Branding The Reef: how to stand out in the buzz of Brussels' New Housing movement

As I reflect back on the meeting we had at Commune de Forest, I realize that we might need to think some more about how we communicate The Reef’s UVP, and how it is different from other projects.

Brussels is abuzz with initiatives on housing. Historically, housing has been cheap here. But about 20 years ago prices started to grow faster then incomes. In their presentation video. Community Land Trust Brussels claim housing prices doubled from 2000 to 2010. The poorer strata of the population fell through the cracks, or felt they soon would. Everybody and their horse went to work on the problem.

So, when you talk to housing people (in the sense of decision-makers or other stakeholders) about co-living, they tend to group you with people doing social housing in all its forms. Social housing; “intergenerational”; “vulnerable groups”, etc. The question hanging in the air is “what do you guys do which is not already being done?”.

The answer, of course, is that we are doing decarbonization through behavioral change, and behavioral change through communal living. I have not heard of any project looking in this direction. Every project is “green”, but the greenness is embodied in the artifacts (build with green technologies), not in the agents (condition people to live green). This is not necessarily easy to convey.

I suggest we consider an investment in communication and imagery. Maybe an art exhibition? Or commission an artist’s impression? @noemi @matthias

Quick thought: to stand out, maybe emphasize a scientific methodology behind our approach to green living. Otherwise it sounds like an amateur project of average “eco-conscious” people and is grouped in with that. Very, very roughly:

“We design our interior spaces base on behavior setting theory of […] [citation, citation!] so that everyday interaction with people and objects is rich in triggers for frugal and otherwise eco-beneficial behavior. We collect data about our own behavior, both though automated means and a random sampling mobile application for form-based entry, about the effects of this setting, and optimize it continuously. Our living space is a living, self-modifying lab space for 21st century green urban living.”