What after the Reef co-design in 2019? Meetup and catching up in Brussels!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the early stage Reef design in 2019!

I hope your year started well and your plans for 2020 are kicking off! It would be great to meet for drinks and catch up, share some news from everyone.
I propose 2nd of March at 18:00?
Location : Via Via, near St Catherine.
Let me know if you can make it? I will make a reservation.

Here’s what you may have missed about the Reef.

A hyper compelling report onThe Future of Ecological Urban Living is out, authored by our @matthias and based on the conversations had with all of you experts in Brussels and abroad.

The main idea in 2020 is to start negotiations with several buildings and build a commercial offer for inhabitants. This will kickstart asap.

There is now a Reef ASBL association! Edgeryders will continue to run the relationship with Climate-KIC, and now awaits funding for the next stage of the project. The main advantage of having an association is that anyone can join it… anyone seriously interested in moving forward, that is.

Also: we have partnered up with Blivande house in Stockholm and Fondazione per L’Innovazione Urbana in Bologna! More about this here. With these partners, the plan is to organise in 2020 an Expo of green living technology and artistic solutions.

Sending all my best and really looking forward to meet!



awesome! see you on march 02. looking forward to catch up with you guys and the project

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So far Malcolm and Isabelle are also coming.
See you there Manuel!

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I’m leaving here some good ideas which were discussed last night, regarding the Reef community in 2020. Reframing my own, if I miss something please jump in @manuelpueyo @Sabine @Malcolm :slight_smile:

First thing that will happen (in order of priorities) will be the search for the building and starting negotiations. In parrallel to this, we aim to keep discovering people who could be good fits for such a project, who together have the right ‘chemistry’, as @johncoate would say, BUT we also need to be efficient at gauging real interest in the project. To put it in other words, we’d need to zoom in on that part of say, a growing Reef community of enthusiasts, to a Reef community of inhabitants.

There’s two scenarios in which the Reef community of inhabitants could form:

  1. (baseline) we, Edgeryders operational team, find a building and prepare the commercial offer, then roll it out and see who comes forward from all of Brussels/ Belgium.
  2. (the ideal option) a tight group of people forms who are making the decision to invest together, and shape the way the offer is presented to others who join. These newer people might be just as invested at the time of making the agreement, but could also be filling a roster of people for shorter stays. in the scenario in which you could have 12 out of 20 people committed, and would still need to find the money for the other remaining few spots.

The question raised by Sabine - How do you build the co-living aspect into the commercial offer?

Some processes which could help us get closer to the Reef community of inhabitants and real relationships.

  • Membership in the Reef ASBL - this signals preliminary commitment and ensures peole are part of the process, with some regularity of meetings and discussions, but is not binding anyone to become an inhabitant.
  • write a Manifesto and collect adherents to it. This Manifesto could be the door to the ASBL too.
  • v2.0. of the questionnaire we had for workshop participants, with more actionable details included. The questionnaire inquires about people’s life situation, what facilities they need, if they are looking to invest money and how much time they could dedicate to the project i.e. house projects, but also volunteering to do community management or facilitation.
  • communication activities and content curation to really spread out the offer of the Reef. Some of these can be part of communication for the Expo of green living in 2020, because the Expo could be a nice window into what the Reef could be. Especially if by some miracle we can organise the Expo in a candidate space - we would rent the space for the event and ‘open tours’ or something :wink:

suggestion: why not request a symbolic membership fee from people joining asbl as members to contribute to covering costs for community building and e.g paperwork that needs doing. Could be a good way to zoom in.


Yes, that’s exactly the idea!

How many people are involved in this so far, and of them how many plan to actually live there?

The whole online community (most of which is in Brussels) was 47 people when we reported in January, including team. Most people attended at least 1 workshop.
I would say 3-4 people would actually consider living there, but this is just me. 2019 was community building in the broad sense, mostly people with an interest in the project and in urban living - hence my distinction above between community and community of inhabitants.

convivium vs community

Thank you Noemi for the note taking.

the manifesto

a document that is agreed by present inhabitants and accepted by new inhabitants. it could also be the beginning of a governance doc for the inhabitants. The harvesting from the 2019 workshops could be a good basis for start drafting the manifesto. we have material there.

members =i am a potential inhabitant.

it makes sense to me to have 2 types of members : call it enthusiast/community vs inhabitants/convivium .
interested in the community building part, maybe we could organize some informal meetings to play, eat, just to get to know each other.


Yes - I think both sound good, Manuel.

We should probably resume the meetups in April, if all goes well and the corona situation doesnt worsen too much. Will be in touch!

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I’ll be really interested to see how you transition from interested people to a group who actually want to live together and will commit to that. It feels to me like it needs a starting point of shared values and similar functional needs, then a gradual process of building trust and caring about each other.

Of course none of this is brand new, and it’s great that you have people in the group with experience of coliving, but I’m sure Edgeryders will bring a fresh new approach :slight_smile:

I suspect that one of the difficulties with coliving is that many of the challenges are “fuzzy” and ultimately down to the complex interrelationships of the individuals involved, so it’s difficult to codify and transfer learnings to a different context (e.g. a new group of people). It would be wonderful if some knowledge can be shared though as I feel that building these strong communities that live ecologically (and are composed of more than died-in-the-wool hippies) will be absolutely essentially for the coming decade.

‘Luckily’ our research here in Romania shows that there is a great deal of loneliness around, so if barriers of trust and self-acceptance can be overcome and people can find and maintain strong relationships in these close eco-communities, I think it will be a trend that grows and spreads.

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Thanks, indeed the building of trust and group resilience to withstand future conflicts (not a matter of if, but rather when they arise…) will take more time.
Can I ask, what kind of data do you have re: Romania? Your own observations or something larger?

Much larger, now - we were observing for 3 years during our events but we wanted something more solid so now we have done over 20 interviews and an online survey with 353 people from across the country about their unmet social needs. This short animation outlines our methodology and the main results. I’m happy to share the data if anyone can make use of it for social benefit.

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