The future of urban living is green. Looking for skilled partnership builder for The Reef in Brussels

Belgium hit record high temperatures of 40 Celsius degrees this summer. And it’s this summer that EdgeRyders commits to new work on sustainability and developing community solutions to slow down the earth’s (and humanity’s!) deterioration. We are starting the EarthOS new team and looking ahead at a busy year ahead.

This is an open call for to join our team as lead partnership builder for a community space in Brussels. The ultimate goal is to work collectively to make this building carbon negative.***

About The Reef

More than two years ago, a few of us decided to rent a house and an office space together, to share our working and personal lives, and improve our lifestyles. After running this as a prototype with 4-6 people, we want to impact urban living more, in Europe and beyond. We are now building the next iteration and searching for a bigger space to move into.

The Reef is a community, and so is the building hosting it. It is a home, a workplace, a model. But it is also the seed for a new market of social, deep-green living. As a bold demonstrator, The Reef
makes such a lifestyle both realistic (for the people that live it) and aspirational (for many who do not – yet).

The Reef is infrastructure for a lifestyle adapted to the 21st century. A lifestyle that is:

  • Independent: combining privacy and sociability.
  • Healthy: built-in nudges towards healthy eating, exercising, burnout prevention.
  • Deep green: negative emissions living.
  • Affordable: an ecosystem of physical persons and small businesses increasing efficiency and helping contain the cost of living in buzzing cities.
  • Social and happy: several households living together under the same roof (up to 20 people). The first people to move into The Reef are going to be the colonizing species of the ecosystem. The Brussels space will function as a bioreactor. It co-designs new solutions, tries them out, improves upon them, consolidates successes.

The full story as told in the last couple of years:

The Reef is an open-ended, community built project. In 2019 we wish to build a critical mass of supporters and partners around it: people who want to invest in their future, organisations who want to use space in it, public and private actors to champion a new kind of climate friendly urban space.

We start with Brussels. Join our team! What we need help with

A. Partnership Building

  • identify 2-3 candidate spaces. This includes producing a map of unused buildings in Brussels. A point-of-interest map of ≥100 unused buildings in Brussels that are of interest for The Reef, followed by detailed profiles of the best matching 2-3 buildings. Delivered as a collaborative, open map using uMap or similar.
  • secure 3-5 high quality partnerships. A high quality partner is a partner who holds resources and competences that are key for a successful Reef deployment. These include political and institutional legitimacy (public authorities), building expertise (real estate developers), a portfolio of real estate assets (public authorities/real estate developers/philanthropists), finance (banks or other financial institutions), green technologies (universities and private firms).

B. Community Outreach Support

  • helps mobilize potential and future community members in an exercise of co-design for the 2-3 candidate spaces; Workshops are led by @Noemi, so you will be only supporting. They will be hosted in Brussels and engage a minimum 50 active contributors to The Reef design; The outputs are expected to be requirements for social and green transformation with the community at the centre.

Timeline: The work is due from August/September 2019 to January/February 2019 (circa 6 months); the contract is renewable pending on future plans and resources.

Remuneration: The salary covers part time work (up to 3 days a week) and is negotiated based on mutually agreed deliverables.

Conditions: Be based in Brussels and have a diverse network here. Work from The Reef or from home office; team coordination using and other internal channels.

Interested? Here’s how to apply

If you think you’re a good fit for at least some of these activities, please reply below with a comment expressing your interest, skills, passions, and any links which could be useful as references to previous work.

If you like the project or wish to be involved in other activities coming up, we’d love to get to know you! And please share this with anyone who could be enjoying this kind of work.

Once we find the right person we will announce it below and close the call.

Looking forward to meet you <3

*** Disclaimers: We have been advertising this opportunity through several other channels and we reserve the right to decide according to all incoming manifestations of interest.
NB: While The Reef proposal has been accepted by our partners at Climate KIC, we are still pending a signature from the funding body. This job offer is conditional upon this final signature. Thank you for your understanding.


cool project. i want to help this to happen. feel free to get in touch to see how we can co-lab :grinning:


yaaay,Great news :slight_smile:
I participated in Openvillage - MENA REEF House It was one of the best experiences I had in my life and I am curious to see how the atmosphere at this house which is located in the city will be. Our house was located in a kind of remote area, we had only each other to connect :smiley: and the surviving activities were so interesting like cycling to get drinking water and travel to get grocery.
I can see myself in the community outreach support however I would like to know more about it to be sure…
What I know is that I love getting to know people, listen to their thoughts and document that…besides my admiration to ask them questions to get a wider view of all the sides of the stroy.

Until I get more information about this post,I would express my interest in helping at any means to get this real on the “earth” and help others get introduced to this way of living that I am sure will impact their lives as it impacted mine.


Thanks for all your support along the way, Manuel. Will keep you posted about the workshops, I would definitely see you there as a co-designer!!

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@HadeerGhareeb, it warms me to know that a temporary space like the one in Morocco had an impact in your life. You were a star before, and your project about upcycling trash into toys is the one I remember the most. so no wonder you went on to do great things. I follow you and your adventures on facebook with much pleasure, and it seems you’re becoming an influencer :stuck_out_tongue:

The Reef’s vision is clearly one for the entire world, and outreach across the networks will be key to find people who can contribute and set up their own Reefs. For this phase of the project though, we will focus more on Brussels to establish a solid model as a departing point, taking all the lessons learned from Morocco, unMonastery in Italy, and our current space here. It is a bit more complicated than the house you were in, because it should be a permanent space, not a temporary one.

So the positions advertised this year are for Brussels based people.
We start here, and depending on how it goes we will go bigger… makes sense?


Hello Noemi,
I am interested in this assignment. I live in Brussels since 9 years and I know the city really well (I am an urban hiker), so this puts me in a good position for scouting locations.
I am deeply interested in societal issues, emancipatory movements and alternative solutions to living, with a passion for urban life. Since three years I have been actively participating in various communities in Brussels, and although there is still a lot to discover, I already have a good knowledge of different actors in this city that would come useful for building partnerships.
I would love to find out more about the project and if my profile could interest you - perhaps an informal coffee would be a good idea, Noemi?
I am looking forward to hearing from you, Paulina


Hi Paulina, thanks for reaching out, how did you learn about Edgeryders and this project?
What is your profession? Anything you can share about your current/past work and projects will come in handy and make it easier to connect you with other community members and people from our broader network, and opportunities in general, beyond the purpose of this call,

Happy to meet, I will message you in private to arrange a chat!

Hi Noemi, I have seen your post about this project in the Facebook group Urbanistas Brussels.
Regarding my profession, I wear many hats… I am a project manager, a social and serial entrepreneur, an author of stories for children… I also have experience in social work and 7 years in EU policy.

Looking forward to your message to meet for a chat!



I am new to Edge Ryders, but I am happy to have found this post.

I am a PhD researcher on SuStainable Drainage Systems recently moved from UK to Brussels (and staying). I worked on water quality in the past (firstly on manmade channel, later on climate change effects on river streams). My last project studied the effect of amendments on biofilters to improve water quality in urban environment.
My idea has always been to bring back in cities the nature that has been pushed away and my phd allowed me to tie all my projects together.

I would be happy to meet to learn more and be involved in this project!

Here a couple of links to tell more about what I do:

Thank you,


Hi @AndreaSuDS and welcome to Edgeryders,

Watched the video and I’m curious how you see SUDS applicable to a living environment? The Reef is an ecosystem solution to climate change, so obviously this scouting process we are starting will and should involve technical approaches connecting this community home to the neighborhood and city life, I’d just be curious to find out if you have a personal idea in mind?

Perhaps more than for this position of partnership builder, your skills would surely be welcome in the component of the project involving inventoring what is possible and applicable to a building. @matthias is leading that (from outside of Brussels for the moment), and I invite you to have a look at the wiki repository we are putting together as we prepare to dig in. Perhaps it’s better if you answered my question in that thread!

Happy to meet for a chat and walk you through our culture and opportunities for working together in the near future, I’m sending you a private message to arrange it,

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Hello dears :slight_smile:
The Reef is like an experimental embodiement of transversality between hard issues such as housing and environment and soft issues such as governance and community building.
To put it in a nutshell : these are also ingredients of my daily life recipe in Brussels and beyond.

In Brussels specifically, I do a lot with social changemakers that have chosen to give back life to obsolete and unused areas with circular purposes and techniques. When I say a lot, I mean

  • Sharing prospective and technical advices ;
  • Participating at the current gathering of actors that pushed forward the creation of Saint-Vide Leegbeek. The 20st town of Brussels Capitale, based on its 6.5 millions sqmetres to develop socially and culturally oriented project ;
  • Opening up my network that is full of both local and EU level representatives to advocate for the recognition of temporary occupation as a lever for economic social and cultural rights.

A partnership with edgeryders could be based on a thorough participation on both topics:

  • I’d like to work on building and secure qualitative partnership. I spent this all year mapping actors and their interest. We can talk about it deeper but I guess some actors of social innovation would really love the project. CLTB and Coopcity are one of them and I’m pretty sure they’d be glad to think about new economic models, access to land and buildings, creating communities of inhabitants and workers with the Reef experiment :).

  • I’d be glad to offer you some support on the matter of community building and co design @Noemi. I’m working on consensus decision making processes these days mostly with Toestand
    ; know a bit on knowledge sharing and non formal education to help participants going out of their confort zone during those types of co design moments.The very last moment I practiced those skills was in Albania with youth communities from Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania :). We were putting community will at the center as a major requirement before requalifying collectively a space that will be community led. I guess this has a lot of intersection with the Reef project. We can talk about it deeper whenever you want and I’d be very happy to know more about what you do in Marocco HadeerGhareeb

To let you know : my professional agenda is about figure out where are the links between temporary occupations (as a mean) and social innovation actors (as the change we want to implement and multiply). One workshop is already organized on that matter with European Lab forum in early October.

I can keep you uptodate because I guess links are already existant :slight_smile:

voilààààààà !!!

wish u the best, already looking forward to share a first aperomaker at the Reef :wink:

Baobaburbain - Iza


Hei Iza, good to reconnect with you here after our chat in Brussels!

This is important: the emphasis on new economic models means that we don’t start off with a mindset of temporary space, but a new kind of community space. Are you confortable making use of the lessons learned from temporary-ness and look into designing for more safety and longevity? If so, the groups we would involve might include, but definitely not be limited to people working in that space. An example: Imagine policy makers currently involved in the temporary occupation debate, but approached with a proposal to point us to opportunities for long term use, or concession, or similar.

Another question is: how would you go about finding which could be interesting spaces in the city with some access (whether they are private or publicly owned)? Would it build on the work of Commune St Vide/ Leegbeek or other mapping efforts? For the purpose of this scouting exercise, we’d need to identify some of them in order to be able to imagine how a community could live there and what kind of green projects would be needed or suitable.
This is exploratory ground, so the farther we can get the better, but even identifying a starting point would be useful.

Otherwise, I think we should meet as soon as you are available!

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Dear Noemi,

You’re asking precious questions…
About actors we could target for community building : I do agree that temporary occupation is a powerful territorial strategy. Yet this strategy will remain uncomplete as far as its not articulate with actors of circular economy, social innovation, non-conventionnal access to land (CLTB and l’îlot mostly) and cooperation (coop’city, SMART) and policymakers (Perspective and IBGE mostly).

about spaces : This is pure prospection.
We need to create new alliances with a lot of actors going to those i’ve named above, to others that are ruling temporary occupation (legitimacy opens the door for public and private owner to ask those actors to do something with their good, sometimes they don’t have time or staff and ask who’s in to make something), with local policymakers that can have an unused good in their patrimoine and so on, we can answer to call for project also from brussels bouwmeester, build a partnership with the cellule capteur et créateur de logement of l’îlot asbl (its dedicated to housing of public with in precarious situation but maybe there is a new style partnership to build here)
The question of how open up a door of opportunity to access to space is the crucial one.
I guess from now to september we can draft a strategic plan, design this starting point you are mentionning and use the community building moments to structure the alliances we will need for sure when this strategic plan will be launched.

Truely looking forward to see you :slight_smile:


This call is now closed.

Thanks to everyone who showed interest!
We have now completed our core team, and looking for new collaborators and enthusiasts to push
green communal living in Brussels.

Learn more here.