📙 Networking for Green and Communal Living

Strong agreement. And if nobody is that practiced in facilitation and conflict management, then keep a very open mind, don’t be afraid to give or receive feedback (while keeping it as civil as possible, which is not always easy), and always try to find something to like in every other person. You will need to fall back on that at times…(I lived collectively for 12 years.)


Right. Or, if there will be a garden, a rainwater pool in the garden :wink:

Completely agreeing. Facilitation in co-living is key, and we’ve seen it with several temporary iterations we did: unMonastery (house/cave in Italy), OpenVillage (house in Morocco), maybe even the house in Nepal, and finally The Reef (prototype Brussels).
John, @asimong, @simonedb, @rmdes and many other edgeryders contributed to bringing this point home often over the years.
I find that those who have practiced this more often than others have done it because they put governance and facilitation at the centre of things. But others (myself included, up until know) are very focused on the project(s) accompanying the co-living - so on the work dimension. And there, community members seem to be more unruly. At this point, I would argue that focusing on getting things done takes away attention from personal dynamics and feelgood of the community, because it takes it as granted. Rationalizing this, the expectation is that if everyone shares common goals with the work, than the ethics of it would carry personal relationships too.
In reality, I found that’s the wrong way to do it.

Have you had direct experience in communal living, June?


Yes for about a dozen years! We had several very skilled facilitators in our group of about 14 adults and eventually 5 children. And we all learned basic facilitation skills. We did lots of conflict resolution. I learned so much and grew tremendously as a person but it was very wearing and I finally left.

However, I think that instead of all getting together to make all decisions together (which tended to reflect the unhealthy family dynamics of our birth families), we would have benefited from teal/sociocratic processes of using circles and advice where smaller groups make decisions.

Also boys of the post WWII era were raised to be little princes which made for a lot of men who wanted things to be their way and they never really shifted their patriarchal ways. Still a lot of unawareness of privilege among men today and an unwillingness to see that not shifting their hierarchical values and behavior will doom projects such as this in the long run. Might want to share this article by Tema Okun that helps us see all the subtle aspects of hierarchical culture.

I also think co-housing models which are a more networked than communal are more likely to succeed - coming together for meals is more voluntary. It’s helpful to minimize areas that need communal decision-making.

Would be glad to think more with others interested in this.



You still making research?


Hi Simone! It’s because me and Alberto wish to move forward in Brussels with a bigger space..

Also boys of the post WWII era were raised to be little princes which made for a lot of men who wanted things to be their way and they never really shifted their patriarchal ways. Still a lot of unawareness of privilege among men today and an unwillingness to see that not shifting their hierarchical values and behavior will doom projects such as this in the long run.

You hit the nail on the head with this comment. Being one of those boys, and in a situation where every other male was of the same era (this was in the 70s), we had to work on that over and over again. It’s like doing laundry. It never ends – because it can’t. Way too much conditioning to just say, “ok I’m over it now!”

Sometimes men are useful for certain physical attributes, but otherwise the idea that women do W and X and men do Y and Z is destructive nonsense. But it is so ingrained.


ok, good luke.
let me know when the game gets serious

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@Matthias since we are nearing the start of this project in Brussels and building our team, which places you would prioritise for a visit, were you to choose? I think it is worth starting to plan the trips… Or at least block our calendars.

I’d definitely go to Sieben Linden and Calafou, and perhaps to Nea Guinea. (Wir Bauen Zukunft is also relevant (somewhat), but you have been there already.)

But even these projects are not really satisfactory to learn what we’ll need to know for refurbishing the Reef 2.0 site. And I don’t really know where else to look …

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We don’t have more time and especially not enough time to have perfect fits.
Sieben Linden and WBK are both rural, so maybe one of them should do. Definitely Calafou!
Mapping buildings in Brussels turns out to have similar constraints - it will be quick and dirty rather than extensive, in-depth research, in order to find at least some typologies. If I were you, I would at least drop an email to some contacts there to gain us some time, at least to see if they would like to receive us, and when would be a good time for them. Just my 50 cents, as we juggle different moving parts.

I don’t think so, as I was just tasked by @alberto to research places to visit and to join the tour personally instead of “escaping” to Nepal already. Apart from that, assume that I don’t know anything about how this project is organized. Before I can reasonably contribute to organizing it, somebody would have to answer a lot of questions, and then I’d have to put all that new knowledge into a wiki :smile:

I mean, I follow what is written on platform and in chat, but as things are more concentrated in person in Brussels now than they used to be, I think that these days I don’t even get close to the full picture of what’s happening in a project like this. For example, what means that “we don’t have more time” as, for all I know, we are still missing some letter from Climate-KIC EIC that would allow to start the project officially?

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I stand corrected. Will post an update next week, since this is not the place for it.
In short: No, we haven’t officially started, this was me being mindful of the total timeline which will not change, irrespective of the starting date. It will only squeeze things and obviously we cannot do everything as previously intended - we won’t find 3 weeks to visit places, but maybe a few days. I know, crazy.

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You are the master retriever, so that means it makes no sense to obsess and look further ahead. Let’s do this.

Would it help to have a catch-up online meeting?

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Huh :astonished: Ok I did not know that.

As a one-off measure, yes that would help. I’d package what I learn into a project wiki and one from the Brussels team (probably Ilaria then) would have to keep it up to date afterwards. The alternative is that I’d not take part in actually organizing the project but would get limited tasks / sub-projects with a clearly defined interface and deadline.

Both of these work for me. The only thing that does not work for me (but you know that from a year ago) is having to take part in project management in a messy way, which happens when I don’t know enough.


Ok, let’s wait for @ilaria to be back. I believe she will check in on Tuesday next week.


Hi, sure, let’s have an online meeting, this will help everyone.
I think it would be better to decide a date and a time on the chat, isn’t it?

Dropping this here:

  • Germany’s first energy-autonomous apartment building – Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Cooperative company Wilhelmshavener Spar- und Baugesellschaft eG have constructed Germany’s first energy-autonomous apartment building, using innovative building technology, and enabling residents to obtain two thirds of their heat and electricity from their own resources at a flat-rate with transparency and cost-security.
–> source: Housing Europe awards - 2019 semifinalists

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The UFA Fabrik in Berlin might use these three keywords
And anybody wanting to visit Sieben Linden: give me a call (as much ahead of time as possible).


@felix.wolfsteller we are in Berlin next week. Let’s go visit, though it does not seem living-oriented (30 residents + 180 employees).

@matthias: check out their ecological timeline. Matt, why don’t you come to Berlin too? So @noemi and you and I can knock on their door!

(Noemi: there is even some stuff about a Harbour Festival, maybe we can get inspiration for the Deep Dive as well)

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