Mapping a new economy in New York City

The SolidarityNYC map allows people to make consumer choices based on the ethics—supplying a range of businesses, from fresh produce to banking.

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What is a solidarity economy? For SolidarityNYC, the solidarity economy is where environmental, economic and social justice business practices intersect. Now, SolidarityNYC is trying to draw these peripheral economies to the center through a participatory mapping tool that allows businesses and companies with ethical business practices, both in terms of the environment and labor practices, to plot themselves on the map.

[pullquote align=”right”]SolidarityNYC is building a map to ethical businesses and cooperatives in New York City.[/pullquote]

What’s interesting about their mapping tool is that it allows people to make consumer choices based on the ethics of a business or company, from where to pick up produce to where to deposit money in the bank. Their map has plotted social justice-oriented businesses ranging from credit unions, sliding-scale health providers, food cooperatives and transportation alternatives throughout New York City. The idea is that plugging into alternative economies is not so hard to do — businesses can add their name to the map with one click, and consumers can easily shape their consumer choices around the businesses on the map.

SolidarityNYC is just one of many organizations that are oriented towards bringing companies and organizations that participate in these alternative economies to the forefront. Fast Company is also encouraging consumers to plug into companies and organizations that operate based on ideas of mutualism and socially-just minded business practices. And on the more local level, organizations such as Flatbush Mutual Aid, a free bike repair clinic, and Alpha One Labs, which provides a space for people to “work on projects together,” are both predicated on this idea of shared-skills, rather than profit-driven, exchanges.

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SolidarityNYC’s model of several practices that the solidarity economy incorporates into their business strategy.

And beyond that, one could argue that this type of peripheral economy advocacy is paying off. Trade School, which is based off of this participatory-based model of knowledge exchange, allowing people to “barter for knowledge,” now exists in almost fifty cities across the United States and world. Exchange Cafe, also a project of Brooklyn artist Caroline Woolard, opened at the MoMA in May, inviting patrons to engage with peripheral, resource-based economies. The Exchange Cafe project encouraged patrons to pay for products like coffee, tea, milk at the cafe through a resource-based, rather than profit-based, currency — all at one of the world’s richest educational institutions.

Check out this featured video on SolidarityNYC’s site on Third Root Community Health Center Worker Cooperative, just one of the organizations tied to alternative economies in an effort to grow a stronger, socially and economically resilient city.

Photo Credit: Solidarity NYC