COMMUNITY ECONOMIES are “economies in which ethical negotiations around our interdependence with each other and the environment are put center stage.”

They denote “a space of decision making where we recognize and negotiate our interdependence with other humans, other species, and our environment. In the process of recognizing and negotiating, we become a community.”

The concept of community economies, however, also cuts across and through the conventional categories it invokes: each term composing the concept is “stretched as far as the term can go without breaking entirely. ‘Economy’ becomes little more than the site of struggle over the question of how collective and individual life is – and might be – sustained. ‘Community’ is nothing more or less than the exposure of beings to each other and to each other’s finitude, the inescapable sociality that precedes and renders possible all existence.” (3)

(1) J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy, Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), 13.
(2) Gibson-Graham, Cameron, and Healy, xix.
(3) Ethan Miller, Reimagining Livelihoods: Life Beyond Economy, Society, and Environment (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2019), 139–40,


THE ALPS are Europe’s second largest biodiversity reservoir as well as home to 14 million people across eight countries (Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland). The Alps are also vitally important for extraAlpine areas, being the site of, for example, important transport routes, Europe’s water reservoirs and recreational spaces.

The Alps are a diversified space, existing between different national legal systems, natural and economic conditions, population distribution, agriculture and forestry, the volume of traffic and the nature and intensity of tourism. They are exposed to ever increasing pressures, for example, from industrial agriculture, transport and housing infrastructures, tourism and energy production, who are threatening the regions ecological functions.

General measures for the sustainable development of the Alps are set out in the Alpine Convention, which entered into force in 1995. (4) Since 2016, their future development is being discussed as part of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP), which touches the lives of 80 million people living in and around the Alps. (5)



A LABORATORY is a space where things are designed, build and tested. In ACElab, it refers specifically to a space for participatory and interdisciplinary explorations of economic practices that have the well-being of people and more-than-human others at their core.