Baskemölla Ekoby

Baskemölla is the first Swedish Ecovillage. Thirty households share infrastructures and land for their individual eco-friendly houses, husbandry, farming and other small scale activities.

It's not for us. We secure our food supply for the future. (from the video)


# Aspirational Goals

From its founding charter, Baskemölla Ekoby (html ) seeks to: - create the conditions for a lifestyle in harmony with nature by sharing knowledge, experiences and resources; and - harmonize freedom, justice and ethics through a deliberatively democratic process.

One of the ideals has been that it should be possible for anyone to live in Baskemölla Ecoby, not only for those who can afford it.

# Legal Status and Location

Baskemölla Ekoby is an Ekonomisk Förening (wiki ) -- the equivalent of a cooperative -- in Sweden, Europe, with a bioregional dimension and connected to the transnational Global Ecovillage Network


# When did they start?

Project members began talks in the early 1990s, but it took years until they got the opportunity to buy the first chunk of land from the municipality: 22,5 ha that were finally acquired in 2000. Construction began in 2001. In 2017 the project feels settled and growing.

# How do they work?

Baskemölla Ecoby members collectively own and manage their land in such a way that housing and small-scale activities, farming, and animal husbandry are integrated with each other in an ecological cycle. The community strives for a high level of self-sufficiency in energy, water and sewage, and for the production of food for residents in the village. Products used and consumed must be biodegradable or be recycled. The real estate (land) is acquired and owned by the association. Houses are built with high levels of resource- and energy-efficiency. html

# How are they financed?

Baskemölla Ecoby is financed by private funds, which are pooled for the Ekonomisk Förening.


# Which Core Dimensions of Commoning are enacted?

The following dimensions can be adressed in depth during a next conversation. - Cultivate Shared Purpose & Values - Strengthen the Nested-I - Contribute Freely - Practice Gentle Reciprocity

- Ritualize Togetherness. The annual meeting and monthly meetings currently (in 2016/2017) seem to serve as "positive meetings to ritualize togetherness." (Siri K.) The lack of informal socializing may be due to conflicts during that period, but there is apparently a willingness to have more socializing.

One of the houses of Baskemölla Ecoby. source

# Peer-Governance in the Commons

- The idea to Keep Commons & Commerce Distinct is at the core of the project; it is one of the reasons why the founders opted for an Ekonomisk Förening as a legal form. To avoid the land becoming an object of speculation, they wanted to take the real estate out of the market. They wanted to be able to build on the land, and even rent houses of flats, but own the land in common, similar to a Community Land Trust. So, individuals can own their houses but not the land it is built upon. This arrangement has been one of the main drivers of this intentional community, and was laid down in its statutes, the community's tool to Declare Shared Purpose & Values.

Advertising Phase 4 of Baskemölla Ecoby in 2017. source

- Assure Commoners' Consent in Decisionmaking. In general, deliberative democracy is preferred to representative democracy and majority rule in the ecovillage, even though there is a board - representing every community [QUESTION: MEANING THAT THE ECOBY CONSISTS OF SEVERAL COMMUNITIES?]. However, especially when dealing with conflicts of interest, "they talk and talk and talk" (Siri K.). When a family wanted to leave and sell their house, they were wishing to sell house and land, which would have required an amendment of the statutes. "They talked and talked to give everybody the opportunity to say how s/he feels about it." At a certain point the family was leaving the project without selling and the statutes remained untouched. The fact that there isn't a lot of turnover speaks for a high level of consent. - Set Semi-Permeable Boundaries. New people can join the community if: 1) there is a place available. The community doesn't want to grow or become a high-density place, so home lots are never subdivided. The maximum number of lots is 30, meaning that people can only join if others leave; 2) they are introduced to the board, which then reviews their application. Applications are also reviewed in the general meeting where everybody can participate. If there is an objection, it is discussed in the community. So, joining the community tends to be a community decision. 3) if the newcomers can pay for the lot. "Really poor people can hardly join." (Siri K.)

- Relationalize Property. Sharing land can be considered one of the key ideas of Baskemölla Ecovillage. Nobody owns land individually; it is all owned as a collective. People then rent "their piece of land" back from the association. No individual can sell any land (see inalienability). In other words, to make use of the land and to live on it one has to join the association, the single owner of the land. This has direct consequences for the individual ownership of the houses. To be clear: people own their houses. "You could roll the house away if you had a caravan. But nobody there has one." But the houses are tied to the collectively owned land and the village's infrastructure.

They tie everybody in this relation from the very beginning. People must join the single-owner-entity. (Siri K.)

If people wish to change the infrastructure -- roads, pipes, trees -- on "their" lots, they need to get approval from the association. If somebody wants to cut old trees to have a better view of the Baltic Sea, there would be a discussion with the association, whereas daily activities like planting and growing can be decided individually.

- Share Knowledge Often & Widely. Knowledge sharing is mostly informal, beyond the formal meetings and not really a conciously designed element of the process. To share knowledge about food (production), husbandry, cultivation, etc., is part of people's engagement with each other in a noncommercial way. The same happened during the construction phase. In these situations knowledge sharing is very common. "But as soon as houses are built, it is less clear. You have to find something else in common you share knowledge about." (Siri K.).

- Honor Transparency in a Sphere of Trust. The deliberative democracy approach certainly nurtures this dimension. Anyone can join the monthly general meeting (see assembly and follow what is being discussed. "We are all equal when we come to the general meeting." (Siri K.) But the transparency policies remain a bit unclear (ASK NINNI), at least in terms of how minutes of meetings are handled, how conflicts are dealt with internally, and how different opinions are expressed.

- To [Respect Human Dimensions] is a concern for everybody joining Baskemölla Ecoby. One could even say that it was one of the main motivations of the founding group. For example, people wanted their children to be able to walk to school. The first building they've built was the school - enabling people to engage with each other on their way to school without having to rely on another technology. When Baskemölla was founded the idea was to use material that can "go back into the land," explicitly trying to escape the scale of industrial and urban technologies. A basic concern was:

What can we do with our own hands and within our lifetime?

- Self-Monitor & Apply Graduated Sanctions. In Baskemölla Ecoby, deliberation is a form of self-monitoring. When one of the older members wanted to take his share out of the project and sell it outside to the highest bidder, it provoked an open conversation in which everybody expressed how s/he felt about it. That eventually led to that member withdrawing from the community without a reprivatization that part of the land. So far, no sanctions have been applied to any member of the community, which speaks to a good screening of incoming residents. Sanctions have been unnecessary because of basic Shared Purpose & Values and a group commitment to deliberative democracy. So, no formal tool has been used to punish anybody, not even for suggesting to sell the land. In a way, everyday social life serve as a kind of informal coordination and sanctioning. In Siri Kjellberg's words:

Having an open discussion in Sweden can be sanction enough.

# How does Provisioning through commons occur?

To be continued

ontological ground and political culture

# Inner Kernel

- Beat the Bounds - Establish Discrimination-Free Infrastructures - Finance Commons-Public-Circuits - Accept State Mediation & Support if Needed - Emulate & Then Federate. Phase IV of the project, driven by people from mainly cities who really "loved the project", was initially designed to be a separate organization. This would have created a different infrastructure and organizational form, to federate with. There is also the wish not to add more land to the Ecoby and more complication to the association. However, phase IV might now join the existing association... . In any case, Baskemölla Ecoby federates with other Ecovillages.

# Realms of Commoning

# Sources

Interview with Siri and Oscar Kjellberg on September 9, 2017. Consultation with Ninni Henriksson, curator of Ninnis Garden html and Cofounder of Baskemölla Ecoby Nordic Reach: Living Sustainable in Scandinavia, html

# See also List of Ecovillages in Sweden: html