Transforming Spaces Into Places
with the help of our neighbours, we can make our dream communities
From an ignored, down-and-out, fragmented neighbourhood grows an urban spiral garden, a greenhouse, a mural of all the flags of the neighbourhood, a zip line, a swing set, an soccer field emerge. Through the power of playing together, using our hands, building on the dreams of the youth to find the visionary collective community dreams the wildest of transformation becomes possible.
WHAT IS THE OASIS GAME //
The Oasis Game is a tool that promotes civil mobilization for community transformation. It is based on the methodology from Elos Institute in Brazil to awaken and enhance communities through rapid and high impact actions.
The belief is that a community can work together in a cooperative, imaginative and rapid way to build, in 2 days, a modern oasis: a physical space that promotes life, joy and restoration.
Social technology invites the community to design and cooperatively build an ambitious project of the residents choosing according to their needs – such as a public square, a park, a day care center or a cultural centre.
What makes it an interesting model?
This model is an appreciative, creative, hands-on approach to awaken community interest and spur collective visioning into tangible action days of physical place-making. The Oasis model incites diversity, mass participation, ownership, excitement and a long-term sense of believing in changing your own reality, in community relationships, empowerment and entrepreneurship.
- Hands-on work with communities to build playgrounds, community hubs, stages, develop public services and beyond
- Dream and plan collectively with innovative co-operative games and storytelling
- Build it together :: many people are involved in the physical building – together through sweat, tears, and laughter communities are bonded
- Philosophy based on Abundance Theory :: resources are available, it takes the right set of eyes to see it
- Starting right now :: the time to transform the world is now
- Learn by doing :: confidence in the learning that is born out of action
TRANSFORMING A NETHERLANDS NEIGHBOURHOOD //
In De Klein Verld first the children arrived and they came in droves, collecting stones, picking up trash, digging up weeds, making paths, and beginning the spiral herb garden. They meticulously painted a mural of the flags of the community’s residents on a blank wall considered ‘the most dangerous place in the community’. Many adults remarked they never knew the neighbourhood has so many children. One child enthusiastically boasts,
We’re making a playground of old stuff and we’re nearly finished making a football field and a swing from an old tire.
Three girls were singing while painting a dark and dirty tunnel. In painting a colorful mural of flowers and plants, the passage quickly transformed into a bright gallery of magic.
Young and old, black, brown, and white, everyone seemed infected with the Brazilian optimism. As Moroccan women pulled a stubborn stump out from the ground she remarks that the men from the mosque are supposed to maintain the garden. In an area where she used to feel unwelcome she has committed to maintaining the vegetable and herb garden and to cooperate with a group of women from Somalia, Turkey, and Pakistan. They seem motivated by the fact that they can reinvent this spot into a key public space for the whole community while providing nutritious vegetables for their families. A Dutch and Nigerian woman with green thumbs already have the new greenhouse built from recycled materials under their wing.
As inspiring as this has been it doesn’t surprise me so much as furthers my faith. I strongly believe that everyone has the urge to contribute to something larger than themselves we are just waiting for the right opportunity to believe it is possible. Through working on hands on projects collectively diverse groups are reminded of what is possible when they start cooperating to create their common dreams – it may actually come true!
Brazilian fire has been lit & celebration tops it off!
As the weekend’s work in the De Klein Verld wrapped up it had to end in typical Brazilian form with a decent celebration – this one Oasis style packed with local talents and donated food. People danced and sung in a large circle on the street, kids played soccer in their newly created nets, and Alonso strums the guitar. This community has certainly been ignited with the Brazilian fever.