Rural Coliving Innovation

The event took place from November 13th to November 18th 2023 at Alpiness Coliving in Switzerland. The main objective of this exchange was to generate innovative ideas and concepts for a coworking space that benefits both colivers and the broader community, and more specifically in mountain areas. 

Not only has this objective been fulfilled, but it actually way exceeded our expectations.

 

As it is the case in many rural areas: coworking, coliving, and more generally speaking the use of technology or creative projects are not exactly the most wide-spread concepts. Our region has a rich farming and agricultural culture. Villagers have been very welcoming from our very first day here but let’s just say that very regularly they would be talking about “the 2 youngsters running this co-wo-thingy”. 😉

 

During these 5 days, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with multiple people and being able to show what the members of Anceu have been able to achieve in their own village has been a huge inspiration for both our local authorities, tourist office institutions but also locals. 

Not only do most people now know what a coworking is, they are actually also impatient to see one in the village. Thanks to Anceu presenting some of their past projects, many villagers have shown significant interest to get involved and started suggesting ideas for creating a space all together. 

 

A coworking is a nice idea, but after this week and our several workshops and discussions, we are starting to imagine this space to be something more “multi-purpose” where people could come work during the day but where we could also organize events such as game days where multiple generations could join, the space could be used in the evening by local associations (alp horn Lac Bleu, local choir, knitting club) to host their practice and events.

The Rural Coliving Innovation Exchange has been a real first step in the right direction for our project and it has helped us create the first very valuable links. Marlène Mauris (the president of the local tourist association), Virginie Gaspoz (mayor of the village) and Dylan Métrailler (director of the tourist office) have expressed their gratitude to see such an event taking place in our municipality and are supporting us in what’s next. Thanks to the event, we’ve now created a whatsapp group involving both officials and villagers who are now willing to make this project become a reality.

Our final event took place on Friday evening. We were expecting a few people who would have an interest in such a project being launched (hotel owners, members of local associations) to attend but we were amazed to also see both local entrepreneurs and retirees coming to the round table. After a brief presentation from our part where we introduced Anceu, our exchange program and our main objectives, we divided the attendees in 4 groups. Each table had a topic and one of the team members stayed there to take notes of all the ideas villagers had to share. The differents aspects discussed were: 

  • Proposed location

  • Facilities and infrastructure

  • Events and activities

  • Potential alliances and partnerships  

Each group spent 10 minutes at each table. All answers have been recorded and will be analyzed and summarized by us. We’ve decided to organize a follow-up event on December 19th to share the results and keep discussing the future steps.

 

As for our relationship with Anceu, this event has only contributed to strengthen the bond that we’ve had since many years now. No doubt that we’ll keep visiting and exchanging in the future. Our location, our language and even many of the cultural aspects of our village might differ, but our core values are perfectly aligned and we already know there will be lots of amazing exchanges in the future.