< Lightfoot
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Transcript of discussion at the T-house late afternoon Monday 23 November.

Lightfoot. 6 participants.


Jurien: So far I understand that Lightfoot is a network of boxes. I want to do more with this. I want to hear about experiences: where are the boxes now? Answer: there are 4 boxes. one in Berlin, one in Amsterdam, one in Milano, one in Vicenza.

What is the Future of Lightfoot? where do we want to go with it. Do we want a website? Well, there are boxes so we can see where the boxes are. Ability to make sometime this week maybe?

Pavlik wants to know who started this idea. Who is responsible for it?

It started in Febr 2009. A mailbox was created and the philosophy was written down. New letters were written, and people took their oath to deliver the letter. So far more than 30 letters have succesfully been delivered.


The philosophy can be summarised in these 3 elements:

  • Writing letters
  • New connections are made
  • Sustainable philosophy

Comment from Pascal; there was a lightfoot box in PV house but we were never really told about this philosophy. It is great to hear this.

What are other reasons why you would like to use Lightfoot?

  • Decrease of cost,
  • Making sure letters are delivered in far away countries

Skillsurfers tour/ Sam We were touring through many countries/ alternative places and communities with our tour. We had a similar idea for an exchange system for resources between these places: an alternative delivery and transportation system. These were a lot of places travelers went to. We had a lot of ideas about this, we did it ourselves with our bus, or we saw that people were doing this naturally. So we had an idea of creating a better system for this.

Robin: In Amsterdam/ in the 80s in the squatting scene there was also an alternative postal system put in place. To deliver tools, packages and letters from one squat to the other, or one place to another.

Paul, France: Some friends and I are ready to create mailboxes in Slovenia, France, Portugal, Spain, but I would suggest, before the project gets any bigger, to change its name to something in Esperanto. Because it just fits the philosophy of bringing people together, and so that it bears a name in a culturally neutral language. What do you think?


What is the potential of a project for this?

  • To undermine the current postal system?
  • To set up alternative structures?
  • Just creating a great way of connecting between us?
  • It is fun!
  • How can this fit in the idea of Nomadbases?
  • Setting up boxes where?

Letters can also have more boxes. I have a letter that goes Amstserdam to Australia. I can wait for someone to travel all that way. Or we can have someone who travels to Viena, and drops it in the mailbox there. At the same time, a story gets attached to this letter (a hitchhiking story and the people this person met) and someone bikes from Viena to Istanbul and brings the letter, and it goes from there further to Mumbai and so on. This letter is not anymore just a letter that you wrote, it is attached to many, many stories.

Transfer of goods

  • Self-made jam
  • Self-made soap
  • exchange between different nodes within the network.

With a website we can also track these letters and the stories

  • different nodes of boxes
  • location update of letter
  • attach stories to a letter
  • tracking code on the letter
    • for serious tracking
    • Is this the original intention?
    • idea: start with 1. then 2. and likes this we know actually how many letters there are. Can be a start but also an art-project.
  • we have domains already.
  • we can also make a map
  • Trip-planner integrated with lightfoot trip-planner. Not as a first stage but def. something that could work

Main focus for now:

  • to increase the quantity of boxes.
  • Make people write more letters

Lightfoot is easy to do. just create a box. and a post next to the mailbox to explain what it is. We don't need a website for this, but what would be nice is a map where you can see the mailboxes, plus the letters inside the boxes. The website is secondary to the creation of mailboxes and spreading the idea.


Lightfoot is also about responsibilities. The deputy who has responbiliites to deliver the letter and take care of it.


Ok - let's summarise these brainstorms into actions.

  • Write down philosophy
    • done but we can adapt the original posting and make it more digestible
  • How to create your own box/ tool box? > Toolbox

Two ways of exanding it

  • create critical mass
  • open for everyone to start one?
  • doesn't happen by itself without critical mass
  • needs to be explained what it is


  • trust level of boxes
  • places that might disappear soon?
  • performance of mailboxes?

Nomadic mailboxes

  • Can be set up at different places where travelers gather. For example she, rainbow.


How would a toolbox look like?

  • A manual of how to make a box
  • There are different boxes you could make
  • people could share the way they build their box
  • sheet with info on philosophy
  • could be delivered by a deputee

Places where we can build mailboxes?

  • Give away shops/ food kitchens
  • make workshops on festivals
  • delivery local/global
  • local mailboxes, global mailboxes. 10 local boxes in Berlin, and 1 global/ international one for a city?


No defined way of transportation. But they can be written on the envelop. No airmail for example. or, it cannot be delivered with a motor vehicle. Idea: Different icons or stamps :)

Important on places where boxes are, different ways of registering the letter on that box. There might be one person to take care that everyone knows about it, and makes sure that it gets uploaded on the website. A Local caretaker so to say. Each person takes responsibility to register a letter at the website etc. But maybe one person forgets, so there should be a designated careperson/ contactperson? Description of caretaker needed.

Divided by countries. No, let's make our own zoning! Per node/ big city, with smaller places around it. It would work automatically. You want to know where the closest lightfoot box is, that one is in your zone. Caretakers are responsible for their zone? (this is getting a bit burocratic now ;)) E.g. I am going to Russia, there is nothing there yet. I can create a zone there.

Writing letters is part of the philosophy.

Action plans

During the conference

  • Everyone has to make one letter.
  • Make toolbox.
  • Further discussion about website
  • Great for workshops/// to get practical and do something real.
  • Make a website this week.
  • Write down requirements
  • Design architecture
  • Actual implementation
  • Track letters.

This sounds really good.

Task list

  • Need to communicate to everyone, u need to write one letter (Jeremie)
    • sheet paper with explanation
  • We need a mailbox (Elf Pavlik)
  • Make Website (Jurien)
  • Make toolbox (Sam)
    • Short adaption of philosophy.
    • Description what this is about.
  • We need material (Pascal)
    • paper, carton, pens, how to make your own envelop. Description how to do it.
  • Add minutes on wiki (Robin)
  • Write at least blogpost about goals/ action points (Robin)

Other tasks:

  • Make sheet of paper that can be downloaded/ included in letter
  • Logos?


  • Letter writing workshop during the weekend.