|2010 Village Building Convergence|
The Gladstone project was about building community with neighbors. In fact, VBC is more about creating community than projects. A strong community can co-create a city structure and relationship that respond to their needs and not that of their city officials. I was very inspired by this initiative, still small, but impressive in developing community spirit.
Four months in the planning, over 25 neighborhood projects were mostly completed during the 10-day Convergence. A lot of the projects involved natural building, like cob and straw bale, mainly benches and walls in public spaces and schools.
The Village Building Convergence is part of other initiatives such as City Repair, engaging neighbors in a collective process to design and install food forest and other permaculturally-informed landscapes in the commons. Permaculture is the conscious design of sustainable human settlements and our working relationship with nature. It is the harmonious integration of design with ecology. It is also about being local, keeping resources cycling within the system, be it backyard, neighborhood, or bio-region; and creating beneficial connections between each part.
Depave is another initiative within VBC's context. It's goal is to promote the removal of unnecessary concrete and asphalt from our urban areas, reducing storm water runoff pollution of our rivers, and increase the amount of land available for habitat restoration, urban farming, trees, native vegetation, and beauty in urban areas.
I feel my world has expanded by leaps and bounds during the last two months after Cob Cottage Company and Village Building Convergence. The immersion of natural building concepts and how it can be applied to community stirred up a viral type enthusiasm in me and hopes for better relationships in our communities and our planet. I hope to keep the momentum and the fire stoked while I figure out where is my place and contribution in this process.