Rural Coliving Innovation Exchange: Anceu to Alpiness

Recently, we’ve had the chance to visit our friends from Alpiness Coliving in a p2p exchange of the European Creative Hubs Network called Rural Coliving Innovation. This unique experience allowed us to share our insights, expertise, and experiences as operators of rural coliving spaces with our Swiss counterparts.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey from the serene landscapes of Anceu Coliving to the breathtaking Swiss Alps at Alpiness Coliving. Together, we explored the intricacies of rural coliving, created stronger community bonds, immersed ourselves in the natural beauty of the Alps, and collaborated with locals to envision the future of communal spaces.

Our friends Ben and Fabienne from Alpiness Coliving have had a special relationship with Anceu Coliving. They’ve not only been colivers here for a combined total of over seven months but have also actively participated in our rural hacking workshop held in March. During their stay, they formed a unique bond with the community and even welcomed a furry family member, Winchy the dog, into their lives, adopting him while residing in Anceu. Their familiarity with our space and their passion for rural living made their participation in this exchange even more enriching, as they brought a wealth of shared experiences and insights to the table.

Program main objectives

Our primary objectives for the Rural Coliving Innovation Exchange between Anceu Coliving and Alpiness Coliving were to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experiences gained from operating rural coliving spaces, with a focus on addressing the unique challenges and opportunities present in rural settings. During the exchange, we also worked towards strengthening the bonds between colivers and the local community, fostering engagement and mutual learning. Collaboration with the local municipality and the coliving community in Alpiness was a key goal, as we explored the potential for a coworking space within a public building. Lastly, we aspired to inspire and initiate innovative projects that would benefit not only the coliving communities involved but also the surrounding regions, promoting sustainability and community growth.

Our exchange with Alpiness Coliving was a captivating journey of shared learning, community engagement, and rural innovation. Upon our arrival in the Swiss setting of Alpiness Coliving, we were greeted with open arms and warm smiles. The day was marked by settling into our newfound surroundings and establishing connections with our fellow colivers. As the day transitioned into evening, we gathered for a heartwarming welcome dinner and talks after in the living room.

Alpiness Coliving living room

The beauty of the Alps

Our second day of our exchange was marked by insightful discussions and knowledge sharing. Anceu Coliving took the spotlight, sharing our experiences and challenges that come with running a rural coliving space. We talked about most of the projects we have been doing in the past years, with both Anceu Coliving and Rural Hackers. The exchange of insights continued as we learned from the experiences of our Alpiness counterparts. In the afternoon, we engaged in a workshop focusing on sustainable practices in rural coliving, exploring innovative approaches that could benefit our respective communities.

A pivotal day in our exchange unfolded as we started to engage with the local community. Meetings with the Mayor of Evolène and Marlene, a key figure in the local community known for her impactful projects, were enlightening. These connections opened doors to potential collaborations that could benefit both the coliving community and the local region. Our visits to Marlene’s initiatives and the Marie Metraller Museum, one of the first feminist figures in the valley, deepened our appreciation for the culture and heritage of the area.

Marie Metraller museum

Final event of Rural Coliving Innovation Exchange: Anceu to Alpiness

In our last day, we organised a final event with locals. This event was the grand finale of our exchange, a day when lots of ideas, energy, and a common vision for a lively rural community space came to life. It wasn’t just a gathering; it was a teamwork session led by both locals and colivers. More than 15 people participated, each with their own take on rural living and a strong passion for it.

The event had a clear goal: to gather everyone’s thoughts and creativity. We split everyone into four groups, each focusing on an essential part of the project: events, partnerships, facilities, and location. This way, we could cover all the important aspects while making sure we got diverse perspectives. The event’s style was quite innovative too. Every ten minutes, the groups shifted between topics, so each person could give their input on all parts of the project. It was all about working together to solve problems and build a vision, showcasing the power of community-driven projects.

After the brainstorming sessions, we all sat down for a meal, enjoying Swiss food and cheese together. It was a perfect ending to a day full of ideas, dreams, and common goals. It wasn’t just about planning a space; it was about creating deep connections and starting a shared journey for a brighter future in the Swiss Alps.

Final event of Rural Coliving Innovation Exchange

Final thoughts

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Ben and Fabienne for hosting this incredible program at Alpiness Coliving, and to the European Creative Hubs Network for making this exchange possible. This enriching experience has strengthened our commitment to rural innovation and community building. Thank you for helping us expand our horizons and for being part of our journey towards a more vibrant rural future.

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