100 Possibilities of the Community: Metaverse, Community Business, Residents’ Co-creation | Dialogue with He Jia, Big Fish Construction

Shanghai’s 2035 urban master plan clearly proposes to create a “15-minute community life circle”.

In addition to being used as a secret place for residents to enjoy the shade and children to play, the air-raid shelters in the city that have been idle for many years, can their space value be effectively utilized?

Can young people who have just arrived in a big city live in the community and connect with the city?

Can those “disappearing neighborhoods” be permanently marked through the Metaverse or new technologies?

These propositions, which are closely related to cities, communities and people’s lives, have been brought into reality step by step. The Dayu Community, which has been active in Shanghai Xinhua Road Street for many years, has built a development center, planned the block publication “Xinhua Lu”, and held four beautiful community festivals.


Xinhua Lu

They have launched many participatory community activities, such as the ” One Square MeterReconstruction” activity, dozens of groups of residents’ proposals, and ten groups have finally landed; for example, during the epidemic, a Xinhua volunteer car with 120 people was formed; another example is going online in the Metaverse Got an exclusive volunteer NFT badge.

The agency has also been invited to many other streets to support community building efforts. They launched a “Community Participation Museum” in Hongqiao Airport New Village, and transformed the bomb shelter in Xianxia New Village, Changning District, Shanghai into a “Leisure Cooperative” – ​​with studios, book bars, coffee shops, and community public living rooms. Functional space…


free time co-op

From designing spaces to neighborhood planning to resident co-creation activities, community-building agencies are changing the face of some of the city’s basic living units. For example, Chengdu started community building in 2016 and invested 1.5 billion in 2018 to support community building. Another example is Shanghai’s focus on the 2035 urban master plan, which clearly proposes to create a “15-minute community life circle”.

In fresh cases from all over the world, in addition to living places, the concept of community has been reinterpreted and expanded. The crowded and noisy vegetable market, the park that is frequented for strolling, the newly opened cafe on the street corner, and even the idle air-raid shelter, all have the effect of “creating”. of infinite possibilities.

Anthropologist Xiang Biao once proposed the disappearance of “nearbyness”: the neighborhood and community space as a place of daily interaction disappeared in the narrative of young people.According to He Jia, founder of Big Fish Construction, the ordinary and real “nearby” in the community constitute the most solid foundation of life.

Compared with hardware space transformation, the important proposition of community building is how to inspire local residents to develop the community in a creative and participatory way, so as to better live in the community. He Jia believes that the protagonist must be the resident who is most closely related to the community, and people are the endogenous driving force of the community. “All discussions ultimately point to the people and lives in which they live.”

Involving residents in community activities is not an easy task. How can residents’ co-creation experiments be carried out? How do Metaverse’s NFT badges relate to real communities? To what extent has the community building agency made a difference in the community? With these questions, 36氪 chatted with He Jia.

Q: In recent years, community building is gradually being seen. What stage do you think the development of community building in China has reached? What is the role of community building agencies?

A: It should still be in the exploratory period. Although community building has become an (easy) accepted discipline in recent years. In fact, there are not many institutions that really invest in community building through organization. The demand is high, and the supply side is relatively weak.

When a community is “redecorated”, it needs to participate in a series of community building work, such as research and visits, preparation of plans, renovation of spaces, organization of activities, and maintenance of the community. Communities themselves have sustainable creativity and vitality.

Although in this process, people, space, money, resources, and vitality are all important, the most important thing in community building is to be able to form a mechanism of self-governance and co-creation.

Big Fish has also been trying to expand the extension and connotation of community building. In fact, Big Fish’s team has two roles. One is the role of professionals. Our team includes planners, architects, interaction designers, etc. The inter-professional identity allows us to go to various communities from a professional perspective.

Another role is that of local community building organizations. Local organizations need community operations that continue to operate local relationships, which means not only doing professional work, but also de-professionalism.


Beautiful Community Festival

Q: What is your ideal community like? What is the point of community building?

A: In addition to the 15-minute life circle in which a good community meets the living facilities, it also needs to consider the consensus of public interests. For example, people actually want to know what is happening in the community, the flow of information concerning public interests, the mutual use of resources between residents and the community, and so on. This is a very high standard and means that residents truly have the power to change the community.

In such a situation or vision, localized network relationships are particularly important. The community is growing and our issues are constantly changing. In the first two years, we renovated a small plaza on Xinhua Street, and the surrounding people participated, but everyone had their own demands, and a hundred people had a hundred hearts.

Space renovation is only a very short moment in the life cycle of the community, and a lot of soft work needs to be paved to accompany it.

Later, Big Fish slowly started to do community activities and accumulated a sense of identity.Community magazines, child -friendly activities, second-hand markets, photography exhibitions, etc. are the work that surfaced. The work of “underwater” is to continuously chat with more people, weave local relationship networks, and promote people cooperation with people.

Now we consider that the community should have a better local economy, where there is soil and opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.


Kids Explore the Neighborhood

Q: Many of Dayu’s community practices are very “localized”: magazines with residents as the protagonists, one-square-meter block design with residents’ participation… How difficult is localization and co-creation by residents for community building?

A: When you continue to operate locally, questions and answers will continue to be unearthed and solved. People will find that it is not so difficult to meet people, and there are so many interesting people living here. It is not so difficult for ordinary residents to participate in it and find a role that suits them.

At the Beautiful Community Festival last year, a group of artists living on Xinhua Road performed the original song “Fahua Town” belonging to this neighborhood. At that time, the performance space was on the side of the street. The elderly and children, the owner of the deli, and people passing by stopped to listen. Many people even cried. This was writing their own songs at their doorsteps.

Big Fish did not intend to hold Fancy and Internet celebrity-style events. It’s getting harder and harder for that kind of influencer-style stuff to keep moving the same group of people. The essence is to shape a sense of community identity and to allow residents to actively participate.

If you want to make the community sticky and have a sense of identity, it is best to empower them and let them have some endogenous motivation. This is what I have said most to enterprises and governments. Long-termism is not a sentiment, it is an inevitable choice.

Q: Why do you want to be a Metaverse community?

A: The reason is that there is a very real community first, and then there is the possibility in the Metaverse.


Team badge

Together with Sun Zhe, a sociology researcher, the initiator of comudao, and Yuy, the founder of the Xiaohonghua badge open source protocol, we developed the small program comupage, in which you can receive volunteer NFT badges.

Everyone can accumulate different NFT badges through real participation and actions. There are many possibilities for badges, which can be used as proof of community identity, can commemorate an event, can be transferred, and may also be combined with barter and gift economy. Neighborhood merchants exchange for a cup of coffee, a bowl of flour, or a local magazine.

In addition, there is the same logic online and offline. Centralization of (rights) is impossible for a real community. Decentralized logic and ability to gather energy and disperse are the resilience of the community. Metaverse fits this point. With the help of NFT badges and Web3 technology, it is possible to ensure that this information is cross-platform and immutable. Maybe one day “Metaverse community building” will also become possible.

Q: What is the project of Big Fish Construction to accomplish, and are there any specific goals? How do community building organizations “make blood” to make money?

A: This year is the fifth year, and Big Fish still hasn’t made any money. However, when Big Fish enters a community or place, one of the goals is to leave the “seed” of a community development organization to the local area when we withdraw, and it can operate independently and commercially.

this point is very important. Every project needs to find a sustainable operation. If you don’t find it, you might feel like the project isn’t done.

“Idle Down Cooperative” is an attempt by Big Fish to operate independently and commercially. This was originally the civil air defense basement downstairs at No. 25, Lane 700, Hongxian Community, Xianxia Road, Changning District. Dayu transformed this 1,100-square-meter vacant space into an activity center with 36 independent rooms for movie-watching, reading, parent-child Parenting activities, handmade sweater shops, and coffee shops can all be carried out here, and most of the managers are community residents.

During the preliminary research, the team asked the young people what they wanted to do in the community, and the answers they got were that they had no time, no time to spare, and had to sleep on weekends… When the question was changed to “what do you want to do in your spare time”, the brain hole became clear. opened.

The earliest cooperation stemmed from the government’s investment in renovations, but after the third year, the government did not receive a cent from the government. At present, this space is operated by the co-governance mode of the managers. The manager of the space pays management fees and service fees every month, and everyone negotiates the governance of the space, the use of resources, the design of activities, and the possible benefits of space operation. distribute.

Q: Is it important for young people to participate in community building or “see” the community?

A: Young people who come to big cities still need to find a connection point with the city. It doesn’t have to be the skyscrapers of the Bund or Lujiazui, it can be the community in which you live.

It’s not just old people chatting and mothers with children who appear in the community. Universal and participatory activities can make young people realize that these things are related to their own lives. Participating in community activities can also become a way of socializing .

The community is the meta-unit of the city, with a complete network of relationships, as well as idle space resources, and there is no shortage of entrepreneurial opportunities. Understanding the community is valuable to any business model.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/100-possibilities-of-the-community-metaverse-community-business-residents-co-creation-dialogue-with-he-jia-big-fish-construction/
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