Thursday, May 31

The Village Building Convergence

To write even a brief summary of the whole Village Building Convergence would be doing an injustice to the overwhelmingly broad experience. Therefore I will just post a few highlights of the event and invite you to visit the website to learn more.
I was privilaged to play a small part in the event this year. I spent several days before the celebration helping to setup and construct the space. There were walls to be built and painted, decorations to hang, and materials to be setup. I learned a lot about construction in this process.
The day before opening, we set up mocktails on the Burnside Bridge as a way to intice volunteers to explore the space and also to share my appreciation of folks who use community transportation (more on that later).
On Friday VBC opened to an awesome crowd, delicious food, amazing speakers, and great entertainment. There was a group there called the Sustainable Road Show which used a puppet theatre to share with people the realities of transportation and GMO based biodiesels. They encouraged people to travel by bike or at least use algae or other renewable biodiesel. I was impressed at the positive response they claim to be recieving in middle-America. This is very good news.
I also had the chance to participate in the Sunnyside intersection repair. When I say repair, I mean taking steps to mitigate the damage that standard transportation does to neighborhood connectivity. The intersection repairs were the primary sites where children could happily run around and play without being within an enclosure. It was so great to see.
On the first Sunday we took a bike tour of the close-in sites to give people an idea of where they might want to volunteer their time. Unfortunately due to the rain, and the plethora of workshops, we only saw about 4-5 sites before heading to a bio-swale workshop. It was quite interesting and I was able to share many of Portland's finest road experiences.
During the week there were so many amazing things to experience including a workshop on rocket stoves, and several great speakers.
Thanks to some fast action by one of the organizers, I was able to set up bike parking so the attendees were able to have a safe place to leave their bike during the evening events.
On the final weekend, I helped work on a cob building, and also worked on an intersection repair.
The last Sunday we held another bicycle tour of the close-in sites. Thanks to Deepak we covered 15 sites and the folks really enjoyed the experience. Ironically enough, there were a few car-dependant folks who wanted my help in giving them our route so they could drive along. I had to inform them that I specifically worked out a route which is difficult or impossible to drive along so that the group would be safe. What many folks don't realize is that the main reason that events like this exist, is becuase there is minimal connection within neighborhoods due to the unpleasant pedestrian experience. When a neighborhood is more difficult to drive through, it becomes more pedestrian friendly and there exists more human connectivity. This is the whole reason why I have aligned myself with the Village Building Convergence this year.
I welcome you to find out more about City Repair's projects and successes.