritional component. It has micro-algae that is easy to produce and is rich in protein and iron.

First, we will create a spirulina test basin of 25 square metres. Currently, we expect to expand spirulina production capacity in order to provide for the nutritional needs of the centre’s one hundred children and provide sustainable economic activity to the community by creating a cooperative.

We have the strategic support of TECHNAP, an association experienced in setting up spirulina farms in Africa. The association will train in spirulina culture and provide remote technical expertise.

Architecture:

Clay building techniques are essential for renovating and expanding the nutritional centre. We will use adobe and loam plaster techniques in the participatory sites that will use a specialized trainer, neighbourhood residents and foreign volunteers. This mode of action will help transfer the most possible autonomous architectural, economic and ecological practices in underprivileged neighbourhoods.

Energy:
Energy will be provided by an artisanal wind turbine to produce the necessary electricity in the spirulina basins and for some of the centre’s needs.

Above all, Autopias is change! Our intervention can only be welcomed by the population from a continual taking into account of their needs and expectations. As part of a psychosocial study, a listening device (discussion group, interviews) will be set up in order to support the community while they participate in the project. Our intervention will be anchored in values such as respect of cultural identity, democracy and social cohesion.

The centre benefits from a psychologist that will provide support for children in school. Working with her, we want to help to reinforce her action and centre our efforts on the community’s mental health. This approach will be essential to making a valorizing independence for stakeholders in correlation to the collective well-being.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Our project is unique in the sense that we built our approach on the community’s needs in a particular context.

The project’s origin stems from the nutritional centre’s difficulty of growing and contributing good welcoming conditions to the centre’s children.

Then the spirulina and wind turbine components complete our approach with the goal of contributing an asset to the nutritional centre and a source of financing vital to making the centre autonomous.

The components’ interdependence that make up our approach and ability to adapt to the needs that came out in group interviews, will make our project an undeniably unique experience.

Our team with multidisciplinary skills (architecture, project management, psychology, medicine, etc.) is a source of never-ending creativity. Setting up the project and the field will be proof of this.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The social aspect is the heart of our project: “Achieving autonomy for a population in order to stem its dependence on donations”. The social aspect rests also in our “participatory” approach.

In fact, by reappropriating artisanal know-how and using local resources, the quest for a more autonomous lifestyle has direct consequences on social connections, self-esteem, balance between family and self, and well-being.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The potential to expand out project is enormous! We expect to develop this approach in communities that would like us to set up an autonomous lifestyle. We propose solutions according to needs targeted beforehand and we work on developing partnerships with French downstream businesses and associations.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Project initiator Alexandre Vannier-Moreau started his reflection in 2010 and his work to improve living conditions in Brazil’s favelas. Then came meetings and a shared willingness to get involved in sincere social, human projects with a big impact on local populations.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Our poject’s business model is structured around several sources of financing:

- participatory financing and donations from individuals
- sponsorship
- partnerships on several levels with businesses (financial partnerships, the community selling surplus products)
- public subsidies
- personal investments and individual donations


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