Support City Repair’s Village Building Convergence 2014 (Portland, Oregon, USA)

City Repair is an organization that uses permaculture, natural building and art to catalyze grassroots sustainable culture-building or ‘placemaking’. Placemaking inspires creativity. Inherently, architecture, landscape, and nourishment are interconnected and all needs are met for all on Earth. By reclaiming and creating common gathering spaces for neighborhood communities, a village is born. Isolation encouraged by the colonial urban grid and profit-driven real estate corporations is reversed and our social ecology begins to regenerate. People find connection, realize their power and work to create resilient communities. Together we build beautiful places for people and plants. City Repair has facilitated over 350 placemaking sites in the Portland Metro area. The majority of placemaking sites were designed and manifested during the annual 10-day spring festival — the Village Building Convergence.

Village Building Convergence

In its 14th year now, the Village Building Convergence fosters community resilience by sharing resources to attain appropriate city permits, donated building materials and plants and community organizing skills necessary to orchestrate urban permaculture and placemaking at multiple scales. This nurtures the inherent leadership of every participant who collaborate with neighbors, volunteers and the local ecology to transform and reconnect with place. VBC organizers work hard for months in advance to offer nourishing food and inspiration at a central venue to connect placemakers to a city-wide web of change agents.

Neighborhood block repair

Over the years, the size and scope of each placemaking site has varied; from large intersection murals to a small cob benches and curbside plantings. Jim Forestal mobilized his neighbors to ‘repair’ his intersection last year and the change he has noticed is tremendous. “It has completely changed the dynamic of the space. It used to be a place where old Christmas trees would end up. Now it is a point of pride with everyone.” People passing by in their car or bicycle stop and take pictures. Jim and his neighbors look forward to continue working together. “The best thing,” Jim added, “is the way a project like this can bring all the people in the neighborhood together to do something that they all want to do and they all feel some sense of ownership of the painting, the intersection and the neighborhood.” And so begins a remembering of how to live indigenous to place.

Our need, your opportunity!

One of VBC’s biggest challenges is to intentionally scale our capacity to facilitate the growing demand for placemaking mentorship in Portland and across the nation because currently our successes have far outgrown our capacity to support the work we love and want to see more in the world. As City Repair has been an entirely volunteer-led endeavor, organizing a 10-day festival is a huge undertaking in addition to facilitating a growing number of placemaking sites (VBC 14 mentored 40 sites in Portland) to manifest their neighborhood visions. Slowly but surely, city, county and other government and non-profit agencies are recognizing the potency of placemaking and we are being increasingly approached to mentor a variety of projects in new and exciting fields including restorative justice, public health and diversity, inclusion and equity.

Abundance from scarcity

For these reasons, this year we decided to begin actively fundraising to continue to grow what is easily the largest urban sustainability/permaculture gathering in the United States. On April 15, 2014 we officially launched our Indiegogo campaign to help us raise $19,000 for VBC 14 by June 5, 2014. Here’s the link to a video with a brief overview and glimpse into the re-emergence of the village in Portland, Oregon.

Join the Village this year!

It takes a village to build our village and unleash the power of people and place growing together. So please share this information widely with your web of relations!

Whichever way(s) you choose to contribute — kind thoughts, monetarily, and/or by forwarding this message with your networks — we acknowledge you as a vital member of our village and extend a warm invitation to help us build the village. Share this with like-minded organizations including non-profits, government entities, funding groups and individuals. Make a donation in exchange for some special VBC gifts. Plant the seed of the Village Building Convergence far and wide so that we can grow a sustainable future together.

Ted Swagerty, Ridhi D’Cruz & Mo Lohre
On Behalf of the 2014 City Repair/Village Building Convergence Team

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