Markus Zilker: "A clear focus will inspire the team and make it easier for new people to join."

Markus is founder and partner at einszueins architektur. In addition to 12 years of experience in the planning and execution of residential construction projects of various scales, he has advanced training in the field of mediation and community building. He has experience in dealing with small and large group processes, from process design and communication to the moderation of workshops and working groups. As an expert on the subject of "Baugruppen“ (co-housing) and participation in planning, he will present at the summit the case of Gleis-21 co-housing project.

The motto of doing the co-housing project Gleis 21 was “Setting the course together”. But how do you get going with such a large-scale participatory project? Where do you start?

We started in 2015 with a 3-day Vision Workshop with the founding group of 22 people. Before starting with any planning, we intensively talked about the joint vision that has the potential to lead the group through difficult decisions and hard times.

The clear focus on solidarity, sustainability and social encounters inspired the whole team through the planning and building phase and made it easier for new people to join the project.

What have been the biggest challenges in this co-creational project? How to take into account the different backgrounds and perspectives of the future residents and the parties involved? How do you reach a consensus?

All kinds of ritualised communications can help to improve understanding of each other in a complex process. We have frequently used talking circles with a talking stick to ensure that every group member can listen to others and has enough time to express his/her opinion.

What have been the most useful co-designing tools or methods during this project?

The method of sociocracy helped the group find a good balance between a broad participatory process and a conventional schedule for planning and building.

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