STIR is a quarterly magazine that promotes new economic alternatives, exploring where the social economy, the commons and civic society come together. We feature original illustrations, long-form interviews, and in-depth articles that move beyond traditional political commentary to explore the inspiring and viable alternatives that present a serious challenge to the current political crisis.
Our spring 2017 issue is an illustrated Community Toolbox, featuring eight how-to guides for transforming your locality. To introduce the toolbox, the New Economic Foundation’s Rachel Laurence explores Community Economic Development as an approach that can support communities to actually transform the underlying economy, not just function well in the current situation.
The first section of the toolbox is Community Engagement, with Frances Northrop explaining how to create a Local Economic Blueprint—a research tool that makes the case for relocalisation and involves key stakeholders in the process—and Shareable's Tom Llewellyn shares his experience on how to host a MapJam, allowing groups to map community resources and sharing initiatives.
In our Working Together section, Simon Ball explains how to make decisions using Loomio, a digital tool that is enabling communities to make decisions more transparent and democratic. Then Danny Spitzberg shares his research on Making Community Spaces Work, with a guide on how to welcome people, being inclusive, and exploring why community spaces fail or thrive.
In our Legal Structures section, Alex Lawrie introduces the relatively new model of Multistakeholder Co-ops, which reconcile the interests of many different stakeholders—typically three—to create more inclusive and nurturing communities. Then Kat Darling shares her experience of working at the Plunkett Foundation to guide readers through the process of setting up a Community Co-op, which has been particularly successful with local pubs and shops.
And our final section—Social Finance—the founder of the Community Shares Company, Dave Boyle, considers all of the steps in a Community Share Offer, which has seen a resurgence in supporting communities to raise local investment for civic projects and initiatives. And our last guide is by the Detroit SOUP’s Amy Kaherl, showing how getting the community around the dinner table can unleash positive new projects to regenerate your local area.