For many Europeans, living together with people who are not family has become a necessity. With increased mobility within countries and between them, and property prices rising constantly, more and more people can’t afford to own their own place. Student dorms, renting a house or an apartment together, couch surfing or crashing at a friend’s place, artist communities, communes and squatting spots: many of us live(d), for shorter or longer times, with others.
If you are unlucky, then your home becomes a place where you don’t feel comfortable.
If you were one of the lucky ones that found their crowd, you can attest to the power of a nurturing and supportive community. The people who you live with can become your friends, almost as a chosen family.
What if you wanted to create the best conditions for living together? That is what we, Edgeryders, set up to do, and we need your help defining this space.
We have tried co-living before, at a smaller scale, so we have our ideas about how we would like this community-powered space to look like. We are trying to find likeminded people, meet them, and talk to them about their vision of an ideal communal living space.
Enter The Reef.
We imagine the Reef as a new kind of living space that is affordable for anyone. It is a future residential space where inhabitants have individual apartments and privacy, but share common spaces like kitchens, living rooms, and office(s). The space will offer rich opportunities for rewarding and ecologically meaningful activities, and inhabitants are free to initiate and participate in what interests them most. Examples include growing and cooking food together, organizing neighbourhood activities and reducing the household’s plastic waste.
What’s the plan?
We are looking to acquire and recondition a building in Brussels, Belgium, for 20 people to live in. It will be comprised of private rooms, apartments and studios, and converted into a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions space. People will buy and/or rent together at a below-market price, depending on the ownership status of the building. The community will design the many ways to use the space in accordance to individual & common needs, as well as technical and social activities to start reducing the collective carbon footprint: research green building technologies, energy storage solutions, food production, responsible consumption, and many others.
Over time, this community will become a testing ground for energy/waste reduction and circular economy solutions, paving the way for many other collectives out there who wish to go green and live more affordably at the same time.
The Reef Community starts now with 3 workshops to discover one another.
If you are living in Brussels or plan to move here and like what you read so far, if you’re thinking to change the way you live, access and share prosperity, this is an opportunity to figure it out with others. Building relationships of trust takes time, so the sooner we know each other, the better!
Come to The Reef Community Workshops, where we will share:
How can we live with others in a shared property? 24 October 18:00 - 21:00 at LaMAB, Rue de l’association 16, 1000 Brussels (see how it went).
How can we live green when living with others? - 14 November 18:00 - 21:00 at AlleeduKaai, Avenue du Port 53, 1000 Brussels
Sprint to The Reef: Co-Design session - 28 November 16:00 - 21:00 at Metrolab, Quai du Commerce, 48, 1000 Brussels
Register below, in either English or French, the two languages of the workshops:
We will be in touch to confirm your spot, as places are limited. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and connect with others in the Reef universe early on. If you have questions, ask!
What do we want to get out of these? The design of a community home
Each workshop is open to anyone who is deeply interested in making a change in their life. They are informal meetings where we facilitate sharing of personal experiences between attendants.
Working languages: EN & FR.
- Participants make sense of their experiences in co-living by learning from others.
- Participants explore ideas for making ecology part of their homes and lifestyle
- Participants are presented with The Reef opportunity to collectively pursue a new kind of residential space.
- Practical documentation about shared aspirations that can be implemented at The Reef. This will enable those who wish to continue together to design The Reef as their future home.
The steps we are taking
The Reef is in its design phase. We have a prototype*, a concept, and a city that we love and hope will take it on board: Brussels. We invite everyone to help make it happen.
Several things are already underway:
Edgeryders is pitching The Reef to the city, business partners and civil society allies who can support us to acquire a building, or invest in it.
We are looking to create an organisation to steward the process. This organisation will be based on a cooperative model and will enable those interested to acquire (parts of) property, use it, have rights to it, and a combination of them all.
We are inventorying open-source technical solutions to making buildings carbon-neutral.
We are building a group of people who are deeply interested in changing the way they live and perhaps see themselves as future inhabitants. This is The Reef Community.
Who are we and why are we doing this?
Edgeryders is a community of changemakers from all around the world. Our mission is to co-create self-sustaining projects for the common good. Self-sustaining means your project creates enough (financial and non-financial) value to compensate the people working on it. The community lives in symbiosis with a social enterprise, also called Edgeryders. The company sells expert advice and research. It funds community infrastructure and supports the community’s projects. In return, community members collaborate with the company’s endeavors. Some members of the Edgeryders community also will be inhabitants of The Reef, and will use their experience in co-living to enrich the project. Find out more about us here.