OPEN&Change Workshop Documentation: Brussels Plenaries

The contents of this wiki are a shared repository and you should feel free to add things you want to remember from the discussion, things you learned, things you did not have time to say verbally…

  • !! When the workshop is over, create your own personalized post with impressions and upload it on / 


@Nadia presenting EdgeRyders and OPENandChange: (need presentation for documentation)

Edgeryders is an open source platform that combines online and offline moments to find through other ways than the mainstream solutions for sociatal problems.

Mission is to support members to create self-sustaining projects.

Edgeryders creates tools to manage all the content created by the 3500 members. Open ethnograpic tools for exemple uses the data to see what discussions are well connected.

Can healthcare systems work like Wikipedia, StackOverflow or other massively coordinated systems with very limited control and overhead ??

Two mechanisms at stake:

1) self selection: individuals get involved in something because they want to, and contribute because they want to

2) social networks: people and groups which move fluidly across organisations and shaping the norms as they wish

Case studies of how people access community care:

What is op3ncare in short:

  • A place where we can share stories about care
  • Where you can find people to support projects
  • Where you can create solutions without being in the same place

Question by Loic: How to better the ergonomic of a website like edgeryders to be more user friendly? Answer: It is up to each person to better the platform: if you find good ways to better the geolocation for exemple, it is up to the community to work out. #Nospectators

A: Facebook is extractive and advertisign driven; For OPENandChange purposes - we are prioritizing interaction as opposed to building a database and repository of projects

LISTENING TRIADS: what we've learned

Winnie: he noticed that every project has some community in it, but communities experience different ways of being in the world, different incentives for being in a community.

Laurent: 3 different projects which have something in common, with people being excluded by the system because they are poor or sick. Empowerment for these populations is at the core of each project. Behind each there is a diagnosis of how the excluded population can have lost access to institutional support.

If something is possible, it is on the edge, where people can regain access to their lives.

Nadia: a matter of agency.

Lotfi: Nous étions trois entité, je suis avec Selvy, nous avons eu une maison de repos, xander travaille avec des enfants autiste, kacim, il espere qu’il pourait faire son metier de medecin. On a parlé d’intergenerationel, comment créer des mini societé ou il y a des échange. Au dela d’un certain age: il y a pas de suport. Kacim a fait la paralel de comment le systeme de soin ce passe en moyen orient, une culture musulman de l’entraide. On impose de donner de l’argent au pauvre. Tous le monde vie ici dans son, pas de transversalité.

Xander:  the community aspect is really important, the human is seen as a kind of predator, humans are also caring beings.

Kacim: i have question to all of you: where are the families of the homeless people? I never saw anyone homeless in Syria, or living on a mattress. How did it happen? He has to talk with Laurent about it.

  • the core family concept has been broken down - after uni and growing up you have to carry yourself; so there is no glue which keeps family together
  • ie in North Africa systems are weak -so there has always been a cultural support; whereas in the West the system is supposed to take care of everything
  • Here (in the West) you are free, but alone!

Jean: There is a desire of using new ways of technology to organize his place within the society je cherche a me socialiser, trouver une occupation profitable, mais je voudrais rester dans la marginalité. Find a meaning in his life,

Claire: I want to create something can profide something that can give help to each other. It is very complicated to arrive there. With Laurent, Sophie, we have a point of connection, but we need to know each other better. I worked for several years around the project of selfcare. I want to do something very new. We are creating to work on a project on different levels in December with Laurent, but it is really difficult to find what is most needed: partnership and collaboration.

Adeline: a part of HUID VDH team and more interested in what it is used to, how to be part of it. She was triggered by the open&change project Everybody here came with a need, to find ways to come up with a solution, tous le monde est venue avec un besoin, elle espère aider à trouver une solution.

Gilles: Strongly believes in open source and data sharing solutions - everyone is looking for someone who can help them with a solution eg to develop a website to help the project moving.

Loic: The core needs he noticed in others is to learn information about what others are doing, get information about collaborations; and second, the need for visibility. Personally he has come here for housing project, but Winnie’s story is useful to hear also professionally.

Quote by Kacim used again: WE ARE BOXED PEOPLE (link with Capsulaire Beschaving van Lieven De Cauter)

Yannick: was in conversation with Kacim,Lotfi - the intergenerational interactions need to be looked into, because it is in only specific circumstances that we spend time together eg living in a house with my grandmother and the positive outcomes which came from that.


  • How can communities become more visible and members interact more easily?
  • How do you make the actions of the community visible to the individuals?
  • How do you make individuals' actions more visible to the community?
  • How can we help individuals be independent from official caring services?
  • How do we invite more people to be part of the process and disseminate the documentation?
  • How can we find the right balance between keeping the effectiveness of the box with still being able to go out of the box/
  • What is the metaphor of what we are trying to do? (Stefanos) helps understand complicated things without 
  • How do you build connectivity into each initiative or do you want connectivity only between initiative? If we all want to coordinate, what amount of time/ effort/ resources can we each put into learning to coordinate?
  • How could we open the debate about the strenght of intergenerational care 


Laurent d’Ursel: 4 years old project, we are opening a huge house to help people out of the marge, we will have 20 showers, 150 lockers, medical service, laundries, a pharmecy, and other needed services for this part of people, which is missing

Second pillar is activities: DoucheFlux is 50m2 at the moment, so we work at other spaces, we make activites that promote self estime for this people, they are totally embedded in the system, they can’t escape what is happening about them, they find it difficult to get further, so their mechanism is that they just stop trying, because they don’t feel empowered anymore

Doucheflux helps them to get more self estime, but it is difficult because sometimes it feel that we are infantalizing him, and if you do that mistake they don’t come anymore

The challenge: another way to make social work, so not only people that studied for the social sector. To take the social dream out of the social field and bring it to other fields. Because they are fed up of all the social help, they just want a happy life: it is not only important to have an home, but also to create great moments. To create equal relationships. Break racism against the poor.

Rozina: BIDs and building community

Living in Bxl for 15 years, an interior designer coming from a corporate background working in the hospitality business. She started her own design company and got more involved in strategic design thinking - now involved with the Belgium Design Thinking. Projects to make the sports clubs more inclusive because they were closed for refugees; also hardly accessible by children with special needs. So with other people they pushed for inclusivity and speaking to the Belgium Football Union, but also preparing a strategy for the next few years.

Business Improvements Design Belgium (BIDs): they are about creating a new geographical zone and linking community businesses to it, ideal for private - public partnerships.

She is lobbying for BIDs and wants to see where stakeholders can meet in the middle; seems idealistic especially since she’s not from here.

Has seen encouraging results after talking to her mayor, and right now she’s trying to create a youth platform for citizenship and sports - an IDEO design type of commune.

What changed after the football? People understood there is a strategy and structure, so they get a sense of belonging. If everybody contributes something, we become as a community.

We educate the value of communication, transparency…

Rozina would need help to connect with people working hands on with special needs populations.

Loic: Right to Housing in Brussels

Previously office building occupied by the French community which had been vacant for 15 years. Groups of squatters moved in and made a deal ith the owner to run different workshops - bike fixing, woodwork, IT etc.

-graphs of real estates prices going up while income levels go down in various regions of Brussels

-social housing in Bxl is much lower, 7 % compared to the 27% in the Netherlands

-7 % of houses totally empty

-1 000 000 sq metres of unused office space: 40% of empty offices have been empty for 7 years

From squatting to a participatory process -  a public owned space (Community Francais) but community managed: from refugees to Irish artists to Flemish doctor students. Half the people (of 60) don’t have any revenues, and everyone contributes a little - from 60 eur a month to approx. 150.

In Belgium it is possible to have a temporary legal occupation for an office, so you can live in an office space!

It’s an office building, which means people can change the layout.

Difference between buildings for profite and the testcase of 123

Profite building is praced for being open while just having 7% of their space being used for community. 123 has almost 50% of community used space, but because of their ‘illigal’ status it isn’t prased

Loic showed a detailed distribution of the types of spaces - at each floor you’d have facilities, workshops, biblioteque + distribution of private and communal space.

Over 50% of the surface is shared space, which is a lot compared to other so called praised community projects.

Stairs instead of working elevators as a social control mechanism.

Loic is trying to give more visibility to housing solutions - it’s not easy, takes good contact with the owner.

Q: How does the person in Community Francais make this decision, as a bureaucrat?

A: The whole organisation needs to be convinced, it’s a process.

Q: Do you ask for the builing and then negotiate with the owner?

A: First you take the building, then you ask.

The world doesn’t go round and we can’t do anything about it. Rebellion for the sake of rebellion makes no sense, authorities know things go wrong, but if you present a solution to authorities then it gets constructive.

He needs help on the level of contacts and doing the same presentation to other policy makers, so anybody who can share about.


The exercice: each one of us pics the component that we are most pationate about, and then we will cluster the people that are most connected to each other and start from there to attack some issues that we found earlier.

production of story of the one another project :

product list of activities :


Skills we find in our most helpful people


-DIY and generally fixing things yourself

-mental support

-getting weird things you wouldn’t normally find yourself

-a delivery van

-someone to do a project with


-existance de probleme existentialle

-commercial things and buying decisions


-making a conference atelier du capitalisme

-support people who are more fragile

-set up an association

Marie Ange:


-mental/ moral support

-social contacts



-experience and wisomn

-out-of-the-box thinking


-government administration

-cultural awareness


-active listening and sensibility

-wisdom and pragmatism

-do it yourself, engineering as a way of seeing the world



-fundraising and financial subsidies

-medical technical knowledge

-business modeling




-legal advice

-social business modeling

-the WHY

-sharing economy

-scientific dieteticians




-playing music

-word stuff


-order/ being orderly

-moral support and push to go forward and not backwards


-the occasional hug

For Kacim, everything moves around friendship / if you start with mistrust it is difficult to create trust.

Trust is an enabler to use the resources.

How can that be created inside an eclectic group like this

For Claire it is a text and rules of engagement and a clear path of conflict resolution, and a way to learn to treat each other better.

Winnie: your own people’s trust is a constant, but gaining the network’s trust is more difficult


  1. working trust is very different from social trust; and there needs to be a boundary.

  2. what also worked for her is deciding to work on even a small project.

  3. a story that binds us together - understanding how our different activities are

  4. documentation: what does it mean? for us it has been in writing.

Finding each other strenghts and weaknesses by organizing small events with each other, and beginning with things that don’t have something big at stake. Because there we can learn about each other (really interesting for Huis VDH)

The importance of documentation in building trust: Leaving a story behind that people can follow


What can i bring to another organization , that also better myself as a person

Loic wanting to work with the firm of Winnie

Yannick giving his game about intergeneralisation idea to Lotfi and Selvi

Marie-Ange wants to give information to Lotfi and Selvi also

Nadia Suggestion: meet in one month: Back in huis vdh, one person can find the date.

What is the smartest way to achieve what to achieve ? (question to the edgeryders community by Loic)

Reportage au Logement 123 (l’habitat collectif)