COMMON PLACE: Talking about co-housing and communities of sharing

On the 6th of March 2021, we held a workshop to talk about co-housing and communities of sharing.

We launched a call for participation among individuals, activists, researchers, collectives, NGOs to share their knowledge on co-housing and communities of sharing in Lisbon and beyond. More specifically, this workshop aimed at starting a debate about how municipal estates could play a role in rethinking housing, commons and care, going beyond the models of property we usually work with. 

We asked the participants (16 persons) to share experiences, knowledge, information, ideas about the following topics: concepts of community and sharing, social architecture, inspirations/models, local initiatives, available data and mapping and legal framework. Engaging in a horizontal discussion and using a collaborative whiteboard provided the structure for mapping experiences, data sources and ideas. The participants decided to follow with monthly meetings. 

The group – approximately 25 people including those who expressed interest but couldn’t participate this time – will be invited to continue forming a working group to learn, explore and build an advocacy strategy. 

There are different lines of action we would like to follow:

• Exploring visions about urban space based on the concepts of commons and care to develop concrete projects and imagine a more comprehensive change, including legislative one.
• Learning from other initiatives and study their advocacy strategies, as well as sharing the learnt lessons to spread and replicate projects. 
• Creating alliances with other housing rights movements to join forces and discuss conflicting interests and intersecting processes. 
• Mapping and visualising data about municipal and state-owned real estate – based both on the public inventory of vacant properties and grassroots mapping initiatives. 
• Looking at data on housing inequalities. Using data visualisation as a tool of advocacy.

The event provided an occasion for mapping relevant actors and knowledge and established a starting point for a process that holds the potential to create alliances and set up a joint advocacy strategy. The workshop highlighted the importance of creating, reinforcing and connecting grassroots initiatives and movements that promote alternative perspectives on housing by creating spaces of collective learning.

The event was part of the Open Data Day 2021.

We believe in and work towards the vision of knowledge as commons. Indeed, the collective TuTela Learning Network bases its initiatives on the idea of radical sharing and the importance of connecting and sharing activist knowledge. We see Open Data Day as an opportunity to raise awareness among activists on the opportunities that engaging with open data holds for movements. 

Micol Brazzabeni & Kitti Baracsi

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