Who are you and what do you do?
I got envolved in the transition movement in two stages. First I co-created the Pic Nic The Streets movement after reading about the open letter written by Philip Van Parijs. The idea was to give the city back to its citizens, with the help of the facebook generation. So I started the event and after a couple of hours we had 500 participants and a reunion in the evening to make it happen. The first Pic Nic The Streets event in 2012 brought more then 2500 peoples to picnic for less cars and more public space. Afterwards a group of activists formed and we had some success with other projects like Canal Park BXL or Cyclo Guerilla.
After a couple of years of activism we started building a bike project called Vélo M2 (www.velom2.be) to have multifunctional cargo bikes filling up the public space. thanks to that project we enrolled in POC21 (poc21.cc) an open source innovation camp around sustainable design. POC21 was for me a second level of design thinking where I learned more about methodology and bringing it to larger groups while being sustainable myself. I brought this methodology towards empty spaces in Brussels at the moment and thanks to the owner of Bonnefooi we are now creating Huis VDH, a sustainable hybrid co-working, co-housing hub.
What competences would make you a good Generation T?
Before rolling into sustainable thinking I was already organizing festivals and art projects with a collective called soft revolution. My values were founded there: spontaneousness, randomness, humanism, passion. We wrote a book about using it in the social field, and I still use those values in my projects at the moment. My vision is one of inclusion and knowledge. The open source spirit helps me to share and document the projects I'm doing, helping my thoughts form, and possibly helping others not making the same errors or learning from what I’ve learned. Everything trickles down to the human level, and I think it is important in a sustainable society. It is great to have network structures, and facilitation skills to structurize movements, but without the one on one discussions, we lose what is ours. Finding the balance between those two is at the moment the task I'm working on. I love connecting people with the right project, or help them find inspiration in books, movies or art.
Give specific example(s) on how your projects or activities make a difference and initiate change.
The process we are going trough with Huis VDH is I think the paroxysm of my way to initiate change. We are renovating a house, using open source methodologies to organize ourself, being totally transparant, building every project within a sustainable method (materials, plans, resources,...) and trying out new realistic ways to live and work in a city. It is not easy, for example the paradigm to do it without money and only exchange was abandoned after a couple of months because it wasn't realistic. But we are still trying to find ways to counter the capitalistic system without being extreme. I'm conscious that finding a new system isn't only doing the opposite, it is using what works within a new values.
Who inspired you? What made you first passionate about sustainability?
For me at the moment, the people that are inspiring me the most are the writers of 'De correspondent', they bring a new frame to society, where discussion and reflection is possible without falling into sensationalism.