Terrassa wants to build a community exchange to help meet the needs of a modern city in times of economic difficulty. Unemployment is increasing whilst budgets for social services are being reduced. By meeting citizen’s needs with the time, skills and contributions of their neighbours, Terrassa aims to create a system of demand and supply which is generated and resolved by the community. Meeting these needs with volunteers who want an opportunity to share, interact or maintain and improve their skills, strengthens community engagement.
Social inclusion is an important part of the equasion – making people feel they are useful in their society and reminding them that everyone has something to give. Offers might include dog walking, cake baking or helping with school work or maintenance jobs whilst perhaps someone else is looking to learn a language or to improve their computer skills. The exchange could also include other resources, for example, sharing technology, car rides, office, retail or domestic space. By capitalising on what citizens have to offer their community, the focus shifts from dependence to opportunity, communication, and inclusion. This will not only engender renewed community spirit but also help to maintain physical and mental health in potentially at risk groups like the elderly or unemployed.
Solutions could include incentive-based programmes, time banks or other forms of social exchange. Terrassa is looking for a model or mechanism to process the opportunities and marry supply and demand. Solutions should be simple and accessbile to a large and diverse group of users who will range in age, socio-economic background, gender, abilities and technical knowledge.