The Civic Economy: Opportunities and challenges for European cities

EUKN, 2015


With the changing economy, new forms of ventures are emerging in which citizens share, collaborate and co-create to tackle local and social challenges. Europe is bearing witness to the emergence of countless community enterprises and civic initiatives. The civic economy is pushing boundaries to join government and private business as a social, entrepreneurial and financial power. This motivated the EUKN to organise its 2014 Annual Conference with the aim of presenting an interpretation and characterisation of the civic economy and discussing major challenges and opportunities that the civic economy provides to its stakeholders and governments especially. This publication is the result of the discussions that took place during the Annual Conference in Amsterdam.

This study aims to provide governments with policy-relevant knowledge to form their vision of and response to the emerging civic economy. For this purpose, the following questions are addressed:

  • What is going on and what is new in the interpretation of the civic economy in Europe?
  • What are the main challenges for governments?
  • What are the practical perspectives and strategies for governments facing the rise of the civic economy?

This study has made clear that there is an urgent need for more knowledge and exchange of experiences between cities, within countries and across Europe. There is a need for research and data, as well as platforms to exchange knowledge and experience on the civic economy. Governments should engage in a dialogue with stakeholders and develop relevant policy perspectives.

The diversity of views within the civic economy is reflected in the diversity of the contributions to this publication. All authors are sympathetic towards the civic economy, but this does not preclude a critical perspective.