About me…

My name is Davide Brocchi. As a freelance sociologist, in my theoretical and practical research I deal with processes of social transformation as well as social and cultural sustainability. After studying Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology at the Universities of Bologna (Italy) and Düsseldorf (Germany), I did my PhD at the Institute for Cultural Policy at the University of Hildesheim.
I was born in Rimini in 1969 and grew up between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines. In 1992 I moved to Germany, and I live in Cologne since 2007.

Professional Experience

I have been working for years as a catalyst, moderator and consultant of transformation processes in rural regions, cities, neighborhoods and cultural institutions. In my philosophy, sustainable transformation is conceived as an individual and collective learning process. Between 2013 and 2020, I organized living labs in different neighborhoods in Cologne and Berlin under the name of »Day of Good Living« (Tag des guten Lebens). In 2017, this initiative was awarded the »Federal Award for Neighborhood Associations« given in Germany by the nebenan.de Foundation and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The »Day of Good Living« is not an event, but a narrative capable of activating neighborhoods as a building block of a »strong democracy« (Benjamin Barber) through non-commercial »new rituals«, transforming streets and squares of an entire district into self-administered shared spaces (commons). While the neoliberal globalization has been pursued through public-private partnerships, my initiatives are supported by »citizen-public partnerships« and cross-sector alliances (among social movements, environmental initiatives, alternative economy and cultural actors, neighborhoods and so on).


How is possible a peaceful coexistence in diversity on a finite planet? This is the central question of sustainable transformation, a question that concerns both internationally and locally. It is addressed in my latest book »By Disaster or by Design? From Multiple Crisis to the Great Sustainable Transformation« published in 2022 both in Italy and Germany.

My other books, published in Germany, are:

  • »Große Transformation im Quartier. Wie aus gelebter Demokratie Nachhaltigkeit wird« (eng.: Great Transformation in the Neighborhood. How a lived democracy can lead to sustainability), oekom 2019.
  • »Nachhaltigkeit und soziale Ungleichheit. Warum es keine Nachhaltigkeit ohne soziale Gerechtigkeit geben kann« (eng.: Sustainability and Social Inequality. Why there cannot be sustainability without social justice), Springer VS 2019.

I have written articles for anthologies and scientific papers in German and English. Topics covered are urban transformation strategies, the cultural dimension of sustainability, social inequalities as promoting factor of society collapse, etc.

Speeches, university teaching and workshops

I work as a freelance lecturer at universities and polytechnics in Germany. I am often invited as a speaker in conferences and asked to offer workshops as an expert.

Curriculum Vitae
My Approach

Activities, living labs and initiatives

2022 - 2023: The neighborhood as a shared apartment

  • sociological exploration of the Woltmershausen district in Bremen on behalf of the association Stadtkultur Bremen. Interviews with 25 experts and multipliers.
  • conception of the transformation strategy »The District as a shared apartment« (Das Quartier als Wohngemeinschaft).

2020 - 2022: Transformation of the Uckermark region

  • 2022: implementation of the »Architectural Culture« Program in the small villages of the Uckermark on behalf of the Brandenburg Ministry of Infrastructure and Rural Planning.
  • 2020 – 2021: conception and implementation of a participatory process to formulate a »Vision 2050« for the city of Prenzlau.

2018 - 2019: Cultural development in rural regions

  • Consultant in the transformation process of the »Upper Middle Rhine Valley« region (Oberes Mittelrheintal) for the »TRAFO – Models for a changing culture«, program of the Federal Culture Foundation (Bundesstiftung Kultur).
  • Study on the development of the region and on options for a different development. Interviews with 16 experts from the cultural sector.

2017 - 2021: Socioculture and sustainability

  • Since 2017: Impulses, presentations and essays in the area of ​​socio-cultural centers and initiatives. How can socioculture contribute to sustainable transformation
  • 2020: Researcher at the Institute of Cultural Policy of the University of Hildesheim. Co-head of the research project »Developing a culture of sustainability. Practices and perspectives of socio-cultural centers«.
  • 2020 – 2021: Publication of an anthology on socioculture and sustainability, co-editor with Wolfgang Schneider and Kristina Gruber.

2017 - 2019: EARTHFEST. An initiative

  • 2017: The cultural scientist Hildegard Kurt and the philosopher Andreas Weber develop the idea of ​​an Earthfest, to be held every year on the summer solstice, as is the tradition in many indigenous tribes. Each municipality, organization or initiative will be able to celebrate its relationship with the Earth in its own place. The conception is oriented to the artist Joseph Beuys, EARTHFEST is understood as »social sculpture«. The initiative is funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz).
  • 22.-24.06.2018: First Earthfest with 69 local actions.
  • 21.-23.06.2019: Second Earthfest with 170 local actions.
  • As a member of the organization team I am responsible for the sociological research on the initiative, the process and the actions as well as their effects on the awareness of nature. The study is drawn up in 2019, but not published.

2011 - 2020: Urban Transformation / Day of the Good Life

  • 2011: Idea and concept for a »Day of the Good Life« in Cologne, as a catalyst for a bottom-up, sustainable and progressive transformation of the city. The notion of »Good Life« refers to the debate on alternative development models – in Latin America on »Buen Vivir« (Good Life). Every year the Day takes place in a different district of the city. The district becomes to a common, which for a day is governed together, by its inhabitants and users (cf. Elinor Ostrom). The streets become completely car free, so that every neighbourhood can realize in this wide free space the own program of good life. Every activity in the common space has to be not commercial, only sharing (gift economy) is allowed. Every Day of the Good Life is the highlight of an annual campaign aimed at introducing a new transformative step in the city, an environmental, economic, social or cultural one, democratically defined. The Day of the Good Life should be supported and realized by a local, colorful movement created ad hoc. A wide movement is needed for leading the political and administrative institutions to support the initiative, in the framework of a »public-citizen-partnership«.
  • 12.12.2011: The draft-concept is awarded with the »Dialogue Cologne Climate Change« (Dialog Kölner Klimawandel).
  • 2012: Creation of the network »Agora Cologne« (Agora Köln) as official organizer of the »Day of the Good Life : Cologne Sunday of sustainability« (Tag des guten Lebens: Kölner Sonntag der Nachhaltigkeit). This movement is joined by over 130 organizations, initiatives, schools, theaters, businesses etc …, which want to transform the city towards sustainability. The Ehrenfeld District Council unanimously approves the support to the Day of the Good Life in a neighborhood of 22,000 inhabitants. In addition, the Council becomes a member of the Agora Cologne movement.
  • 15.09.2013: The first Day of the Good Life takes place in the neighbourhood of Ehrenfeld (22,000 inhabitants) in Cologne. 24 streets are car and commerce free. Public spaces are used by neighborhoods to realize and improve their own programs of good life. The theme of the general campaign is »sustainable mobility«.
  • Since 2014: Almost every year the Day of the Good Life takes place in a quarter of Cologne: Ehrenfeld (2014), Sülz (2015), Deutz (2017), Agnes Viertel (2018), Ehrenfeld (2019), Mülheim (2021). Two other District Councils (Lindenthal and Innenstadt) support the initiative.
  • 2016 – 2017: Sociological evaluation of the experience and the »real laboratory«. Publication of essays and of the book »Urban Transformation. Towards a Good Life in the own city« (in German). Invitation to bring the impulse into other cities, for exemple Berlin and Dresden.
  • 2017 – 2019: Exploration of some Berlin neighborhoods. Promotion and construction of neighborhood structures in the Brüsseler Kiez-quarter (district Berlin-Mitte). Creation, coordination and co-speaker for the movement »Good Living Berlin«, to which more than 50 organizations and three districts belong. Presentation of the idea to the State-region of Berlin, that at the end of 2019 approves a two-year support for a Day of the Good Life in three Berlin neighborhoods.
  • 2018 – 2019: The North Rhine-Westphalia Research Institute on Social Development (Forschungsinstitut für gesellschaftliche Weiterentwicklung) commissions a research on neighborhood civic initiatives, which promote local self-government and sustainability. Qualitative empirical social research on six initiatives in Bonn, Cologne and Wuppertal, interviews with their founders. Publication of the study by the Munich publishing company with the title »Great transformation in the neighborhood. How lived democracy becomes sustainability«.
  • 2019 – 2020: Series of workshops to bring the transformative knowledge and impulse of the Day of the Good Life to other German cities, including Hamburg, Dortmund, Erfurt, Kiel, Minden and Wuppertal. An initiative is formed in Wuppertal to realize the Day in 2020, in Dresden the initiative for the »Week of the Good Life« is born.
  • 25.09. and 02.10.2020: The first Days of the Good Life take place in Berlin.
  • 2020 – 2021: Sociological evaluation of the Berlin experience and »real laboratory« on commission of Berlin 21.

2010 - 2012: Mafia in Germany

  • 08.15.2007: Mafia massacre in Duisburg. The reactions in the regional community of Italian immigrants are ambivalent.
  • 15.11.2010: Round table »Germany, stronghold of the mafia?« at the AWO Intercultural Center in Cologne. Speakers: Petra Reski (journalist), Volker Beck (general manager of the Green fraction in the federal parliament), Rosella Benati (President of the Com.It.Es. of Cologne), Rüdiger Thust (vice-president of the Union of German investigators / Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter). Idea, organization and opening speech.
  • 02.11.2011: Presentation of the book »Resistere a Mafiopoli« with Giovanni Impastato. Initiative with Aurora Rodonò.
  • 2012: Creation of the initiative »Culture of legality«.
  • 11.-13.10.2012: Program of events »Mafia in Germany«. Round table at the Cologne Police Headquarters with over 400 people. Speakers: Roberto Scarpinato (state prosecutor in Palermo), Dario Riccobono (Addio Pizzo), Egbert Bülles (ex-prosecutor of Cologne), Bianca Negri (»Mafia? No thanks«, Berlin).

2010 - 2011: Study on the art-project »2-3 Streets/Ruhr.2010«

  • In 2010, the Ruhr area is the »European Capital of Culture«. One of the biggest projects in the program is »2-3 Streets« by the artist Jochen Gerz. For a year 78 creatives, artists … from all over the world can live for free in three streets in the suburbs of Duisburg, Mülheim and Dormund and relate to retrograde realities. They have no other obligation than to write a diary, as a subjective documentation of the process. The streets are both: the place and the subject of a year-long art exhibition. Here there is nothing else to see than social reality.
  • For the Institute of Art History of the University of Düsseldorf I follow the project as a sociologist. Interviews with the new and old inhabitants of the streets. The results are summarized in a study with Marion Eisele. How is it possible to re-evaluate the urban peripheries with intangible interventions?


2009 - 2020: Sustainable design

  • 2009 – 2018: Lecturer in sustainable design at the Ecosign/Academy for Design in Cologne.
  • 2013: Conception, coordination and co-edition of the anthology in German language »History of sustainable design« (Geschichte des nachhaltigen Designs).
  • 2010 – 2014: Member of the organization of the Sustainable Summer School, organized by Wuppertal Institut, Folkwang Hochschule, Aalto University and ecosign (among others).
  • since 2020: Member of the jury of the sustainable design-section of the German Sustainability Award.

2008: International art-exhibition »Subkulinaria«

  • »Subkulinaria« exhibition at the Deutz bridge over the Rhine. 14 artists from different countries present works (photography, painting, video, installations …) on food and agriculture between culture and nature, globalization and sustainability. In two weekends 2.000 people visited the event. My Tasks: concept, project coordination and press office. Official organizer: Institut Cultura21 e. V. Funding: City of Cologne.

2006: Photo-exhibition »Fishing in the Time«

  • Photo exhibition »Fishing in the time«. Photographic works by Davide Dutto and Claus Dieter-Geissler. Design, concept and coordination of the project. Location of the exhibition: Gallery of the Italo Svevo Institute, Cologne. Official organizer: Institut Cultura21 e.V..


2005 - 2009: International network Cultura21

  • Creation of the Cultura21 network in Düsseldorf, which brings together the experience of Kulturattac. The goal is the promotion of a cultural change towards sustainability. Cultura21 becomes international during the  international conference »Creativity, Support & Sustainability« 2007 in Lüneburg. President of the Institute Cultura21 e.V. until 2009, which formally supports the network.


2002 - 2004: Kulturattac

  • Creation and Speaker of Kulturattac, the cultural network of Attac Germany. In This approx. 350 artists, actors, musicians, writers, designers … supported the globalization critical movement. Cooperation with the Federal Council for Culture (Kulturrat) for a common campaign aimed to protect culture and art from becoming a mere commodity on liberalized markets, a possibility envisaged in the 2003 World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations in Cancun. Coordination of the project »Peace Attack – Music for Peace«, an international artistic signal of 120 musical groups against the war in Iraq. The project ends with the release of two music collections (punk and pop CDs), to which the Ramones, Tote Hosen, Jan Delay (among others) contribute. Conception and realization of the »Festival of Cultures for another World« in the socio-cultural center ZAKK in Düsseldorf.


1985 - 1991: Activism in the Italian student movement

  • 1985 – 1989: During the high school study, member of the Student Coordination of Rimini. In 1988 proposal for a programmatic socio-ecological change of the movement.
  • 1989 – 1991: Active member of the student collectives of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Bologna. Support of the organization of the »Panther movement« for a revaluation of humanities and against the »Ruberti Reform« of the Italian government, aimed at economizing universities. Support for the Chinese student movement and the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

1984 - 1989: Villa Verucchio Ecological Group (GEW)

  • Creation of the Villa Verucchio Ecological Group (Gruppo Ecologico Villa Verucchio, GEW), local branch of the Legambiente. Management of the Marecchia Park of the Municipality of Verucchio and establishment of a library on environmental topics. Editing and publication of the Oikos magazine. In 1986 participation at the international exchange between ARCI Rimini and Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) Heidelberg (D). Support of the campaign for the 1987 Anti-Nuclear Referendum and of the pacifist movement. Presidency of the association until 1989.


Publications in English


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