Key points

  • The practice is the stage of the project coming to life, where aspirations, prospects and goals, which the group has been striving for, become visible
  • Implementation of the project involves fruitful relationship between the other four layers: individual, community, intention and structure; a malfunctioning practice can be leading back to confusion or dysfunctional patterns in the other layers
  • When the group is aware of the impact of planned actions it can ensure coherence between all layers
  • The glue of a group lies particularly in shared practices, such as eating together, working together, sharing daily practices; thereby creating rhythms or patterns in community activities.

Overview

When designing a community project, it is important to pay attention to the details of everyday life. In fact, small daily practises connected with food, work, personal hygiene and resource use, for example, are often psychic and materialistic expressions of the worldviews, intentions and visions of the group. They can be designed consciously to support and strengthen them – or work the other way around, informing and giving clarity to the intention a community stands for.
At times, the worldview expressed in a practice might not correspond exactly to that of an individual group member, or even of the group as a whole. A group may have agreed to a common vision and intention, but still consciously or unconsciously operates according to a worldview more in line with what they want to change rather than where they want to go.
This can create conflicts and personal struggles, but can also be an invitation to support each other and help the project realise its goals. Consciously designing elements of everyday life to express the intentions of the project can thus support group members to take the actions and maintain the attitudes and types of relationships that help make their common visions a reality.
In projects that aim to change or improve something in the world, there are often blind spots that might go unseen before we encounter practices that disturb or challenge us, or which make us relate to life in a different way. How would we change or re-design our everyday life and practices if we consider them as expressions of either intentions or unexamined assumptions about life? What would we add or take away to better express what we want to create in the world? How does this influence, enrich or challenge us as individuals and communities?
When individuals group together and form a community, some daily practices that were previously individual and ‘domestic’ are transformed and become shared as community practices. In this section, examples are chosen to illustrate how we can build coherence between the individual, the community, the intentions and the structure, through practices woven into everyday life.

Examples are meant to show the interconnectedness between the levels in the model.
In accordance with GAIA Education’s wheel of sustainability, four examples have been chosen, one for each respective dimension:
· Social - the case of shared dinners
· Ecological - the case of compost toilets
· Economic - the case of car sharing
· Culture - the case of moments of awareness
The magnitude of experiences from existing ecovillages on these topics will be found on the CLIPS ICT platform. This section simply explores how practice in our model is influenced and is influencing all layers of community, from the individual to intention and structure.