Cheap land available in Portugal: commoning or exclusion?

By Marta Nieto Romero (in collaboration with Alessandro Vasta) The other day I had an interesting conversation with my colleague Alessandro Vasta touching on the issue of Northern Europeans buying land in Portugal to set up sustainable projects. It made me think a lot on why am I suspicious about it, and we made interesting … Read more

Permaculture Design Course experience in Southern Portugal

Within the context of sustainable place-shaping, rural development and bottom-up initiatives, I went to follow a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) in a rural area in Southern Portugal. Permaculture is derived from ‘permanent agriculture’ and ‘permanent culture’ and is based on holistic design in order for people to live harmoniously in nature and provide all their … Read more

Learning the Language of Story

The Call for Adventure Once upon a time, in a galaxy not so far away… Actually in this galaxy. On this planet, in fact. Right over in a picturesque Dutch city called Utrecht… A gang of six intrepid wannabe earth warriors/ sustainability researchers*, gathered to learn how to wield a secret power (well, maybe not … Read more

Help us harness the power of storytelling!

Do you believe in the power of stories and images to communicate sustainability science? We are asking for help to realise a SUSPLACE children’s book for sustainable place-shaping! Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain something to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” In the field of sustainability science, we often face … Read more

People make places

“People make places”. With this sentence the journalist of Click, a Portuguese radio program from the national radio Antena 1, introduced and tried to summarize SUSPLACE and what we are doing regarding sustainable place-shaping practices, initiatives, values and local resources. During less than five minutes, Elisabete Figueiredo explained what SUSPLACE is about and highlighted the role of … Read more

Managing forests collectively in Galicia

Do you know what happened to historical commonlands in Europe? Before the 18th century many of our rural areas where managed directly by communities. Today, many of these historical commonlands have been taken by the state, are privatised or abandoned. To show what’s happening in a community in Galicia, Spain, I made a short video (above). … Read more

A trip across Galician territory: building the rural and the commons

By Marta Nieto Romero On the 26th of November I attended a collective hike in Galicia (North West Spain). Organized by the Commons Study Program they invited members of Ergosfera, an association of architects, who guided us in an amazing trip throughout the rural space of Galicia under the lenses of: Commons, Feminism and Rurality. … Read more

“Common-tryside”: revitalising the Portuguese countryside through commoning forests

By Marta Nieto Romero “Para lá de Marão, mandam os que lá estão”- “At the other side of Marão, govern those who are there” (traditional Portuguese saying) Last week, Elisabete, Sandra and me crossed the recently inaugurated tunnel of Marão to meet with BALADI, the national federation of common lands of Portugal which is located … Read more