The Reef is a community of people building a cohousing in Brussels.
We have decided to publish a bi-monthly newsletter to be more visible outside our membership. We would like to keep you informed, share our needs and aspirations so that we can increase our chances to succeed in our mission = build a co-housing in Brussels that is in line with our values.
This is the 1st newsletter of 2023. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we loved creating it.
Manuel and Jeremy (The Reef Comms Circle)
So were do we stand right now?
We are at the end of our second member enlargement process. A community of about 8 full members and 12 associate members. Associate members enjoy this status for a period of about 3 months. This allows them to test the waters, come to meetings and events and see if there is mutual fit. Once this trial period is over they can apply for full membership.
We are about to finish a check list of important things we need to agree on before we start our search for a construction site. This list includes items like: choice of the legal form, capturing wishes on what each unit wants of private and common space, getting aligned on searching site scouting, financial audit of members, agreeing on the purchasing process, an accounting system, a long list of etc…
We will keep you posted when we are ready to look for a site. Obviously, any help is welcome in this search.
We are trying to find an equilibrium between, on the one hand, operations being like a company that gets things done, and on the other hand being like a compassionate community that nurtures and takes care of its members’ human needs.
The Reef is very aware that if we want to succeed creating a community and living together more socially and environmentally, we need to learn to become a self-managed collaborative group. That means that we will get the help from all the experts we need (architects, lawyers…), but we won’t rely on a project developer. Instead we will work together as a non-hierarchical group, using collective intelligence, sociocracy, nonviolent communication and all the tools that are available to make decentralized projects work.
We regularly organise trainings with members in order to learn these new methods.
- Sociocracy: methods to facilitate decission-making by large horizontal groups of peers,
- Non-violent communication trainings and practice groups
- We usually do visits to other cohousings. This year we have visited Schoonship in Amsterdam, and Tivoli, Casa Nova, and Spiegel in Brussels
There are many ways in which a sense of community can be enhanced and relationships strengthened.
We regularly organise brunches, dinners and community weekend retreats. This is to create a sense of community, which would involve more opportunities to express hopes, fears, etc., and connect more with each other beyond the many practical aspects that we are involved in.
In The Reef, when we speak about inclusion, we mostly refer to the fact that we will include a number of **units to be rented **out to people who are more vulnerable than average.
The Blueprint 1.0, The Reef’s foundational vision document, speaks about five inclusive units as part of 20 to 30 units in total. It does not specify anything else beyond that.
In The Reef, we strive for our community to be as inclusive as possible. We would like people from all backgrounds and all walks of life to feel welcome to join us.
The most likely case is that they will be friends of people in The Reef. They are just friendly people who are willing to invest some of their savings in a socially meaningful project. They are not driven by a high return on investment (ROI) and are probably interested in minimising the hassle as much as possible. People we know in the second degree are also an option, and probably have the same profile.
If you would like to live in the future Reef and join us in this cohousing adventure , we are planning a presentation event at the end of april.