These are the people who came up with the idea of this crazy project
After 7 years of multitasking for an international environmental NGO, Aurélie decided that she needed a change of a scenery, while still working on saving the world. She didn’t need that much convincing from Rafa to agree to moving to southern Spain to start that slightly crazy project they had been talking about for a while already. She likes food, reading quietly as well as partying wildly, she’s delighted to live close to the sea. Environmental degradation and social injustice make her angry, she is geeky and enjoys solving problems.
Aurélie grew up in France and studied, amongst others, languages and intercultural management.
Rafa is a computer sciencist who has been involved for long with NGOs fighting against exclusion. He is obsesed with figuring out ways to make the world a better place while having a good time doing so. He has been following for long the dream of setting up a sustainable community that uses the power of SCIENCE! to improve everyone's life, and that's the reason he is writing this text you are reading right now :)
Rafa grew up in Spain and apart from coding and doing nerdy stuff loves cooking and eating.
Passionate about technology and human behavior, Javi has been living and voluntering while studying and working in 7 different countries. He started dreaming with Rafa about an approach of the project when he was just 14 years old. Fifteen years later this idea wasn't just an utopy anymore, it was a project that was going to take shape in the near future. Javi likes listening to people, hiking and walking in spite of getting lost constantly because of his null path finding. People who lose hope in values or use them as a facade make him sad, he is also geeky and enjoys the pleasure of little daily things like eating and the scent of pine trees.
Javi grew up in Spain and studied psychology and software development.
We have a non-ambitious goal: we want to change the world. We want to do that by developing a model that is accessible. There are some projects out there featuring the building of a whole new district or even town, and we are pretty excited about those, but we want to make ours easier to reproduce. We are thus starting small and we expect to grow little by little. We are also trying to make it quite simple, so that it doesn’t require too often levels of expertise that can be difficult to have access to.
The model needs to be economically sustainable, i.e. not to rely on external financial help in the long run.
The model needs to be open to participants who can only offer limited resources, whether these are money, time or anything else. We cannot change the world if only privileged people can afford the change.
The model will rely as much as possible on tools, devices and techniques that are available in open-source, because that is key to replicability and improvement.
We will make the techniques, devices, etc that we develop available in open-source.
While maintaining a high quality of life, which is mostly based on our surroundings, on quality food, on reduced commute, on being part of a network of people…
Because it doesn’t make sense to damage our habitat, nor to release harmful products in our food, our water or our air.
Because we think that the only logical path is to promote and implement regenerative systems that are efficient in the short-term and in the long-term.
With a good quality of life: pleasant surroundings, quality food, reduced commute, no need for private vehicle, easy access to outdoors leisure, reduced working times, cooperation-based community…
With a system that does not request unreasonable efforts from people and is open to different ways of being involved.
With a community that promotes collaborative decision making and where voices are heard.
With a model aiming towards social equity: giving the same opportunities to all and though there might be an imbalance in who can receive those benefits (i.e., social or economical conditions) it is there for equitable distribution.
Although we have several things in common with hippie villages or communities since our project was inspired by those. This is however not what we want to build because we want a to live in a place that is easily accessible, i.e. that doesn’t require a private vehicle nor spending >1h in a bus to go to a city or a transport hub.
They also often are synonym of rejecting modern technology, whereas we love modern technology and are convinced that if well used, it can bring the solutions we need to reduce our environmental footprint as well as social injustice.
Besides, they only target people who are already convinced. We want to convince people who are not.
We want our model to be accessible and practical, it thus needs to be connected with the rest of the world.
We want to demonstrate to other potential participants that a better system is possible, and for that we need to be connected with the world. Also, there are a lot of things that we like in the rest of the world!
We want to be as unbiased as possible. We want to be scouts, not soldiers. We want to follow scientific principles.
People, companies, governments, etc, change their mind or practices. It’s not because someone did something that goes against our principles once or even most of the time that they are enemies and that we cannot cooperate. They might go in a different direction at some point, that doesn’t mean that we consider them as enemies. The same goes with allies.
We don’t want to automatically accept or reject people or structures due to their nature or orientation. E.g. even though we are more oriented towards non-profit structures, we might welcome cooperation with for-profit entities when it make sense or reject cooperation with a non-profit structure when we think that they are not going in the right direction.
Because that’s just impossible. We will always have disagreements, and that’s fine.
We want members to understand and apply a principle of consensus decision-making: that a decision doesn’t imply the active consentment of every person, but rather their acceptance in the sense of absence of rejection. In practice, that means if one doesn’t agree with a proposal but doesn’t have a really strong reason to go against it (a strong reason could be that they consider that the proposal implies an unacceptable risk), the person will not vote against the proposal. In short, that means not blocking decisions that we don’t fully embrace but can live with.
Besides, a number of decisions are taken by the person or group in charge of the issue, who usually has the relevant knowledge and skills. E.g. decisions regarding user experience (UX) on our website are made by the UX specialist(s) and the content of a press release is determined by a communications person. While general trends might be discussed within a larger group, the tactics and technicalities are left to the one(s) in charge.
Because that’s impossible. We know that we won’t solve everything that we want to solve in short term, nor in the middle term, and probably not even in the long term. We don’t have the resources to do so, and we are realistic.
That also means that if our project -or a part of it- doesn’t solve X problem doesn’t imply that we don’t want to solve it. It just implies that at this point of the development of our project we don’t have the means to solve it.
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