CLEAR Village Lab, Barcelona

Posted by Carolyn on November 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm

It has taken me rather longer to write about the CLEAR Village Lab than it should, partly because the event was so mentally, emotionally and physically knackering, that I spent the following week comatose. Now that my body has returned to something close to functionality, I peer at the Lab through a kaleidoscopic lens and wonder if I can do it justice. CLEAR Village, I should explain, is a Foundation recently set up by Thomas Ermacora, whose aim it is to develop a collaborative method for creating small-scale sustainable communities. I am delighted to say that Thomas has asked me to be a Thought Leader on the project, and the Lab in Barcelona was my first encounter with what that might entail. Around sixty of us spent three days in a large warehouse building, in a series of exercises and workshops designed to tease out the principles and methodologies that CLEAR will follow.

My very first encounter set the tone: partnered by Nathaniel Corum, Architecture for Humanity’s Outreach Director, we spent 90 minutes discussing questions such as ‘what is your work/life balance’, and ‘what is the place of governance in your life?’, scribbling our thoughts on a round table, along with two other couples. We then, as a table, had to debate the issues, and come up with one answer to be taken forward to the whole group. The stuff that came up in that first session was already enough to keep several philosophers going for a lifetime, so you can imagine what three days of similarly intensive work (and a suitable amount of partying) did to our brains and bodies.

Whatever else CLEAR achieves (and I hope it will be a great deal) the network of people it has already pulled together is stunning. To list them all here would take too long, but I don’t think I can recall meeting so many extraordinary, passionate people in such a short time, many of whom I very much hope will turn out to be lifelong friends and colleagues. Not bad, for three days’ work…

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