Social Librarians, Skills Exchanges, and Temporary Commons

In preparation for nubialin, Darsh came up with a title for one of the roles he has so far played on the island as a part of our projects.

Social Librarian.

Defining what you do, helps to identify the tools of your trade, and better design processes to assist you. In this instance, he is now working on a means to collect information from local families and sign them up to a skills exchange.

During his online research, we also discussed the challenges of land ownership on the island. Land cannot be bought here, it is split among the original families on the village. Each time the land is passed down, the land is divided (although often the division is not discussed, or acted upon). Eventually the divided land becomes a point of contention and paralysis among the family, with nobody wishing to do something on the land.

The land remains unused for years as parties dispute ownership, and nobody wants to commit to doing anything on the land for fear they will loose what they’ve built in the future, or upsetting the family.


Simplified Model of Land inheritance problem, with potential solution, explained below)

I suggested one possible idea would be to copy the model of Prinzessinengarten in Berlin where they plant in containers due to their insecurity with respect to Berlin rents. It is easier to persuade families to explore a temporary solution than a permanent one, and mobile planters mean that should land become owned by one member or disputed in future it is easy to move without loosing the fruits of your labors – I suggested a similar way of thinking might help in Palestinian Refugee Camps where refugees skills are being eroded, and nobody wants to build anything as they don’t want to be seen as settling – they want their homes, and wear their keys around their necks to remind them. Nomadic solutions allow for people to invest their time securely, and for land owners to allow for land use without compromising their future rights (platoon, uses this model for mutual benefit with the landlord).


I also told him about Templehofer Garten, and how they made the land available and invited people to create their own gardens.

Templehofer Garten

So potentially a solution would be to persuade land owners to allow for temporary land use, and construct container gardens. Some of produce/profits could be shared with land owners.
Darsh will seed these ideas with the community as well as the Skills Exchange at the Mosque on Friday. The Mosque is one of the key community entry points, and Darsh also uses it to monitor the mood of the island, and get feedback from the community. This should be a consideration for any community practitioner – where are the key access points for a community?

Whether it mosque, church, shisha cafe, bar, shop, bus stop, find the points where a local community (preferably in all it’s diverse glory) converges or passes through during the week, to work with a community you must establish the key points of contact both in terms of Physical space and also Social Context (eg. what interests, concerns, excites them).



About society2point0

Serial Entrepreneur and Dragons Den Survivor now concerning himself with using web and mobile technologies to empower society and encourage real world interactions.

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