Civil Society and the Future of Cities

Julia Unwin

Description Details

‘A civil society is a public space between the state, the market and the ordinary household, in which people can debate and tackle action’. When we act not for profit nor because the law requires us to, but out of love or anger or creativity or principle, we are civil society. When we bring together our friends or colleagues or neighbours to have fun or to defend our rights or to look after each other, we are civil society. Whether we organise through informal friendship networks, Facebook groups, community events and protests or formal committees, charities, faiths and trade unions; whether we block runways or co-ordinate coffee mornings, sweat round charity runs or make music for fun: when we organise ourselves outside the market and the state, we are all civil society. Civil society includes charities; neighbourhood self-help schemes; international bodies like the UN or the Red Cross; religious-based pressure-groups; human rights campaigns in repressive societies; and non-governmental organisations improving health, education and living-standards in both the developed and developing nations.

What is the role of civil society in cities now and in the future? What is a civil society in cities? Julia Unwin is chair of Civil Society Futures, a two-year national conversation about how English civil society can flourish in a fast-changing world that aims to develop a clear vision for the role of civil society for the next ten years. She explores the future needs and opportunities of civil society in cities.

Chaired by Judith Squires, University of Bristol.

In association with


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