Busy day at Brno. I picked delicious local apples in the morning (not the untasty ones you find in supermarkets). At 14:00 we gave a course at Brno university on housing for degrowth at the department of environmental studies with degrowth oriented academic. Considering the increasing price of housing, it is tempting to try to live on agricultural land, sadly going into urban spawl, but be ecological. The events were organised by Jan Blazek who is soon finishing his PhD on eco-communities, studying how to combine ecological/social goals and economic sustainability.

Jan Blazek talking about degrowth with Anitra Nelson in his office at Brno University

In the evening we had a presentation at Sibir (see also facebook page), an old movie theatre from 1930, recently recuperated as a great community center. It is a place where concerts and all sorts of talks and political events take place. A vegan meal was served at an open price by another project called Tri Ocasci ("three tails"). The housing prices steadily increase in Brno which motivates participants to organise with each others to counteract this trend. There has been a video made by Marta of our presentation.

Speculation is one of the important reasons for price increase. It also keeps the houses in a shape suitable to the housing market creating a blocage of the socio-ecological transformation. Legislation could certainly do something about this specific issue: let us suppose that we would not be able to sell a house if it did had flushing toilets or fossil heating.

One of the many reasons for the increase of prices is the renting of flats for tourists. Sometimes these flats are left empty most of the year outside the tourist season. Renting flats is wrontly called a sharing economy, this has nothing to do sharing as it is simply a renting economy. As we had this discussion, when we talk of sharing in housing we mean flat-sharing, house sharing, co-housing, sharing of washing between neighbors etc. It needs to be differenciated with commodification, creating markets relation instead of convivial relations. See the article on the issue by Giorgos Kallis.

The presentation was followed by a concert by a electric gipsy band that regularly rehearse in this venue, great energy but a bit loud for joining with my unplugged clarimella :)

Photo: Martina
Great discussion at Sibir on housing for degrowth
A Czech special issue on degrowth and architecture, with on the right Anja of Tri Ocasci who made the delicious vegan food and Martina who organised and made photos as she is part of the collective Sibir

The next day we had a nice meal at Tri Ocasci where we met Nadia Johanisova and her companion. Nadia has been pionneer in Czech Republic on the issue of degrowth. Her work has focussed very much on the issue of eco-social cooperatives. She believes in the demonstration of alternatives. Her companion believes rather in convincing people of the gravity of the ecological situation. Both have a very complementary approach.