Common spaces: getting more precision on our "programme"

Hello @reef-facilitation,

At the Full Members meeting where we discussed JET-14, Team Building was given the action point to get more clarity on the common spaces. Upon reflection though, it seems to me that this is not really a building-technical issue, but more one of getting a shared view on what it is that want to pass on to the architects as part of our “programme”.

As a background for those who weren’t there: we did some brainstorming sessions in 2022-2023. The conclusions are saved in the 2023 proposals folder:

What we need now is more clarity for the architects about how we see the common spaces. To me there are two aspects to this which we would need to clarify:

1 - What are the needs and wishes that are really important for each and every one of us?
2 - Do we have a clear view on how we envisage to use these common spaces?

I’ll give two examples to illustrate the latter:

– Example 1: Co-working space

  • Where does everybody stand on wanting / needing this?
  • If you intend to use it, how do you see this?
    • Would you need your own desk, with a screen, chair etc, and if yes, would you be willing to pay some monthly rent to The Reef?
    • How will we handle people who have a lot of online meetings?
    • Can this space be used by mini Reeflings who need to study after office hours?

– Example 2: Common living room

  • How do you picture it?
  • How do you intend to use it?
  • Would you prefer a fully private one (like in Tivoli) or would you be ok with a space that can be rented out to the neighbourhood (like in l’Echappée)?

The outcome of all this, in my view, should be a list of common space functionalities (e.g. a co-working space that offers silence and personal desks, a guest room that could also be used for something else, …) with very short explanation. This we can then give to the architects, so that they can make their feasibility studies a bit more precise.

In terms of process, my view is that the time is there to start taking some decisions. In January 2023, the moment we recorded our last discussion, there were barely 5 households (7 people) who were Full Members, with about 15-20 people being unclear about their commitment. Now that we are 11 fully commited households (16 people) who are likely to stick together, I think it makes sense to move forward. The cost of not being a member of The Reef at this moment unavoidably seems that those who are not there are starting to miss out on being part of shaping the project.

This we can of course decide together of course. But it would be good to get started with this sooner rather than later. Hence the request from Team Building: would you be willing to take this on?


Happy to do this!


@reef-facilitation, just a quick note that this may now become very urgent.

Here’s the latest from the architects:
(see, second bullet in the second block)

I would personally recommend setting up some sort of written consultation as a first step, because we won’t have enough time during a plenaries for a big point with post-its and flip-charts. Do you think you could come with a concrete outcome at the plenary of 26 May?

@sarah, would you possibly be interested to bring in the Team Building angle?

hi chris, you were talking about having our team facilitation meeting sooner (than 18/05) @reef-facilitation @Sarah
If I understood well, you (mieke and/or chris aren’t available in the extra long weekend, so this leaves this weekend…

  • saturday 04/05 10:00-12:00
  • saturday 04/05 14:00-16:00
  • saturday 04/05 16:00-18:00
  • saturday 04/05 18:00-20:00
  • sunday 05/05 15:00-17:00
  • sunday 05/05 17:00-19:00
0 voters
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Thanks @els !
It’s confirmed than that @reef-facilitation will meet this Saturday morning, with the priority being providing clarity on the common spaces.

No problem!


Hello @reef-facilitation,

I read the minutes of your meeting, and I’m afraid that there has been a bit of a misunderstanding.

The way I see it, getting more precision on our programme is something that we need to discuss together. So the question is: can you step in to set up an efficient collection of everybody’s views?

We have very limited time available in the plenary meetings, and a decision on this may be relatively urgent, so I would recommend starting with some sort of written consultation, either through a post or through an online form. From that we could synthesize the insights, and then bring that to a plenary meeting for a discussion.

One key thing is very important in my view, which is that for now we should focus on needs/wishes and not on strategies, because these I would leave to the architects. Example: somebody could say “it’s really important to me that we have a guest room where the grandparents of our children can stay over” rather than “can we increase the ceiling height and put the guest room on a mezzanine?”.

So going back to my initial post, I would focus the written consultation on the 3-4 things that are really important for each of us, and how we picture it in more detail.

Examples of possible input you would be collecting (not mine):

  • Example 1: a co-working space is really important to me; I don’t need a display or an office chair, but I would like the space to be silent (so no video calls).

  • Example 2: I would like a small, cozy common living room where I can receive guests for dinner, where we can have coffee together during the day; I would like there to be a lot of sunshine, and it’s important to me that it can be a relatively quite space.

Is that something you can work with?

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@reef-facilitation @Lee
Rereading the blueprint there are a lot of ‘coulds’ but also a must ‘the common living room’, including a kitchen facility , bar and quiet corner
Also part of the blueprint is ‘a place where neighbourhood can meet up and set up activities’. This was also mentioned in the meeting with the commune of Jette , which were enthousiastic about this.

=> i suppose we don’t need to inquire about this as it is part of the blueprint?

TBH that part of the Blueprint could have been more precise.

The way I intended to draft it was that the place to set up activities (by non-Reeflings) is a non-negotiatable, idem for the quiet corners (because of inclusion). Everything else I would consider open.

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@Lee @reef-facilitation ,
still a question i am wondering about…
I agree that it is up to the architects to come up with architectural solutions to fulfill our needs (raising the ceiling so we can have a mezzanine…,…)
One question i think we should have the reeflings advice on is: whether we want to increase the price/m2 to increase the m2 of our commons spaces. I refer to the proposal you (lee) made about having 30m2 of asterix as maybe a common intimate living area (a proposal that resonated with quite some people, and the reason for that being larger than just ‘increasing the m2 for the common spaces’. ) Whatever the destination would be, it seems important to me to pass the extra info to the architects: we are willing (or not) to increase our price /m2 for extra common space, and that is: a maximum of an extra 30 m2.

I’ve calculated what it would mean to have an extra 30 m2 of common space (and 30 m2 less of logements): this would raise the price per m2 from 4307 to 4376 euro/m2. I’ve understood from Chris that you (lee) calculated it to be only a couple of euro’s extra per m2. Maybe we should compare our calculations?


Sorry, I missed that (as I just explained somewhere else, I’m not at full speed yet…)
I am happy to be part of the discussion, although now I’ve missed the first meeting. Not sure if I can still help?

One input for now: the architects advised us to think in terms of multi-functionalities, so even though they will be the ones who will make it all go into the box, we might start brainstorming in that way (the example you gave about the coworking space becoming a homework space for example is a good one). That could be a question for people: ideas about how to combine different usage in one space.


For the possible common living room in Asterix: my calculations led to an additional 100k in the non-vendables (or something) which would lead to increase of 50 euro per square meter. In the discussions I would build on the assumptions that we will find that money somewhere. One possibility would be to use the money from the 2-4% that the latecomers will be paying extra.

Just in case it can be of use, I have added an idea on how you could collect input. It’s just an idea of course, but I wondered whether we can just ask people to write 3 post-it notes “wishes” in a Word document, and that afterwards Team Facilitation synthesises that and uses it to launch a discussion. The advantages of this way of working can be several:

  • We leave things open instead of steering with detailed questions
  • We make people think about what is really important to them
  • Unlike on Edgeryders, we are not reacting yet to each others’ ideas.

Feel free to ignore all of it. Just wanted to make a little contribution to making progress on this. Link:


i was also thinking in that way ‘we should be able to find the money somewhere’. one other piste i was thinking off: we foresee 750 euro/m2 for all common spaces (including the bikeshed e.g.). My assumption is, the bigger you go with a space, the lower the price for the finishing will be per m2.
190 x 750 euro = 142500. Seems a lot to me… Adding another 30 m2 means adding another 22500 euro to it as well.

i don’t know if you saw the document team facilitation was working on:
this is with detailed questions, for me in this way people will think more about them, how they would like it to be (maybe we should also make sure they don’t start to dream). Making up these questions, made me think more about how i would imagine it. As people get a more than normal proportion of questions right now/important things to read, i personally think it should be well guided to make it easy and get as much information as possible out of it, but i let it to @reef-facilitation to share their opinion on it


I agree, but I also like to be safe when making up the budget.

To me both approaches are more or less equivalent. Personally I prefer openess, and not steering people, but that’s just me (e.g. I don’t care so much about furniture). Can it maybe be a combination of both approaches? This way you would ask people to make three big post-its, and at the top of the document you make a whole list of suggestions that people could elaborate on. Doer decides though, so please do it your way. I just wanted to offer some input, but I’d be really fine if it is not integrated.


Hi all :slight_smile:

Sorry I’ve been absent from this discussion for so long!

Reading through the posts, I don’t think we’re all that far apart on how we see the task, or the way forward. Perhaps the minutes didn’t necessarily reflect the strategy, which in itself is a work in progress.

That’s the plan, and I think Els has already prepared a first draft of a questionnaire. It’s possible that we got overly prescriptive with some of our thinking, but this can be ironed out fairly easily. How the post + questionnaire + plenary discussion all interrelate is an ongoing discussion.

@els and @mieke - perhaps we can have a short online meeting in the near future, to clarify the path forward based on what’s been prepared and the points emerging from this thread. We can organise a time on our WhatsApp group, as that sort of practicality doesn’t necessarily need to take place on the forum. For anyone following this discussion, we will post the time of the meeting here and add it to the Nextcloud calendar.

@Lee - would it be worth having a quick call, just to double check that we’re all on the same page?


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Sure. I’ll be back starting from Saturday.

i don’t agree with this, but as chris proposes a short online meeting soon, i will bring it up in TF and after the discussion come back to that/or it will be in the notes…

@reef-full ,

As you have read in other posts, the question of the ‘common spaces’ is one we might want to have a bit more clarity on before the vote on JET-14 (22/05)

This is the plan:

Could every full member write down what he/she would like to have in the common spaces.
Deadline: friday 17/05 20:00
Please send your file to reef-facilitation (Chris, Mieke, me) via a private message on ER
We will work on this next weekend and give a resume, and this before the 22/5.

There is a template for those who want:
Basically we would like you to give your top 3 (top 4 max) of what you would like to have in the common spaces. Share how you picture this space/functionality, and what things are important and less important for you.



Hi there @reeflings :slight_smile:
Just wanted to share an info about common spaces in another cohousing that I found rereading my notes about the visit there: see this link. Not fully informative because approximative, but that gives an idea of what is doable with less than a 100m brut (and we could find out more if needed with the architects? Or if somebody has a contact there?)


By the way for the new-er members, you can find info on all the different visits that we did in the tag cohousing-knowledge


Hi @reeflings !

Here is the link to the results of the common spaces questionnaire:

It is in three parts. The first part is a table giving a complete overview of the responses (because @els is amazing). The second part is a representation of the responses organised according to each space (because @mieke is amazing). And the third part is the individual responses, listed in no particular order (because I know how to copy and past things). In this third part, we have not included names with the responses, for reasons explained in the document.

This has been an extremely interesting exercise, and if you take the time to look through the results, it’s possible to get a sense of what is important to us both as individuals and as a group. My personal view is that we are not that far apart on what we consider important, and I have faith in our ability to communicate well, respect each others’ positions and compromise as we move forward :slight_smile:

It is not the role of @reef-facilitation to design the common spaces. But we have taken on the task to move the discussion on in a constructive way. The next step in this process is at the plenary meeting this Sunday (the 26th), when common spaces has a half-hour spot on the agenda. This is obviously not enough time to make decisions, so we intend to harness our collective intelligence to decide on the path towards clarity and decision-making. We believe that there will never be enough time during our busy plenaries to achieve the precision we need to present to the architects, and that there should be a half-day workshop for this purpose. But this is for the group to decide…