Lordship Lane Eco Hub!

20150520_161043.jpg 20150520_142428.jpgHere is the entrance to the eco hub.

20150520_161031.jpg20150520_160918.jpgThe  doors and patio

20150520_161000.jpg20150520_160933.jpg20150520_160905.jpg around the building

20150520_142821.jpg The building is run by a co-op

20150520_142915.jpg 20150520_142807.jpginside spaces for community use

20150520_142948.jpg 20150520_142936.jpg20150520_160606.jpgThe cafe

20150520_160716.jpg An important place in any building! Beautiful!

Thank you the people of Lordship Recreational Ground in Haringey and their straw bale builders and architects!

For more information about this building see:




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Leslie on Glasshouse Debate Panel

Last Wednesday Leslie was part of a panel at the Glasshouse debate. It was a really interesting evening.

You can see their write up of the evening here


Leslie’s speech is below. You don;t have to read it!

The beginning paragraph is the Introductory paragraph for the evening.

Do we accept the status quo in place?
‘How have you let this happen?’ we heard from a young placemaker at our debate in Liverpool two years ago, as he reflected on the effects of poor placemaking. How has our culture determined how we make places? Have we demanded enough of ourselves? Our London debate will seek to consider the cultural norms that influence the status quo of placemaking. We’ll ask whether we truly have ambition when it comes to our places and will consider the role of risk and risk-taking in shaping those norms and ambitions.
Start of what Leslie said:
I want to start by looking at the introductory paragraph. It provided me with great food for thought!
From the question ‘How have you let this happen?’ I would ask Has anyone ‘let this happen?’ and if so who?
The idea that place is private underlies much of our decisions about place. There is an acceptance that everyone must have a private place of their own and over which that person is powerful – has ownership 
The ‘more civilized cultures’  are entitled to capture counties and cultures if they do not live like this, to colonise them, with our culture norms. This is described as as progress, modernity and development all part of  being ‘civilized’. The story goes that we are liberating those places through enforcing our better/higher values on them.
These ideas are said to be  ‘rational’  that is intelligent, evidence-based, well thought out and the only possible conclusion. We are right to accumulate individual wealth including places, each person needs their own place. It is part of the identity, grown up, adult. If poeple don’t there is something wrong. (exemplified by the children who are vilified and ridicules in the media when they do not moved not by the time they are about 25)
Is there a ‘you’ that let this happen? Yes I would say the ‘you’ does refer to a small group of people who do get asked for their thoughts and feel entitled to say what they think and create places. Most people are not included in this ‘you’ . Those who are included are mostly establishment figures, well educated into the values of private property.   All the entitled people have a stake in continuing this culture, these values and promoting these through their work.
The anger behind the question ‘how have you let this happen’ reflects my own frustration at the seeming impenetrable wall of the self perpetuating system, a status quo that seems impossible to change. The question ‘how have you let this happen?’ is answered that has happened because it serves a small but powerful section of society.
The introductory paragraph asks ‘Have we demanded enough of ourselves?’. This is the wrong question. It doesn;t matter how much we demand if we are demanding the wrong things.
Mostly, those in power haven’t looked at the way things are designed with a critical eye as it is they who benefit from the status quo.  There is no need for the entitled  to question their placemaking.
The introductory paragraph asks about the role of risk and risk-taking .There is risk in every position. The idea that there can be a world were humans can control everything (that is a world without risk) is part of the ‘rational’ ideology that we have to acknowledge  as part of a damaging status quo. We have to move beyond this vision. If we do not recognise the historical apex we are in, climate change and a debt economy we are taking a much larger risk. If we do not change the status quo many say we are literally risking the end of human kind.
Back to the introductory paragraph -Are we being ambitious enough?
Have to be careful of the word ‘ambitious’ as it is so tied to the dominant linear progress model that has failed most of us so badly. But if we want to reclaim the word, if we use ‘ambition’ to mean using our positions of varying amounts of power to help the not powerful to where they want to go. I would say we are not ambitious enough
So what does supporting the not powerful mean?
To get over an imbalance of power
It has to be openly acknowledged that the power imbalances is there, who has what and who doesn’t have any and for what reason
Secondly, Be transparent about the values that underpin any actions.
3. Our values need to change.
-We need to move away from the domination of private and ownership to the notion of communal and commons.
-To ensure the equity of action and opportunities we need to work through inclusive participatory approaches, direct action, leadership by community rather than individuals. In this way power is encouraged to be dispersed and diffuse in community rather than centralised and concentrated in a small proportion of hands.
This encourages different ways of imaging, planning and building our places.
-Need to encourage creativity and self determinating projects which are small scale and personal,
-We need to reject dichotomies of competition and tackle the growing divide , individual vs community, public vs private, leisure vs work, workplace vs home, city vs country ,animal vs human,
Instead see urban landscape a profusion of sprouting, growing and living reconnecting with nature, full of respected creatures
Along with this come a changed view of success
looking at the economy of natural resources and the production of social financial and ecological sustainability
London Community Neighbourhood Co-operative, LCNC, the project I am involved with, is working in this way, works with these values , acknowledging its privilege, working in flat structures, with a changed view of success.
This means
1.See those you work with not as someone who has a few skills and knowledge but as someone who has all the ideas. Work in community, build relationships and lead with the community
2.LCNC plans a Community led Self build, an activity that decentralises and demystifies knowledge. It means people are not passive consumers of housing but are self skilling and skill sharing, thereby engaging with their housing on an intimate practical level helping people be and feel part of something, in control of their own environment.
3.LCNC uses co-operative organizational structures that include all those involved encouraging flat decision making processes.
Local food production, local and multi use work space, community owned financial instruments, education of each other throughout our lives, water and energy production on site, sewage and waste dealt with on site community owned resources such as tools, and spaces for parties or guests all part of the LCNC vision.
LCNC’s hope is that we modeling for others another way of relating to our built and social environment. This model is not a blueprint but  a conscious vision with transparent underlying values for a society different from today’s status quo.
One that emphazises –
Decentralised control over spaces
Common ownership
Residential spaces integrated with food production, work and leisure
Production of the built environment organized to meet local needs all
 controlled, planned and built by those who live there.
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Willow for the Old Girl!

The Otherwise Club just returned from a week at Paddington Farm. We have been going there every February for at least 19 years.  This year they have done so  much to the place but the exciting thing for LCNC is willow!

We want to make, this summer, two willow walls (Hurdles) for our toilet. They will be made from hazel uprights (as they are stronger than willow) with  woven between them. This is an ancient way to make walls, easy and cheap as they had the materials to hand and willow grows fast. You can make lots of things with it with a little imagination.

Here is the willow growing at Paddington Farm in their maze


You cut off the long uprights and tuck the little ones in to strengthen the structure.

P1400613Then you grade the cut pieces


We will be guerrilla gardening some. All you need do is plant 2/3 of the stick into the ground (after soaking it for a day) and it should grow! Then you have willow every year to make stuff with! Great eh?

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Happy New Year!

We haven’t posted for a while as have been so busy!
We have entered the Old Girl in the shed of the year award 2015
Have a look!
There are a lot of wonderful sheds there!
We put her under the ‘unique’ category rather than the ‘eco’ as she is more than eco – she is built by normal people (with a little help) and she is also an office for us. So useful and practical as well as eco.

Dee and I are going to be doing a monthly radio programme! Dee has done lots of radio but new to me.
We start Friday 23 January 4-5pm on K2K Radio
I am a bit nervous but with Dee there we will be fine!

Dee and I were on the front over of SK Connect
You can see and read about us inside the magazine
http://www.skpartnership.net/uploads/7/9/7/1/7971808/connect-is27-spreads-lowres_2.pdfThere is more! But I will save it for later…
Have a great year and we hope to see you soon.

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Our Launch Party!

We had a fantastic night last Wednesday 17th Sept when we launched the
Granville Community Kitchen!
Over 60 people came to sample Dee’s wonderful punpointastic menu. She served:
Spicy pumpkin dip
Pumpkin seed crackers
Pumpkin & Squash Flatbreads with goat’s cheese, fried sage leaves or rocket and a pumpkin seed oil balsamic drizzle
Calalu Croustades with pumpkin leaves cooked in niter kibbeh, herbs and spices
Pumpkin Chilli with optional toppings of shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, coriander, green onions.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Lattes


We asked those attending to give us their ideas for the kitchen.
Some ideas for cooking classes are:
Cooking with coconut
Cake baking and decorating
Dips like sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot
Cocoa truffles
Cooking with chorizo

Some ideas for the kitchen are

Hair Braiding
Elders Coffee Mornings
Film Nights
Language Exchange

Send us your ideas! Granville Comunity Kitchne is a resource for everyone

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Granville Community Kitchen’s First Film Night!

Last Wednesday we had a fabulous time at Granville Community Kitchen’s first film night.

Dee made a wonderful creole stew and rice, we chatted, made new friends, and watched a lovely film about the power of community and chocolate! What more could you want?

Come along to the next one: ‘The Harder They Come’

10th Dec 6p.m. for food and 7p.m. for the film.

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Degrowth Conference 2014, Leipzig, Germany


I have just come back from the Degrowth Conference in Leipzig. What a fantastic time!  I was not that taken with Degrowth itself. It seems to be an attempt to merge in some way political and ecologic views about how to move toward a sustainable future. But it is very woolly. Many people had great analyses of how bad it is now and wonderful realistic visions for how society can be better in many different areas of society. But very few wanted to speak about how we get from one to the other! But that aside… the conference was really well organised. There were over 3000 people attending and over 600 contributors from countries all over the world. The food was excellent and given the numbers they were feeding, the queues went quite quickly (you can see where my priorities lie!)

P1370604                                          People helping to prepare the food.

I met some fantastic people, saw some old friends, renewed acquaintances, made lots of new contacts,  went to some great practical workshops  and saw Leipzig which is a wonderful city.

You can see more about the conference here including lots of videos.

On the last day there was a march through town. People made these ‘hand banners’ with which they took pictures either pointing to or holding a corporation name or logo ‘ in the hand’ (in the photo). It is really clever.








There was also a fantastic samba band and some theatrical performances to the bemused people of Leipzig and four police persons who ran up and down a lot looking important and busy!









Then we went to a nearby coal fired power plant.


It is the 10th dirtiest plant in Europe. There was a direct action training and food laid on at the power station. All very jolly, friendly and interesting.

Thank you Degrowth organisers for making it all happen and bringing us all together!

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