Collection of case studies to prepare for The Stewardship

In order to avoid getting trapped by semantic segregation or a flimsiness to the idea of ‘Stewardship’, in organising LOTE4 we act with clear and concrete examples when we discuss the topic in order to contextualise. For starters, we aim to collate initiatives that will serve as both a reference point and an address book for inviting people into the conference.

By sharing the knowledge we help each other be very well prepared to discuss stewardship and connect with others in the world whose models can serve as an inspiration. Fill in the dots below by simply Editing this collaborative wiki or leave a comment below.

International examples

  • What is the major outcome achieved that we should be learning from?
  • Do you know anyone involved in the project and can connect them with our event?
  • Are you up for interviewing the initiators and publishing the audio/video here on Edgeryders so we can learn more?

1. Heygate Estate, a public owned housing estate which was sold off to a private development firm at a loss but also at the cost of displacing many families - in the years that follow a community has sprung up around the estate to organise events and community garden but the property developers plan to demolish the building to build luxury flats continues.

2. Impossible Living, an online platform to map abandoned spaces 

3. Community land trust in New York

4. Digital Stewards / + (Barcelona) - + Ninux (Italy) - + Athens Metropolitan Wireless Network (Greece) - and + Digital Merthyr - + Digital Dales - + Digital Lyme - + The Free Network Foundation -

5. Prinzessinnengarten is situated in a densely populated neighborhood in Berlin and over the years it’s seen thousands of volunteers caring for the space: growing organic produce, organising meals, using it as a playground, as a bookclub location, as a spot for spontaneous concerts etc. It brings community together and is now economically self-sustainable –sells local produce in its own cafe. You can only imagine how valuable this is and the contribution it makes at so many levels: helps create jobs and regenerating a local economy, brings people together in social activities, it encourages civic participation, not just among youth, but also elders etc Last year the garden, public property, was going to be sold and privatized by the gov, but a citizen-led campaign which collected over 30000 signatures stopped that. It happened because people cared enough to make it happen. And then it made the Berlin Senate to announce promotion of urban gardening as part of a sustainable urban policy…

  1. Community-led Spaces (UK): includes a number of case studies concerned with community stewardship of public open spaces:  

  2. Pillars of the Community (UK): includes a number of case studies concerned with community stewardship of heritage assets:

  3. Community Libraries: Learning from Experience (UK) - x10 case studies -

  4. Civic Buildings: the Show Must Go On (UK) - Locality’s guide to the community ownership and management of theatres, arts venues and civic buildings:

  5. Guidance for Community Owned/Managed Swimming Pools (UK) -

  6. Guidance for Community Owned/Managed Sports (football) Facilities (UK) -

  7. The Hastings Pier Charity -

Please add more examples to the list: edit this wiki or leave a comment below!

Projects and associations in Matera, Italy

  • Can you help formulate a call for contributions and invitation for these at the event?
  • Are you up for interviewing the initiators and publishing the audio/video on Edgeryders so we can learn more?

1. Casa Netural coworking space

2. PopHub mapping empty spaces in Matera 

Please add more examples to the list: edit this wiki or leave a comment below!


Fortress of Shali, Siwa Oasis, Matrouh Governorate - Egypt

About Shali

"The centre of thetown is dominated by the spectacular organic shapes of the remains of this 13th-century mudbrick fortress. Built from a material known locally as kershef (large chunks of salt from the lake just outside town, mixed with rock and plastered in local clay), the labyrinth of huddled buildings was originally four or five storeys high and housed hundreds of people. For centuries, few outsiders were admitted inside – and even fewer came back out to tell the tale. But three days of rain in 1926 caused more damage than any invader had managed and, over the last decades, inhabitants moved to newer and more comfortable houses with running water and electricity. Now only a few buildings around the edges are occupied or used for storage, including the Old Mosque with its chimney-shaped minaret.

Read more: Must-see attractions Siwa Oasis, Western Desert - Lonely Planet

Before renovation:

During and after renovation:

This fortress was neglected for decades till an Egyptian business man bought the entrance to the old city, restored it and turned it into a hotel. Other houses were bought by foreigners who could afford the price of the house and the renovation work. There are two type of contracts: a preliminary and a definitive. They have the preliminary contract which means that the government could take back the house after certain time. The original owners of the wrecked houses were able to buy a land, build modern houses, and cultivate vegetables and palm trees. The new owners restored the houses and preserved parts of the old fortress and for me it seemed to be like a win - win situation. I was able to see how the houses were before they were affected by the 3 days rain.



Wow, it’s beautiful! And it’s made of salt? Did the rain wash it away?

i will post various photos

This was before the revolution and since then I did not know what happened. I was upset because we were selling our heritage to foreigners till I befriended one of them and was present when the original owners were tryong to sell here a window for thousabds of pounds. I asked and one of them explained. It all started with the Egyptian Businessman. I will post photos later.

a bit more on siwa

what I find even more interesting in Siwa  that the car road to Siwa was built in the early 1980s so NOW there are still people who witnessed how the oasis was before being connected to the “city” . one guy told me that he witnessed his father doing business -selling land - by the word of mouth without any papers.

so till now even with Shali being “dissolved” but still lots of their own culture lives , still have their own local language besides arabic , still their have their own lifestyle , clothes…etc   but living in concrete and stone buildings

of course normally  everything is changing with young people going to Alexandria" or Cairo to study but there is lots to learn from there

Collaboratively create a “Meet the…” series of stories?

Hi Guys, from my experience one way to draw out more case studies is to present one in the form of an engaging blogpost and ask for tips for stories about more initiatives. I thought maybe a series called “Meet the Edgeryders”?

If someone can create the first one as an example this helps a lot. It makes it easier to ask people to contribute one piece each, about themselves and their work, or projects they know of. Why? When we add this as a task on Makerfox we need to include clear instructions as well as an example post.

We also need an editor to help keep the quality consistent and make them “pop”. Another task for Makerfox is to be editor for the series.

Some suggestions for possible people/projects to feature

1. Nic at Vake Park, Tbilisi: If someone can help maybe others can help create refine my interview + of Nic from Vake Park into a great article and add a call for more projects to it?  Why does it make sense for busy people to participate: some of the projects are then offered a slot in the Hackathon. They are also eligible for the Stewardship Award which aims to build recognition for the projects featured in case studies by peers and representatives of institutions as solid and credible initiatives.

  1. Libraries, Urban parks, Alternative currencies and other examples from the Baltic Sea region: There are several stories that can serve as case studies in this writeup about the theme and amongst the posts in this group.

  2. Hacking ring roads, Market activism, new kinds of intentional communities, pedestrian rights movements. Many examples have popped up in futurespotters. Hazem, Inge, Noemi and Sam know about these stories and where we can find the materials.

On a side note: I think we should consider asking some of the participants of the final event in Tbilisi to do a repeat session at LOTE4. Check out the documentation from the event here: /t/edgeryders-public-speaking/413-a-directory-of-talks-and-workshops-we-love).

Who can help with this? Im swamped with the fundraising this week. @Ben Vickers?

I am up for it

I can work on refining the interview with Nik ( old one and the community call )and making an example of the blog post as a wiki tonight so that anyone can edit and finalize it .

and most of the material of Futterspotters are documented in this wiki , but how to repackage the relevant ones  , may be a nice visual article like future newspaper ?

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More about Shali

Shali, outside view:

Interesting information about the construction:

Salt lake

Salt and wood window :slight_smile:

Renovated house in Shali

another story from Egypt

well this is another inspiring story from Egypt not from Cairo but from a village in Dakahlia Governorate.( even much more extreme than the ring road hacking  )

the link is in Arabic , but the story is about a community based development of the village (again based on Zakaa model ) done through 30 years transforming the village from extreme poverty and low level of education to having an Azhar university branch in the village and nearly no unemployment , starting with a just a small farm .

The story is a bit long in Arabic and it would be better  than translating if someone can visit or get in contact with the people.

@Abdo was the one who sent me the story a while ago , may be he knows a link .

@amiridina @labanita … do u know any link with this village ?

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Greek Campus, another example from Egypt

The American University in Cairo purchased the Greek Campus from the Greek Community in 1964. It’s located a half block from the main campus in Down Town near Tahrir Sq. Of the four main buildings in the Greek campus, the social science and continuing education were purchased and adapted for use by the university, while the main library and the Jameel building were purpose built.

In 2008, the AUC decided to to relocate in the suburb of New Cairo, as result of overcrowding and institutional fragmentation in its AUC Tahrir Square location.

The campus has been closed since after AUC relocated to New Cairo. In November 2013, AUC has signed a 10-year lease agreement with Tahrir Alley Technology Park (TATP), a Cairo-based company that intends to keep the Greek Campus name and operate it, with AUC retaining full ownership. the Greek Campus is now a home to Egypt’s first technology park in downtown Cairo. They are renovating the place gradually and I really in love with the event and services offered in the space.

Community garden in Cluj

… this is an initiative to revitalize one of the most communist-looking neighborhoods in my hometown in Romania. It’s not only about gardening together with elders, who were relocated in cities to live in blocks of flats during the communist forced urbanisation, it also involved creating a neighborhood festival with activities like: artistic performances, garage painting, child play and others… The activities are organised by a group of contemporary art curators, artists and architects  who are mainly fundraising from private actors to get these things done.

La Terenuri · Urban Food Stories from Urban Food Stories on Vimeo.

A model of collective action: Zero unemployment in Tafahena

imageTafahena El Ashraf, a small village in the city of Mit Ghamr, Dakahlia Governorate of Egypt, 120 km of Cairo, is the only village in Egypt to have a University. It has a branch of the Al-Azhar University that includes several university colleges.

The village was poor with a population of less then of five thousand people, and less than five hundred agricultural acres. Till 1966, not a single person was at any stage of education, and the village have been known to export migrant workers to surrounding areas. Cars used to stop in a nearby village, and the drivers might have even not heard of the existence of the village.

In 1982, nine youth from the village have decided to eradicate poverty. They started by collecting the Zakat (Charity religious duty) from the rich, as a first step to address poverty. Then decided to create a poultry farm with a capital of EGP 2000, and this was the beginning of the transformation. While writing the company’s contract they decided to allocate 10% of the profit to be spent in the “faces of his goodness” and called it the “share the greatest partner,” and when they found the profit was higher than they expected, the increased the percentage to 20% of the profit, until it reached 100% of the profits of ten farms (a sort of endowment). Over the years, beside the farms, number of factories were set – up to feed the cattle. They traded in agricultural products and exported citrus fruits, potatoes and onions to several countries outside Egypt. They established a bigger farm outside the village in a Tal El Kebeer, and the size of investments has reached 35 millions pounds, and three companies.

An “Islamic Center” was founded to implement the charity “Zakat” projects agreed upon through several committees: Committee for Education; Committee for agriculture; Committee for Youth; Committee for Health; Committee for the reconciliations and the Commission for Zakat.

In few years, there has been four Azhar colleges: Sharia, education for boys, trade, and human studies for girls, students dorms, a nursery that accepts 350 children, a central hospital, a railway station and Central Communications, and Islamic complex services. The residents have established these projects by their own efforts, and without depending on the Government, in the framework of a series of annual projects that did not stop, but tended to increase after that they decided to engage in two major projects each year. They were able to eradicate poverty and extended their work in neighboring villages.

The students are given free subscriptions to the railway, a free uniform, and two days before Ramadan flour and margarine containers are distributed for free on each of the village’s houses, around 1000 houses including the mayors house.

Strategy for poverty eradication

Zakat Committee began to collect Zakat of the population according to their activity farmer gives of his crop, a trader gives goods, doctors in the village agreed to treat and follow – up specific cases of patients for free. They committee found that the poor tend to spend the money where given to them.m consequently and after sometimes this did not solve the problem of extreme poverty. They then decided to distribute 40 ewe on widows. The following year 20 buffalo calf for poor men. They let them men cultivate food for the calves, giving each men the right to use six carats of a land they had bought for the construction of educational facilities. They provided the unemployed youth with machines (carpentry, mechanics or blacksmith), and to older people kiosks or vehicles to sell home made food, they also helped with the health certificate (micro – loans). Girls who have not completed their education where trained on sewing beside managing the house and preparing sweets, and literacy classes. They then got a sewing machine, four cloths, four reels thread for free to begin work. As uniforms were distributed for free, girls could work from home to produce three thousands uniforms for the children of the village and the neighboring village.

Commission civil dispute resolution:

No issue of the village goes to the police, all is solved by the reconciliation committee. s established

Commission of Health:

They established a central hospital and in the process of establishing a health insurance hospital to serve people from surrounding villages as well.

All the projects are based on the collective action of the various professions in the village. They build the buildings themselves with their tools and manufactured their furniture themselves to reduce the costs

Boom extends to the neighboring villages:

Many homes has established an additional floor to rent chambers to expatriate students, which range of an average of 100 per room per month, the number of shops has also increased as a result of the movement of transport vehicles dealing with the factories, as well as the presence of student. And the action extended to neighboring villages. 

Highlights from:


thnx @amiridina  again that was  so quick :slight_smile:

it is still worth a visit , as the “zero” unemployment thing is not backed up with any statistics but from the comments of the facebook post , the model itself seems working …

News from Tafahna

I tried to contact the founder or the catalyst for the community stewardship in Tafahna but he is currently very ill and is travelling between Cairo and London for treatment.

So, I tried to contact the PR or spokesman from the NGO but he said they are currently very busy and would not be ready for an interview before September :S

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I first learned about Tafahna from a professor of Urban Planning during a workshop about cooperative. And the story was a bit different than what I read. They did not want to send there daughter to neighborhooding village for education. They started to pay P.T. 25 on monthly basis saved at the grosser shop (supply card علي بطاقة التموين) then someone from the NGO in Cairo knew about what they are trying to do so they endowed a land for the purpose of building a school. They built the school, the hospital, etc and then the government would send teachers and doctors. While googling Tafahna I saw news about violence - remember all the universities is Azhari - and there cheikh who is most probably the man who is traveling to the UK was banned from giving public speeches. Google Tafahena and try to find out more. September is in few days. I would love to join you as well as the Cooperative movement leader.

Very intriguing

@Oamax, @amiridina, @Hazem, thanks for all this research work. Al-Mu’tamidiya, Shali, Greek Campus, Tafanha: Egypt seems to be full of social experiments, and it’s a shame we don’t hear very much of it in the west. Even as I read through your comments I don’t feel I really understand what’s going on in Tafanha. The beginnings are clear enough: zakat money, a poultry farm, initial successes. But then? Was it self-propelled? Was it helped by government investment? What is the organization model? Is there a sort of command center? Oamax speaks of a NGO, but Dina’s translation (thanks!) does not mention any. It is quite frustrating not to be able to read in Arabic!

Tafahna again

They exported fruits and vegetables this is very lucrative. They established a bigger farm outside the village in a Tal El Kebeer, and the size of investments had reached 35 millions pounds according to the article.

The article itself is not well written. We will understand if someone interviewed them. I have a last case from the community where we are trying to work :slight_smile: An urban garden on the top hill of mokattam in the earthquake buildings…

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Go go go!

Wow, so much action in Egypt…

An oasis in the urban desert: Al - Azhar Park, Cairo - Egypt

From mounts of rubbish amassed during 500 years to a park in Cairo…image