Abandoned factory repurposed into eco-cooperative for bitcoin enthusiasts

Just outside Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, an old textile factory complex called Calafou, has been repurposed by about 30 bitcoin enthusiasts as a “postcapitalist ecoindustrial colony”.

It’s an experiment in collective living — a haven for anarchists and social activists who wish to live outside of the capitalist system for a little over 100 euros a month.

The complex comprises about 28,000 square meters of an abandoned textile colony. The project is an off-spring of the Cooperativa Integral Catalana, an autonomous alternative economic formation uniting hundreds of people for conducting economic exchanges and reciprocal actions and using its own currency

Calafou’s Cabaret Apocalíptico

The first thing one is struck by when visiting Calafou is the aesthetics of the space which gives the impression of a Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic scene, as many of the buildings of the village remain abandoned and half-dilapidated. In reality, however, Calafou is anything but abandoned: at the moment, the colony accommodates a multitude of productive activities and community infrastructures, including a carpentry, a mechanical workshop, a botanical garden, a community kitchen, a biolab, a hacklab, a soap production lab, a professional music studio, a guesthouse for visitors, and a social centre with a free shop.

One of its sub-projects, for example is the Collective Workshop Calafou, which is equipped with machines for processing recycled wood, iron, textile and plastic, shared among various users. Another interesting Calafou project is the Muntanger atelier, dedicated to mechanics, mechatronics, welding, hydraulic robots and various types of metal recycling. The Fundex project of Calafou, on the other hand, focuses on metal melting, using various recycled material and a smelting oven.

The Bio laboratory undertakes research in biology and chemistry, doing physical and microbiological water and soil analysis and developing a processor working on a living organism (biological slime) fed on cornflakes, rather than electricity.

From the Calafou website:

“Since its inception, the intent is to develop a network based on a network of cooperatives, individual projects and housing in a collectivised area. This seeks to facilitate the sharing of ideas, goods and resources to foster synergies in a natural way.  A place for social innovation, technology and policy based on self-responsibility and cooperation.  A project where the productive economies are in the service of people allowing their needs for access to resources and tools are not obstacles to the realization of their creative potential. How?

We have collectively acquired an industrial colony with 28,000 msq of production space and 27 apartments. It was unused and had deteriorated significantly since the factory’s closure implying a loss of industrial heritage and of the collective memory of an entire region. Its size and variety of usable space made the comprehensive cooperative fall in love with it and take it on. The formula we use for access to housing is to purchase the licensing of the use by the cooperative and productive spaces for the social rate rental services and resources are shared between all those involved in the project.”

Principles we share:

  • Self-management;
  • Assembly run processes and decision-making by consensus;
  • Ecology and Sustainability;
  • Permaculture

See full article by Natasha Bertrand in Business Insider.

See full article by Charles Henderson in Sustainable Communities.

See article by Paul Dafermos in P2P Foundation.

See Calafou website & photo credit.

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