14 May

Geographical Review Preview:Urban resilience and the alternative economy: A methodological approach applied to Northern Spain

By: Paz Benito del Pozo & Alejandro López González

Article Title, Issue and Volume:
Urban resilience and the alternative economy: A methodological approach applied to Northern Spain

What is the main purpose of your study?
Demonstrate the scope of alternative economic practices in middle cities of the Western world after the 2018 crisis, an expression of urban resilience.

Figure 1: Location in the city of León (Spain) of alternative economy actions  (Image of the authors, 2017).                  

What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study?
That politically conservative cities, with a weak economic base, aged population, and little young employment, reject alternative capitalism models, although there are initiatives that bring together disadvantaged social groups in times of crisis. The presence of non-conventional productive activities demonstrates urban resilience.

Figure 2: Urban garden for social use in León (Spain) (Image of the authors, 2017).

How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
Our research is linked to the recent literature on social resilience, new forms of economy in middle cities, and work on crisis and collaborative economy, and Third Sector. They are very innovative fields of reflection that open up new perspectives on social change and the relations of the impoverished sectors with the market.

What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
Alternative economic practices do not thrive in all urban settings. The aging of the population is an obstacle for new forms of business and unconventional companies. Collaborative economy models require a young and entrepreneurial social base not motivated by enrichment.

Figure 3: Barter market in León (Spain) (Image of the authors, 2018).

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
Alternative economic practices have limits in the urban economy and are not the only manifestation of resilience. When the crisis is over, there is an inertia to return to the classical market and capitalist business model.



How does your research help us think about Geography?
Social and economic events condition the evolution of cities, and in particular, crises are expressed in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

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