Commons Josaphat, To Do The City (Of Brussels) in common !

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Original published on Commons Josaphat. Translation by Nicole Leonard.

Commons Josaphat is an independent platform of residents, activists and associations. You have heard talk of it as one of the flagship European initiatives for the reconquest of the city by its inhabitants.

Commons Josaphat needs support from commoners to assert the work that has been accomplished over the course of the last 2 years with the public authorities in Brussels.

Show your support by sending your message directly to the collective.

The common good neighborhood project

Commons Josaphat wants to build a proposal for the development of the city as a commons on the vacant lot of the former Josaphat training station. A new part of town will be developed there in the coming years. The challenge is to transform this piece of land, which is public property, into territory where a city for the common good can be started and established, a city district imagined and developed through partnership between the public authorities and the citizens. Our proposal, the results of two years of exchange and reflection in common, is summarized in this document.

Commons Josaphat today

The collective continues to work in three main ways:

Effective occupation of the lot with other partners aiming to “make” this city as a commons, to immediately occupy its squares and spaces by using them. The agreement which places usage limits on individuals in order to preserve others’ use and access is an innovative first experience in the field for a new governance;

Development of an “example island” of commons. This island should shape the city in common (through accessibility to the largest number of people over the long run, collective decision-making on land rents, environmental integration, promotion of the solidarity economy and open source, inscribing values of health in the design of the city, anchoring in local neighborhoods…) But it must also be realistic about the needs of public authorities (revenues generated, realization times and amounts realized). This island should serve as a point of evaluation that follows the issuing of the first phase of the master plan for the region;

Building broad political conviction

  • 1. Strengthening social support to the “Josaphat in common” proposal: support of associations, academics, intellectuals, unions, mutual societies
    2. Strengthening cooperation with local residents to involve all those concerned in this part of town today
    3. Improving conventional political support: obtain the support of PS, MR, ToT, Ecolo, PTB and CDH and their Dutch counterparts at regional and municipal levels.
  • Here we reproduce their call

    You’ve heard of Commons Josaphat over the last two years, as they’ve been organizing action with partners – by participating in the call for ideas for the future development of the area or through the working groups themselves.
    Maybe you practiced fallow during the current summer festival or are participating in conferences organized around the possibility to construct the city as a commons.

    Today we want to shed light on these examples of support, convergence, and cooperation around the production of the city as a commons, and give it weight in public debate!

    What can you do?

    To show your support:
    Send an email to:

    Associations like BRAL, Pass-âge, RBDH (Rally for the right to housing), les Equipes Populaires de Schaerbeek, and SACOPAR (Health community participation non-profit association) have already done so. Academics such as Christian Laval and Tine de Moor have too. This support will be documented on the Commons Josaphat website and will support the proposal in public debate.

    To participate in the construction of knowledge on the commons to be diffused to the city level of production, send an email to:

    To get involved and work concretely with the project for transforming the lot into a common good, come to the lot the coming Sundays (7 July or 8 August), to the next general assembly on the 28th of August, or sign up on the list-serve:

    We count on your response from now until the 28th of August, the day of our next general assembly. We invite you there to declare your support during the aperitif planned at 19:30 (7:30pm)!

    We’re hoping we can count on your participation.