Scouting the streets of Brussels: let's do this!

Great, I will do this area tomorrow afternoon, thanks!

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@Sebas I scouted the area this weekend. It was a residential area and after using CadGIS, all the sites I found are below or above the established criteria. One area looked interesting but it was 4000 square meters. Should I disregard these or fill in a fiche anyways for consideration?

Looking over the documents for the plenary, the set I had in mind on Leopold I has already been documented by someone previously.

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Hello Ryan,
Fell free to do a fiche. We do not have maximum size for now but we will ask our architechts soon about this point. Thanks

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Hello @reeflings,

At the plenary meeting there was a report that there hasn’t been much scouting going on lately, and so we had a quick discussion about what we can do to get back in the game.

The conclusion was that we’ll ask Team Building to come up with a couple of strategies (team autonomy), but in the meantime we also did a round to see whether we could each strive to go scouting 1-2 times before the next plenary meeting.

This is not an obligation of course. It’s more like a challenge with the aim of motivating people to fit it in their agendas. So if you are motivated, please fill in the availabilities sheet, or even better: contact a couple of people with whom you would like to go scouting (maybe your buddies?) and see whether you can make it happen?

It may seem just a little thing, whether you go scouting or not, but it actually makes a big difference. First of all because thanks to a joint effort we cover more and more pieces of the map, and second because it creates a feeling that we are doing this together.


Hello @reeflings, a quick update from Team Building that we will shortly create a dedicated Signal group for scouting (thanks, @Sarah!).

On a sunny weekend like this you can easily check whether anybody would be up for scouting without searching for the excel sheet with availabilities first :wink:

Team Building is looking forward to receiving your fiches! :raised_hands:


@reef-building, I contacted the coach on the question of finding the owners, and he is adamant: we need to find out whether the site is for sale and at what price before we can send on a site for a feasibility study.


Hello @reef-building I just read an article in Bruzz about the Heyvaert neighborhood next to the canal. They mention that most car exporting companies there are the owners of the buildings, and that Brussels Region prefers that the car dealers would move out of that densely populated area. A guy who did research about the neighborhood says: “I only see them leaving if they would get more money by converting their buildings to houses.” Apparently recently one export building received a permit to convert garages into apartments.
Not sure if this is a flood risk zone but maybe it’s worth it going scouting there?


Yes, indeed. There is some possibilities around out of flood risk. The zones has been already scouted but i think it is a good idea to go back on site case by case. That was on my to do list because i live nearby. But prices may be very high here. I will make fiches soon. Bonne Saint Nicolas ! :partying_face:


Hello @reeflings,

Tonight we had a first evaluation of the scouting exercise during the Team Building meeting. The reasons why evaluations are done regularly in sociocracy is that we accept that our approaches can be “good enough for now, safe enough to try”, and that we then improve them based on the collective intelligence in our group.

Below you can find the transcript of notes. Feel free to chip in in the thread below, and I guess that at some point we’ll also bring it a plenary meeting. (@Sebas @Caro and @Sophie_B please also feel welcome to complement or correct my notes!)

Things that are going well

It’s a rather short list, but one that is worth a lot!

  • We managed to produce more than 130 fiches over a course of 8 months.

  • We have a very structured approach: scouters know what to do, and they fill the fiches in a way that is helpful for Team Buillding to follow up on

Things that could be improved

(comments and questions in one, all issues will be followed up on in the next Team Building meetings)

  • The mother map: would an online interactive map be helpful?

  • Scouting intensity

    • Not all Reeflings seem to realise that this is the first and most important priority.

    • Community Days are needed, but they are not enough. The folder with new fiches is currently empty.

    • Frustration that no target was set. Request to monitor how much scouting there has been on a weekly basis.

    • Can we set some sort of “scouting commitment”? E.g. every adult goes scouting twice a month.

    • Can we revive the Scouting Squad Signal group to see who wants to go scouting? Maybe check every weekend? Go for a beer in small groups afterwards?

  • Scouting effectiveness

    • We know for fact that some zones have not been scouted well. Good candidate sites were found in zones that had already been scouted.

    • How do we avoid having to re-scout in case we would change one of the criteria? Or formulated differently: are we sure that our scouters are reporting all sites that could be a candidate one day? Or are they leaving out sites thinking “meh, it’s nothing” e.g. because they think the garden is not oriented in the right way (or whatever)?

    • Are there areas that can be skipped because they clearly don’t meet one of the criteria? E.g. Evere: no parks, very noisy because of the airport and the highway.

    • Reported frustration about some zones that only consist of plots that are too small => possibility to check beforehand and/or to focus on big avenues?

    • Online scouting: work-in-progress

Way forward

  • We continue to collect feedback, here on the forum, in Team Building and in the plenary meeting when we find the time. Team Building will then integrate that and come forward with an improved approach.

  • There was consensus in our meeting that some zones will need to be re-scouted. This time we can check the zones on the map first though, and then send cyclists to the streets with big plots only.


hi, here my personal feeling about it:

  • if possible i would like to scout in a neighbourhood close to where i live. (but also understand it might be a less interesting area as it’s expensive/far from the center)
  • i would like to ‘prepare’ the scouting beforehand (maybe looking on cadgis for ‘big sites’) and then go by bike to check only those out, but up till now (and i can understand that it might be hard getting the info quite beforehand) we get the info about where to scout quite late so i cannot prepare beforehand. On the other hand i wonder, if i would find a big enough site on cadgis, why we still need to check it out on the bike. Is ‘(not) looking abandonned’ a valid criterea to include/exclude it?
  • efficiency wise and practically, i would find it easier to go by myself, certainly if it’s in a neighbourhood close where i live, and the ‘organisation’ of calling out for sb to join, makes ‘last minute’ free time hard to use it for scouting
  • Having said that, one part i really like about the community days, is meeting up with sb from The Reef, getting a chance to meet sb you haven’t yet spoken to, creating community.
    And about the ‘preparing before scouting’: with a ‘pc’ job, i am glad if I don’t need to open my pc after work/in my free time, so as preparing beforehand on my pc might be more efficient, i also long for spending less time on my pc.

I have a personal experience on that (and so do you, @Lee, as we were scouting together). We looked at JET-14, but we decided it was much too small. And it was not: Manuel re-scouted it, and it turns out to be some 1,700 m2. What gives? Can you look into your notes and see if we can figure out where we went wrong?


I am a child of the 20th century, so I usually take notes on paper, which means they are gone. What must have happened is that I looked up the site on Cadgis, measured the surface and made a mistake.

In this post I would like to bring my feedback as an ordinary Reefling.

I was frustrated when we started back in May that my request to set a target on how much we would be scouting was ignored. In hindsight I think this explains part of my relatively strong reactions when it comes to scouting commitment, and next time I will make sure to insist that my concern is at least measured.

Another part of my frustration comes from learning that after the summer it turned out that Alberto and I had been among those who had been out scouting the most, and that some people had hardly freed up some time in their agendas to go out scouting. Here again, some sort of measurement would have made a big difference to me.

That’s all water under the bridge and it’s fine really, but for the future I would appreciate an approach that is based on commiting time to The Reef, and on going about the scouting in a rational way.

As a first step I would propose that Team Building makes an inventory of what needs to be scouted, taking into account the following:

  • Some zones need to be scouted again: is it the entire square, or can we focus on some specific streets only?

  • Some areas of Brussels that haven’t been scouted yet could possibly meet our criteria. Can we list them? Can we do a rough mapping of (sub-)areas (e.g. with small houses only) that can be skipped?

  • Where are we with the sites of Saint-Vide? Did we scout all those that are in areas that meet our criteria? Should we ask for an updated copy of the database?

  • How can we anticipate the possible loosening of some of our criteria? What would happen if we loosen all of them by 10%? How would that impact our scouting? How can we avoid having to scout certain areas for a third time?

Once that is done, I would look for a group of people who would be willing to form a Helping Circle and come up with a plan. Key needs that seem to have been expressed so far include flexibility, community / connection, avoiding extra screen time, commitment / prioritisation, efficiency and transparency about progress. Based on everything we have learned so far I am sure it is possible to cook up something that gets us what we need (steady progress and a site) while at the same time meeting people’s individual needs.

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Membership: update

10 posts were split to a new topic: Scouting day 21/04

I am hereby solemnly unpinning this post. It’s been a great experience, but I will honestly not miss it :sweat_smile:.


One might even say this call for an update of the decision log ? :slight_smile:

The decision log we only use for (important) decisions made a plenary meeting, but I’m sure @ChrisM is making a note for the book he will be writing.