Open Space - Green Building in Ithaca, New York

Todd Saddler Laurietodd at
Sat Feb 17 12:03:27 PST 2001

Posted by Todd Saddler
Laurietodd at


My good friend, John Engle, suggested that I subscribe to the OS listserve.
John exposed me to Open Space Technology as he as promoted its use for our
work with Beyond Borders in Haiti.  I participated in 3 or 4 of our annual
meetings that used Open Space, and was pleased with the results.

Now I am living in Ithaca, New York, and am called to practice and promote
sustainable living here in the USA. Based on my experience in Haiti, I am
convinced that the typical American lifestyle is a part of the burden on the
backs of the poor throughout the world, and is harmful to the environment.  I
am trying to stimulate the creation of a business or organization which will
provide green design and building services in this area.  It think that an
Open Space conference would be a great  way to bring together people who
would be interested in collaborating with me on this project.

While I have participated in Open Space meetings before, I have not yet
facilitated one.  I have a general feel for the principals and procedures,
and have downloaded a few documents from the internet.  I have also ordered a
copy of Harrison Owen's book on "Spirit" from my local bookstore.

If anyone on the list serve has advice or suggestions, I would appreciate
your help!

Below is a copy of the latest version of the invitation.

You are invited to an Open Space conference on the theme:

Building for Sustainable Living:  Making it Available

Our society defines us as consumers and makes it relatively easy to live
comfortably in ways that degrade the environment and exploit other people.  A
few committed nonconformists are able, with difficulty, to create
alternatives to the status quo, and thus provide a good example. But what
about the rest?

A growing number of people aspire to live sustainably, but are unable to
strike out on their own and do it.  The time is ripe for those who have the
skills, experience, vision, and commitment to come together and create ways
to make sustainable built environments a real, available, affordable option
for everyone whose conscience causes them to want it.

Open Space

Open Space Technology, developed by Harrison Owen, is a method for organising
a self-managed meeting or conference where participants create their own
programme of work sessions. In these simultaneous sessions people discuss
their concerns, explore issues and opportunities and find new ways forward.

An Open Space event brings people together, often in large numbers and
representing great diversity, to contribute their views, share their ideas
and develop plans for creative and collaborative action. The output of an
Open Space conference is a set of written reports, one for each session,
usually with action points.

This text is from, where you can find much more
information about this exciting new organizational tool.  If you haven't
participated an Open Space yet, it will be worth your while to come for this
reason alone!

Where: The Common House at Ecovillage Ithaca.  Please park in the visitor
parking area or
along the road, but not in spaces near houses.
When: Saturday, March 10th, 2001, 1PM to 5PM, Potluck supper to follow.

Cost: Free to the people - there will be a dish to pass supper.   If you are
able to bring a laptop computer, that would help us get the report out more

If interested, please contact  Todd Saddler 269-0587, LaurieTodd at  We
need to  have an aproximate idea of how many people are likely to come.

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