Draft Roadmap

Dear @reeflings,

Now that we have done some of the further explorations that we said we would be doing six months ago, I am taking the liberty to put together a first draft of a possible way forward.

In summary the draft roadmap that I put together consists of seven stages before we can start building:

  1. Exploration
  2. Preparation of the meeting to recruit new Reeflings based on the Reef Blueprint 1.0
  3. Meeting to recruit new Reeflings
  4. Meetings to get to know candidate Reeflings
  5. Integration of new Reeflings
  6. Prepare the Reef Blueprint 2.0
  7. Contact a property hunter

Further details can be found in the text below.

As usual this comes with the disclaimer that this is of course just a proposal and that everything can be discussed and changed, but I figured it would be useful for our next meeting to have something written down to start from.



1. Exploration

  • Objective: gather knowledge about what we want and what is feasible by visiting some co-housings and attending webinars and courses.

  • Knowledge gathered so far:
    De Okelaar
    La Montagne
    Triodos webinars
    Cohousing Projects masterclass on financial and legal issues
    Coarchi’s Volta XL
    L’Echappée manual

  • Next step (at the next dinner):

    • Discuss main impressions from the visits and webinars;
    • See whether the views we have about the co-housing we would like to live in are reasonably aligned;
    • If yes: see whether we want to build the Reef together and whether we are willing to invest (a lot of) time in it;
    • If yes: agree on things that need to be done and how we are going to get them done (stages 2-7 below).

2. Preparation of the meeting to recruit new Reeflings based on the Reef Blueprint 1.0

  • Objective: prepare a “Reef Blueprint 1.0” that can be used to update the asbl’s statutes and also to present some very concrete ideas to new Reeflings at a public meeting.
  • To do:
    • Refine key aspects of the Reef Blueprint 1.0:
      • Refine the Reef’s vision and values if considered necessary
      • Location: definition of parameters for property hunter
      • Rough description of common spaces and their intended use
      • Rough description of future Reeflings (e.g. maximise diversity, no linguistic majorities etc)
      • Rough description of the Reef’s environmental ambitions
      • Rough description of the Reef’s social ambitions
      • Thorough description of key financial aspects
      • Thorough description of key legal aspects
      • Essential points for internal rules
      • Rules for entry and exit of the asbl
    • Change the statutes of the Reef asbl in line with the Reef Blueprint 1.0.
    • Call in help from an external coach when needed; as a minimum, get the draft statutes reviewed.
    • If possible: choose an architect.

3. Meeting to recruit new Reeflings

  • Objective: set up a public meeting to present the Reef Blueprint 1.0 and recruit new Reeflings.
  • To do:
    • Set a date
    • Book a room
    • Contact a coach
    • Reach out through personal networks, co-housing platforms and social media
    • Prepare a presentation
    • Prepare logistics (beamer etc)
    • Prepare a very short online form through which people who are interested can register

4. Meetings to get to know candidate Reeflings

  • Objective: provide an opportunity for candidate new Reeflings to get to know us and each other, and to figure out whether they are ready to commit to this adventure.
  • Meeting no 1: one day workshop-style meeting
    • Objective: casual get-together to get to know each other a bit better
    • Participants are asked to pay cost of the room and lunch.
    • Possible structure of the day:
      • Get-to-know-each-other kind of activities
      • Lunch
      • World-café style workshop (little groups, rotating) to brainstorm about further details of the Reef Blueprint 1.0
      • Concluding circle discussion
      • Short presentation on next steps
    • After the meeting people are given some to reflect. Those who would like to join the Reef are asked to fill in a short survey (aimed at checking parameters of diversity & skills)
  • Meeting no 2: a bit more serious workshop to test the waters
    • Objectives:
      • Give people the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better
      • Give people the opportunity to reflect on what is required to build the Reef and how they would like to contribute to that
      • Start building the Reef’s culture
    • Participants are asked to pay a price to the asbl that should deter so called “tourists”
    • Possible structure of the day:
      • Workshop on circle discussions and deciding by consensus (note: l’Echappée did this and they have somebody who could facilitate this)
      • Lunch
      • Workshop (continued)
      • Short presentation on next steps

5. Integration of new Reeflings

  • Objective: give candidate Reeflings the chance to get a feel of whether they think they will fit in before they become a member of the asbl.
  • How it could work:
    • After the meetings of stage 4 people can confirm their interest to join the Reef. Those who do will be invited to two meetings of Stage 6 (so in a way Stage 5 runs in parallel to Stage 6).
    • In Stage 5 people who are not a member yet are given the possibility to express their views, but they cannot take part in the decision process.
    • If after two meetings they are still interested, they are invited to pay the membership fee to the asbl (500-1000 euro) and they become fully part of the group.
  • Personal reflection:
    In this stage I would build on l’Echappée’s experience and do two things:
  1. Take our time to enlarge the group (not everybody needs to join in one go)
  2. Make an investment in getting trained in group facilitation techniques

6. Prepare the Reef Blueprint 2.0

  • Objectives:
    • Make sure we reach a consensus about the further details of what the Reef will look like.
    • Get everything ready so that we can go to a property hunter and be in a position to compete with project developers when a suitable site is found.
    • Get a very detailed blueprint of the Reef so that the architect and the notary will know what to do.
  • Key points to be checked out (through working groups or teams):
    • Detailed description of the common rooms (purpose, financials etc)
    • Financial aspects
    • Legal aspects
    • Social rental?
    • Inclusion of people with special needs?
    • Detailed description of the common rooms (purpose, financials etc)

7. Contact a property hunter

  • Once the Reef Blueprint 2.0 is ready - i.e. when we know where we want to live, what our budget is and how many square meters the site needs to contain - we can contact a property hunter to help us find a site.
  • At this stage the real adventure will begin :slight_smile:
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Excellent work as usual.

A couple of doubts:

  • How long do you envision phase 4 to take?
  • In general, I am not sure that we need a dedicated phase to build the group, as distinct from building The Reef. Building something together is a great way to build a group, and there is the extra advantage you build it in a realistic setting: members of the group learn about each other in the context of what the group will actually do, build a co-housing space. I am a bit on the fence here, I understand the distance between a kickoff meeting and joining the workgroup to procure the common kitchen. But still… workshops? (clutches his pearls)

We will end up choosing our own lingo. “Blueprint 2.0” is what Le programme is to Brutopia. :slight_smile:

As short as possible. Say have meeting 1 and meeting 2 two to four weeks apart?

I dread workshops as much as you do, and I’m happy to do something else or even just scrap Stage 4. Nevertheless I think there is value in foreseeing an intermediate phase, even if it’s just to go for a walk in the forest together.

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One thing I forgot to specify is the frequency of the meetings to proceed with the Roadmap. My proposal would be to meet bi-weekly, alternating between online meetings and IRL. Once we reach Stage 8 (start of the construction site) I’m afraid we’ll then have to move to weekly meetings.

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Dear @reeflings,

following our dinner meeting at Manuel & Ugne’s last Tuesday, I confirm that we next meet at @Malcolm and my place on Tues 30 Nov at 19h30.

Picking from @Lee 's roadmap document, I suggest we dedicate that evening to de-/refining the Reef’s vision, values and environmental and social ambitions in relation to/based on:

  • The text on thereef.brussels
  • The statutes of the Reef asbl
  • The results of the questionnaire which Manuel had set up

Perhaps we can also manage the description of common spaces and their intended use in the same evening.

Does the above seem a sensible ambition for the evening to you? If so, can @alberto provide the asbl statutes again and advise on the best way to collaborate on a text (I personally would resort to a Google doc), and could @manuelpueyo make the questionnaire results available? I suggest that our common homework would be to read and comment on all three documents before the next meeting.

Then there was Lie’s suggestion to perhaps already get an external coach for the next meeting, i.e. to learn a good meeting methodology straight away based on a concrete agenda. If there are no objections to this, would @Lee give me the contact details of the relevant person or offer to make the contact?

Warm regards,



My understanding is that the statute will contain the “lines in the sand” of the first version of the blueprint. I doubt we can finish them in one meeting. However, we can and probably should start a shared document.

Probably this will end up being the solution, though I am starting to be allergic to Big Tech. Give me a week to do some due diligence (Edgeryders had to move away from consumer-version Google Drive a few years back, I need Matt to remind me what exactly is that we could not do in that setting).

I proposed a micro-road map for revamping our ASBL in a different thread:

Hi Sabine,
Thanks a lot for this proposal!

I reached out to l’Echappée, but didn’t receive a reply yet. I also met Wieneke Claeys at a co-housing event this weekend. She works as a coach for groups who want to deepen their sociocracy skills. The resources she uses come from the website https://sociocracy30.org, which I will try to read prior to the next meeting. I’d be very happy to hand over this task if anybody is interested, but my personal feeling is to not over-rush this.

My proposal for the next meeting however would be to take a step back before we jump in the details of the matter. Before we start brainstorming about specific items I think we are going to do ourselves a favour if we first discuss how we want to do things.

More concretely, if we would follow this approach, I see two possible agenda points:

1) How do we want to run our meetings?

  • How long do meetings last?
  • How do we set the agenda?
  • Who wants to take up which role? (chair, time-keeper, note-taker, …)
  • How do we want to take our decisions? (majority voting, sociocracy, hybrid, …)

2) How do we want to approach the Blueprint 1.0?

If these two agenda points would be agreeable to everybody, my proposal would be the following:

  • For point 1: I prepare a short presentation with a short summary of the key points about non-violent communication and sociocracy (based on what I have learned so far), and making a proposal on how we can run our meetings. This proposal could then be subject to a first trial-run of a sociocratic decision process. Based on how this is going, I think we can then make a better-informed decision about whether and when we would like to get the help of coach for learning the ins and outs of sociocracy and non-violent communication.
  • For point 2: everybody prepares a list of items that they think should feature in the Blueprint 1.0. Examples could be “common rooms”, “values”, “internal rules” etc. Based on everybody’s homework we can then put our ideas on the table and try a second round of sociocracy and/or non-violent communication.

As always: this is just a proposal. Happy to get your views!

Yes to that, and I would expand it to “meeting etiquette”. I remember Mark Van De Vries telling us what, in retrospect, should have been obvious: if you are going to have weekly or biweekly meetings for five years, you are going to benefit from a strict discipline on those meetings. He said two things:

  • Meetings should be limited to 90 minutes.
  • Punctuality should be strict (“If we start at 18.00, we don’t start at 18.15, and we don’t start at 18.01, but literally at 18.00”).

This makes total sense: if 20 people wait for someone who is 5 minutes late, that’s a 100 minutes x person of waiting. Times 50 weeks a year, times 5 years, that’s 25,000 minutes, which is about 417 hours, which is about 11 weeks of full-time equivalent work.

So far, we have instead preferred very informal, semi-social, long gatherings (we were four hours at Manuel’s place!). I think that was needed, not a mistake at all, but as we move towards the next phase I would propose we shift our meeting style and length. We can still have dinners etc, of course! Just, we will allocate 90 minutes to the meeting, then close the meeting and move on to the dinner.

What do people think?

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I agree with Alberto.

I have taken the liberty to prepare a first draft of a document with a proposal on “the Reef’s way of doing things” that I’d be happy to present at the next meeting.