Status 2011

I recently realised that I still refer people to my website, yet I’ve failed to blog here for almost a year! Goodness! I guess that is an indication that my plan of focusing my blog in a new direction has failed miserably. That being said, I have been rather busy with both work (which I was supposed to blog about here) as well as some other projects. So, I thought I’d give a quick run-down of what I’m up to these days.

Work
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work with the Aarhus-based Alexandra Institute focusing on user involvement in the development of new smart grid infrastructure that can support the introduction of new products such as heat pumps and electrical vehicles that will come to tax the Danish power grid in the future.

I’ve also been working with the Copenhagen-based consultancy Nueva, conducting explorative research on how Danes relate to their food, and particularly to the food that they end up throwing away for various reasons.

Borgerlyst
I’m still heavily involved in Borgerlyst (a Danish portmanteau consisting of the two words Borger (meaning citizen) and Lyst (roughly meaning lust, urge, delight, inclination). In short, a sort of civic urge). It is meant as a sort of play on the phrase â??civic dutyâ??. Whereas civic duty is all the obligations, rules and expectations society forces upon you, civic urge is something like the opposite.

With Borgerlyst, we arranged a series of open citizen salons where we facilitated the discussion of themes and issues in civic engagement through unconventional means such as conversation menus, spectrogram exercises and more. Currently, we’re working on a new website, which will be an even better online platform for inspiring civic engagement in Denmark. That is also where I do most of my blogging these days.

Københavns Fødevarefællesskab
For the past 2 years I’ve been an active member of the Copenhagen food co-op called Københavns Fødevarefællesskab (or KBHFF for short). It’s a food co-op where all members agree to work 3 hours a month in the coop. And in return they get to buy organic fruit and vegetables grown by local farmers at a price that is lower than at the supermarket.

In fact, because the food co-op replaces the middle-man with volunteer labour, not only do we get cheaper food, but the local farmers also get a fair price for their produce (often better than what the supermarkets pay them). In that way, it’s a win-win situation. The concept is proving to be a success, and we now have more than 1500 members and four shops in different parts of Copenhagen that are open every Wednesday afternoon.

On occasion, I have been a spokesperson on behalf of the food co-op, for instance in this short video about how the co-op generates community and engagement locally (it’s in Danish):

Foreningen til Kollektivers Fremme
Yet another initiative that I’ve helped start up is Foreningen til Kollektivers Fremme, which translates to something like the Association for the Advancement of Communes. We use “commune” as a blanket term to describe intentional communities of people living or working together, sharing common interests, property, possessions and resources to a greater or smaller extent.

Having lived in a commune growing up, and living in a commune for the past four years, it is a perfectly natural way of living for me, and I’m very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses related to living in this way. But people often have a lot of prejudice when it comes to communes, and there are loads of things that are unnecessarily difficult when it comes to starting a commune or interacting with various parts of the bureaucracy, which lack a neat box that communes can fit into.

Thus, we’ve started the association to help people wanting to find or start a commune, and allow existing communes to work together and pool their resources to the benefit of all.

So, yes. I’ve been busy alright, even if my blog doesn’t reflect it. 🙂

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