Communities for Change – Seeking Solutions for an Increasingly Urban World
5 February 2018 - Impact Hub

Photo by Mauro Mora

By 2080, 80% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. The increasingly complex challenges that cities face such as insufficient housing, air pollution and rising inequality demand solutions that are dynamic, systemic, and collaboratively developed.


“Communities For Change connects Impact Hub innovators with the Presencing Institute’s u.lab process with an incredible aspiration: let’s collaborate towards truly inclusive cities and co-create the future we want to see. 1 challenge, 6 cities, 100+ changemakers…incredible potential!” – Julie Arts, Presencing Institute Senior Faculty


In partnership with MIT’s Presencing Institute and the BMW Foundation, a unique initiative is piloting in six Impact Hubs spanning four continents, united in their vision of more inclusive cities. Communities for Change brings together changemakers from diverse pockets of participating cities for an 8-week innovation journey.


Locally rooted, each participating Impact Hub has selected a particular challenge within the SDGs+ global framework: 


  • Impact Hub Baltimore seeks to address the pitfalls often faced in community-owned projects by bringing together local leaders to better equip community-led development to meet the city’s needs
  • Impact Hub Boulder is engaging diverse stakeholders to co-create and incubate prototypes for new, holistic approaches to mitigate climate change locally in line with the city’s Climate and Energy Goals
  • Impact Hub Seattle and the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, in their collective work to strengthen neighbourhoods and develop diverse leadership, will explore systemic bias and other barriers to diversity in local business success
  • Impact Hub Budapest explores the future of work in their post-communist country. With sections of the workforce struggling financially, others exploited by large multinationals and entrepreneurs stifled in the middle, this group seeks solutions that will enable the next generation to both gain financial security and follow their calling
  • Impact Hub Harare gathers diverse community leaders to explore and prototype solutions for developing their country’s green energy resources in a collaborative way that feeds the nation’s growing appetite for innovative solutions
  • Impact Hub Shanghai is working in partnership with local institutions and citizens to develop solutions toward reducing China’s urban and rural economic divide.


Local programs benefit from links across Impact Hub’s global network, whose collective purpose is to enable people to take entrepreneurial action for positive impact. Participating cities stay connected throughout the program, empowering the global exchange of practice and knowledge.


This project stands out for its ambitious approach. Many Impact Hub members will be familiar with the Presencing Institute’s powerful awareness-based systems change methodology: since 2015 Impact Hub and the Presencing Institute have partnered in delivery of the online u.lab course in 45 cities around the world. With Communities for Change, a tailor-made curriculum rooted in u.lab methodology has been designed specifically to engage cross-sector changemakers around a shared challenge.


At the forefront of building communities for impact and co-creating solutions to global challenges, the global Impact Hub network is a natural home for the multi-city Communities for Change pilot. The program will, in time, be available to all Impact Hubs as a blueprint for cultivating social innovation locally and across cities.


Find out more about the Communities for Change program here.