Public Futures is a global database tracking the returning to public ownership (remunicipalisation) of utility services, infrastructures and other privatised assets. The database is part of the European Research Council-funded project GLOBALMUN in partnership with various organisations, including the Netherlands-based research and advocacy organisation, Transnational Institute (TNI). The Public Futures Database builds on work by TNI, who have been collecting data on water remunicipalisation since 2007 and on remunicipalisation more broadly since 2014.
The database enables researchers to gain a clearer picture of the role and significance of public ownership with the aim to assess whether remunicipalisation leads to more progressive forms of state and public action, and to evaluate the democratic potential of new forms of public and collective ownership.
GLOBALMUN approached GUSS in 2020 to work on the database. Franziska Paul explains, ‘A member of the funding panel for GLOBALMUN had heard about the initiative and suggested we get in touch with GUSS. We had a really productive first meeting in which we explained that we needed to construct a free, publicly-accessible, interactive, and safe database but had no idea how to go about it.’
GUSS began development work on the Public Futures database in 2020, building a web app which provides accessible, accurate, detailed information on remunicipalisation and ensures it is easy for the public to report cases, which can then be verified by researchers, thus giving a far more accurate picture globally.