How Carsharing, Co-ops and Community Land Trusts Are Reinventing America
St. Martin's Press
In Democratic By Design: How Carsharing, Co-ops and Community Land Trusts Are Reinventing America, Gabriel Metcalf proposes that, today, alternative institutions offer a distinct strategy for social change. At a moment when so many social systems are in need of revitalization, opportunities exist for creating progressive alternatives that have a chance of taking hold.
Democratic By Design draws upon Gabriel’s own experience in starting an alternative institution. He was a founder of San Francisco’s City CarShare, an early American experiment in alternative transportation. Launched in 2001 by a handful of independent transportation activists, it addressed a need in the Bay Area to revamp car ownership. Successful beyond the founders’ dreams, it changed the shape of transportation in the city. Car sharing is no longer small scale or experimental and across the country, organizations like City CarShare paved the way for national companies like Zipcar and Cars2Go.
Successful alternative institutions can grow and push aside the old ways of doing things, and as has happened with car sharing and credit unions, farmers’ insurance cooperatives and community supported agriculture, become the new “normal.” Experiments like these, started for idealistic reasons, demonstrate the opportunity to create sustained social change.