As 2022 comes to a close, we’re revisiting our favorite stories from the year. Covering everything from fan favorites to multimedia features, this round-up isn’t just a snapshot of our annual editorial catalog, it’s a celebration of our ongoing commitment to uplifting the stories and voices that make up our global sharing community.
Here’s a look back at our year through stories, featuring our top 22 articles of 2022.
1. This Tiny House Trailblazer is helping to build a more inclusive movement
Tucked away on a farm outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jewel Pearson is living her dream — one that has been in the making for more than two decades. In 2015, she downsized her life into a less than 500-square-foot tiny house on wheels. Pearson launched Tiny House Trailblazers in 2016 to advocate and create a safe space for other Black tiny home owners – and inspire Black and Brown people to pursue and achieve their own tiny living dreams.
2. Vancouver’s Indigenous communities are reimagining housing & urban development
In Vancouver a new type of Indigenous community is emerging — one that builds resilience, health, creativity, and culture through shared housing and local, Indigenous leadership.
Innovative, Indigenous-led housing can build resilience, wellness, and provide opportunities for cultural revitalization and effective stewardship of land resources. It can also be delivered in a way that creates a validating experience, allowing a person to feel seen, reach their full potential and contribute to society with their basic needs met.
3. How communities are reimagining LA’s vacant lots
Across Los Angeles, tens of thousands of empty lots sit vacant. They’ve been there since the Watts Riots of 1965, and have become dumping grounds for trash, makeshift tent sites for the homeless, and are often vandalized.
Now, a growing array of citizens, contractors and community activists are reimagining the ways the lots can be utilized—with solutions ranging from temporary housing sites to plots for shared gardens.
4. These queer-led groups are securing housing for LGBTQ+ youth and elders
In 29 of our 50 states, LGBTQ+ people still lack comprehensive legal protections against discrimination in housing, healthcare, and employment. Lack of safe, affordable housing is particularly evident in our country’s queer youth population, who face a risk of homelessness that is 120 times that of their straight counterparts.
Across the country, there are many organizations working tirelessly to transform this stark reality by offering safe spaces, long-term housing, and other resources to LGBTQ+ youth and otherwise marginalized communities.
5. The Human Library connects people by tackling stigma and isolation
Established in 2000 by Abergel, his brother Dany, and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen, the Human Library is a global initiative that merges curiosity, understanding, and acceptance among people with a traditional library framework. In any Human Library depot (or, currently, during organized virtual events) average people (“readers”) can request to have a conversation with (“read”) someone who identifies in a particular way. Readers “check out” these “human books” for a “loan period of 30 minutes.
6. Market Box delivers food—and solidarity—to the people
The COVID-19 pandemic saw an influx in the number of mutual aid groups popping up across the country. Now, as the world trepidatiously welcomes a “new normal”, communities are reassessing their needs and capacities. Many newly-laid networks of mutual aid have been forced to adapt, reassess, and reimagine their role in protecting and providing for the communities.
Such is the case in Chicago. During the pandemic, approximately 40 mutual aid groups sprang forward to address the growing numbers of citizens who were or were becoming food insecure. Market Box (a volunteer-led direct-to-consumer food delivery provider) was one of them.
7. Boxville and beyond: Shipping container marketplaces are revitalizing city centers and BIPOC businesses
Over the last 20 years, builders have been utilizing shipping containers as affordable, environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional constructions. These days, it is not uncommon to see homes, schools, hospitals, and even swimming pools constructed from shipping containers.
Armed with this knowledge, urban planners and community developers have joined the movement, using shipping containers to construct temporary and permanent shopping malls that empower Black and Brown entrepreneurs, help fledgling businesses, and revive downtown areas in disenfranchised neighborhoods.
8. Co-ops for freelancers? Guilded challenges the idea of “starving artists”
Art is labor and the fruits of that labor are what make society worth living in, so artists and cultural workers should get paid fairly, should have access to benefits like healthcare, and should have ownership over their work and process.
This is the foundational belief of the new worker co-op, Guilded. Launched as a pilot project about eighteen months ago, Guilded aims to provide benefits, administrative support, employee ownership, and equity to freelancer artists and other contract workers.
9. NC’s Industrial Commons creates thriving new communities from the ashes of old industries
In the foothills of western North Carolina, the small town of Morganton is home to a growing co-op movement that’s reinvigorating the region’s once-struggling textile and furniture manufacturing industries, and refashioning them around egalitarianism and localism.
This expanding collective of frontline workers and artists is changing the way people there view industry and the nature of work.
10. Sri Lanka’s untold story of resilience: Sarvodaya’s pathway can work anywhere
Beyond the headlines, though, there is an untold story of how the people of Sri Lanka have managed during this crisis, a story that offers a pathway to resilience and “thrival” that can be adopted (and adapted) by any country, bioregion, or neighborhood. Quietly and behind the scenes, a unique non-government organization called Sarvodaya has mobilized a national network of thousands of self-sufficient villages to do what “official” organizations could not.
11. The slums of Mumbai are a wellspring of innovation — and injustice
Roughly 60% of Mumbai’s residents live in slums, and for most of them, leaving means losing their livelihood and facing insurmountable living expenses. Yet despite the cramped quarters, poor sanitation, and hazardous working conditions, Dharavi represents the only chance for its residents, many from disadvantaged rural backgrounds, to make a better life for themselves and their children.
With about 10,000 skilled craftsmen from many diverse backgrounds and upwards of 15,000 factories, Dharavi has become something of a self-organized special economic zone, with its own parallel economy.
12. A brief history of Black cooperatives in the U.S.
For as long as there have been Africans in America, there have been examples of Black social, cultural and economic solidarity. Often formed in response to systemic exclusion and economic stagnation, examples range from mutual aid networks, to freedom farms and grocery cooperatives.
Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard is a political economist specializing in economic development policy, Black political economy, and popular economic literacy. In an interview with writer Mira Luna, Dr. Gordon Nembhard talked about her research on African American cooperative economics, which she further detailed in her 2014 book.
13. When decolonization meets post-capitalism: the third annual post-capitalism conference
During this 3-day virtual summit (anchored by the Wiyot Tribe, Cooperation Humboldt, Cal Poly Humboldt faculty, and a number of different sponsors — including Shareable) community members and practitioners gathered to share information and experiences, strengthen alliances and networks, explore decolonial strategies, and uplift practical solutions to healing the land and people.
14. Survival before sustainability: How vegan reforestation in Haiti got stuck
Haiti has been subjected to centuries of environmental shocks, exploitation, and extraction — often at the hands of foreign powers. Though the lasting impacts of colonialism and exploitation are evident in Haiti, a sanguine spirit of mutual aid exists there. Could transporting an environmental solution that worked in southern India to eastern Haiti be benefits for local residents?
In this moving personal account of a reforestation effort gone “awry”, Aaron Fernando gets to the heart of the idea that solutions need to be community-driven and tailored to local needs and conditions.
15. The Response: Wartime Mutual Aid in Ukraine
In February, after a months-long prelude that many never believed would come to fruition, Russian troops landed in Mariupol and Odessa along the Azov and Black sea coasts, and Russian tanks rolled in through the Belarussian border crossing of Senkivka in the north. The Russian invasion of Ukraine had officially begun.
In this episode of The Response, we highlight stories of Ukrainian resistance and solidarity. A small but significant glimpse into how the Ukrainian people have come together to survive the war, to strengthen their communities, and to fight for each other and their autonomy.
16. The Response: Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice in a Post-Roe Landscape
In the face of trigger laws banning and criminalizing abortion in many states — as well as state-sanctioned harassment and targeted campaigns against people seeking abortions — the centuries-old movement for reproductive rights and justice has only grown and strengthened.
This episode of The Response takes a deep dive into how communities are responding to the growing abortion access crisis in the United States, sharing the stories of those impacted and highlighting a number of radical grassroots, mutual aid, and solidaristic efforts aimed at helping people access abortion in the places where it’s currently outlawed or restricted.
17. More than crisis care: Mutual aid for the pandemic and beyond
Emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, The UK — like many global communities — remains an economically-precarious and socially-traumatised place. Adding insult to injury, we are now facing a cost-of-living crisis. A growing number of people are requiring help to secure adequate housing, food and shelter. Now more than ever, the mutual aid groups that acted so vitally during the pandemic continue to be needed.
From Below is a feature length documentary film that showcases the human, emotional stories of the mutual aid phenomena. The film also highlights the ways mutual aid can continue to be used as a force for change in a post-pandemic future.
18. Places of Togetherness: The social everyday life of Nikea’s shared courtyards
Nikea is a municipality in the greater area of Athens with an extensive network of such transitional spaces. The historic center of Nikea includes 134 building blocks with internal shared courtyards or alleys at their heart.
In part one of our editorial series with the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens, we introduce readers to Places of Togetherness, a research project investigating the relationship between urban space and social cohesion. Moreover, the project aims to work with local people to re-imagine and co-design what the courtyards could look like in the near future and what impact a transformation like this could have in their neighborhood and community.
19. Can ‘Cathonomics’ produce a just and sustainable world?
The common good is an old idea and one that Pope Francis insisted on bringing up repeatedly after his arrival in the Vatican in 2013, in the lingering aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Echoing Francis, former International Monetary Fund economist Tony Annett’s new book, Cathonomics, argues that our economy has become deadly to many people, precisely because it so often defeats our efforts to work for a common good. He also offers an alternative framework, grounded in the spiritual principles of Catholic social teaching.
During an interview for Shareable, Annett sat down with Ownership Matters’ Elias Crim to discuss the book’s key focus.
20. Meet the Seattle artist creating community connections at The Library
Artist C. Davida Ingram is the public engagement programs manager for The Seattle Public Library. Since she landed the role, she’s made it her mission to create space for artists of color to pursue and hone their gifts through the lens of social justice.
During the pandemic, she collaborating with an extensive group of community partners and local artists to produce a series of artistic and educational events—all part of a focus on public health amid the pandemic. She’s also worked with community partners to launch BLOOM Food Justice Initiative, a BIPOC-led community garden initiative and youth fellowship addressing pandemic-era food insecurity.
21. How equitable strategies in harm reduction are keeping communities safe
Coss Marte founded his company CONBODY to help formerly incarcerated people integrate back into society. His one is just one example of one of the multifaceted aims of harm reduction—a practice aimed at minimizing the negative health, social, and legal impacts associated with drug use. Examples include creating safe spaces for drug users, clean needle and syringe programs to reduce the spread of illness, sealing criminal records to make employment easier, and housing initiatives that aren’t contingent on sobriety.
Experts in harm reduction envision a future where cutting-edge strategies transform a system that also disproportionately targets Black Americans.
22. The making of La BOM: Montreuil’s new Library of Things and Sharing Hub
Last but certainly not least, we’re ending the year by celebrating the opening of LaBOM. Inspired by Shareable’s coverage of the sharing economy, Bibliothèque D’Objets De Montreuil, also known as La BOM, opened its doors as a Library of Things in April 2022 in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil. La BOM was conceived in 2019 and has enjoyed support from the community as well as foundations, regional government, and Montreuil Mayor Patrice Bessac.
La BOM’s community is centered on its 600-square-meter building, which offers photography, music, sewing, textile studios, a wood shop, a repair shop, and an alkaline (disposable) battery exchange to the greater Montreuil area.
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