Case Study: Community Resilience

For today’s case study, we’re returning to the New York permaculture design that we have already explored in previous weeks. But I wanted to zone in now on the community barn and surrounding lot. This area allows us to explore what a community needs for resilience.

The multi-function space that the community barn will provide can be used for:

  • Markets and exhibitions of produce, goods and creations.
  • Community events and meals.
  • Educational events and skill-sharing.
  • Dissemination of information on permaculture, sustainable living and sustainable farming and forestry.

An outdoors seating/ outdoors learning zone established to the north of the community barn will serve as a forum where lessons and outdoors education projects can be undertaken.

To the north of the community barn, an area will be established for farm stalls to display the produce and products of surrounding farms, and, as the project progresses, the things grown and produced on this site. 

A small demonstration garden, easily viewed from the open decking or the outdoors seating/ outdoors learning zone could be used to educate and enthral visitors with permaculture growing techniques, and to give others the skills they need to get growing themselves, at home. 

The parking lot acknowledges our current car-dependent society. But it is a flexible space that can adapt as we do. (And avoid toxic runoff.) By working from where we are, not from some imagined utopia, we can practically and sensibly more closer to where we want to be.

This part of my design allows us to explore some of the spaces and utilities that are often lacking in contemporary communities. By thinking about how we can build back in co-operative spaces for community engagement, we can begin to determine how we can move towards resilient and sustainable communities in the future.

Ask yourself – is your community resilient? What would make it more so? And what can you personally do to help enable the changes that are required?

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