Äerdschëff : A Joyful Third Space

The Äerdschëff is an off-grid building that manages its own resources to meet human needs in a resilient and sustainable way: autonomy in water, sanitation, heating, electricity and even food. The Äerdschëff is currently being built; construction is expected to be complete by winter 2021. Inspiring youngsters and adults towards taking meaningful action towards sustainability and circular economy requires an inspirational space, where they are allowed to be creative and play.

The vision of the Äerdschëff is to be a multilevel community and educational ‘third space’, and we have been involving many different institutions across sectors to build community and to work towards a regional coalition of partners that can navigate ARCS and beyond.

The concept of a ‘third space’ is a space beyond ‘home’ and ‘work’ (both of which are conflated during Corona-times), that serves as the symbolic heart of a neighbourhood/region because it is a multi-use, multi-user facility designed through holistic thinking. One aspect of the joy of this kind of space is that you may go for one reason, and end up staying longer to explore other areas of the hub to see, learn interesting, unexpected things and develop an interest to get involved or participate again.

We are currently developing the first projects (of many more, inch’allah) for the completed Äerdschëff Third Space:

Funded by a Promoting Science to the Public-Flagship Programme by the Fonds National de la Recherche, the objective of ARCS (Äerdschëff Regenerative and Circular Science, 2020-2023) is to inspire youngsters towards taking meaningful action towards sustainability and circular economy in an inspirational space, where they are allowed to be creative and play. We are developing, testing and running an immersive, transdisciplinary, hands-on, science-based, modular educational programme around the theme of resources and circular design. Our inquiry-based method presents learners with a circular design challenge that needs to be solved collaboratively. To build capacity, we are also developing a Training of Trainers to involve teachers, trainers and educators from the formal and informal sector, in order for them to be empowered to effect more in-depth systemic change at their schools/organisations along with their pupils. Our educational programmes are also fed by the data that we collect from sensors in the Äerdschëff throughout the project (temperature at various areas of the building, energy use, water use, etc.). For this project, we also hope to involve researchers and school classes to gather and analyse more knowledge about the Äerdschëff’s performance as a sustainable building.

We are also part of an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership (2020-2023) where we are part of a growing network of transformative learning and action centres around Europe. Within the project, we will develop a quality assurance system of our trainings that use locally-rooted methodologies for maximising the effectiveness of place-based learning and community engagement using tools and good practice that deliver significant shifts to low carbon sustainable living. We will also create a hybrid virtual and physical networked adult learning system for environmental and climate solutions with foundations in place-based ‘learning-for-action’. Through various events, we will facilitate, inspire and accelerate adult learning that brings about change that significantly addresses sustainability and climate issues of our time.

We are currently seeking funding for a further complementary project with a focus on ‘low-tech’ solutions to sustainability issues. For us, low tech is useful, accessible and sustainable tech. We would like to develop a programme for collaboration skills, as we believe that the issues of our time require stronger collaborative skills to solve complex issues.

Our Äerdschëff Third Space is also an amplifier and showcase for other projects and initiatives emanating from the CELL ecosystem, and for regional initiatives unrelated to the Transition movement, but sharing its spirit of joyful transformation.

We will be organising tours when the weather is nicer and Corona less virulent and we are looking forward to your visit! 

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