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Broader COMMUNITY forum might be valuable

 
pollinator
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I realize there is an Intentional Community forum here - and one on Transition Towns. I've been living in rural communities, both intentional and conventional, most of my ife. I lived on shared land for five years, and I've visited successful intentional communities for as long as a month at a time. When intentional community works out, it's a great thing. But most people interested in Permaculture will probably be putting down roots in the more mixed, casual, even 'haphazard' rural communities that already exist all over the map in the industrialized world.

How about a forum here at Permies.com simply on community? The focus could, of course, take rural, town, suburb, or urban form. We'd then have a place to discuss to the attempt to work creatively (or at least co-exist in a friendly, peaceful way) with our neighbors and community. A big topic - as I can assure anyone, from decades of experience.
 
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So, maybe something about getting along with neighbors?
 
Joel Bercardin
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paul wheaton wrote:So, maybe something about getting along with neighbors?


Hi. I think topics like that could be included in it.

I think of my 'neighbors' as being within, say, a 20-minute biking distance. But the community is a fair bit wider radius.

There might be mutual advantage to people (permies and non-permies) getting to know one another through community functions and organizations. A lot of "newcomers" in my area have become acquainted or formed friendships through the volunteer fire department, or the schools (both public and alternative schools), annual fall fairs, etc.
 
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I think there should be several subs:
--urban community
--suburban community
--rural community

Each of these has slightly different tactics when it comes to interacting with those around them. For instance, urban communities are often divided into areas with distinct personalities and more people are likely to "think outside the box" or be part of the "creatives". Urbanites also have to work within city government structure and contend with public utilities and services.

Suburbanites might find themselves dealing with restrictive HOAs/CCRs and need to find ingenious ways of working around these.

Rural folks probably have far fewer restrictions but might need to cooperate with neighbors work on becoming more organic, sharing large machinery, etc.

When I designed my own site and others in my mid town urban setting, I design it with the community in mind. All of my projects (it's actually a requirement of mine) have to have some element of community interface - whether it's solving a flooding issue, installing a Little Free Library, or posting signs on plants and inviting people to walk the front yard. Community building is critical for urban permaculture to take root. Some day, permaculture will be as invasive as Bermuda grass (damn zombie grass!) in Phoenix!
 
master pollinator
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My community is a bubble about 100 yards in diameter, that travels with me, wherever I go. It also includes those within 10 ft of a computer.

The vast majority, are not going to pack up and move to a community with a theme. We will continue to live in the wide world. I don't see regular towns, cities and countryside as lacking in community. For those willing to take the time, my city offers thousands of social possibilities and the choice to join or not join, without having to worry about expulsion or being ostracized for having a lifestyle that's not a good fit.

I think most stuff on the forums, can be useful, no matter what your living arrangements. Specific community events can be posted on the regional forum. Things specific to small farms can go there.

One important quality of living in a regular town, is that most people that you meet, will not have a great deal in common with you. Information exchange in this environment, is much more interesting than situations where you're preaching to the choir.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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I don't necessarily think it's the traditional social opportunities that we're speaking of - at least I'm not. I'm interested in impacting my urban environment on a fairly broad scale, much as Brad Lancaster has done in Tucson with his "urban reforestation based on water harvesting infrastructure" and "promotion of edible native desert plants". Brad also has a community washing machine on his property that he repurposes the greywater from as well as a community bike repair area. That's what I mean by urban community - how do we build this into the fabric of our existing experience. Of course, social events can be powerful too but they tend to be ephemeral. I'm talking "lasting change towards sustainability".

 
Dale Hodgins
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We have dozens of these little libraries. This one goes through 100 books per week. Boxes of books can be dropped off into the carport. The lady restocks daily. There's an online map, sponsored by the public library. You can keep the books or return them to any of the others. This one is in an area with tourist traffic, so some will take their treasure and a picture home with them. In speaking with several hosts, I learned that some learned about it from a newspaper article. Others visited existing libraries and talked to the owners.
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Joel Bercardin
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There's a guy named Gary Snyder. He's well-known in bioregionalist circles - a long-time environmental activist, rural/forest homesteader, long-published poet, and like that. I remember reading an interview in which he made the distinction between "your network" and "your community." He said the network consists of people who share your interests and agree with you on many things. The community consists of the people who live around you - maybe 10 sq miles or more; they do not always share your personal values or agree with you on everything.

He was not referring to the online communities that we form, but the flesh-and-blood ones occupying physical space.

The sort of rural community I'm thinking of, for example, tends to respond to calamity or acute need. For instance, I remember getting a phone call early one morning - in the days before we had our volunteer fire hall only five miles away - to come help fight a fire on a farm. My wife and I got dressed and drove about four miles and took up the hoses and shovels to fight a fire burning a mid-scale barn, and so had maybe 10 other people... most of whom we didn't know personally.
 
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Joel Russ wrote:There's a guy named Gary Snyder. He's well-known in bioregionalist circles - a long-time environmental activist, rural/forest homesteader, long-published poet, and like that. I remember reading an interview in which he made the distinction between "your network" and "your community." He said the network consists of people who share your interests and agree with you on many things. The community consists of the people who live around you - maybe 10 sq miles or more; they do not always share your personal values or agree with you on everything.

He was not referring to the online communities that we form, but the flesh-and-blood ones occupying physical space.

The sort of rural community I'm thinking of, for example, tends to respond to calamity or acute need. For instance, I remember getting a phone call early one morning - in the days before we had our volunteer fire hall only five miles away - to come help fight a fire on a farm. My wife and I got dressed and drove about four miles and took up the hoses and shovels to fight a fire burning a mid-scale barn, and so had maybe 10 other people... most of whom we didn't know personally.



Your example is exactly the rural community/small town community that comes to my mind in this discussion......flesh and blood folks in real time, dropping any differences to help out in a crisis...and Gary Snyder is a very favorite poet of mine
 
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I kind of think the city repair sub-forum covers what you seek, even if the topics are not part of something literally called "city repair" or even a city for that matter.

 
Joel Bercardin
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I kind of think the city repair sub-forum covers what you seek, even if the topics are not part of something literally called "city repair" or even a city for that matter.


Thanks. I suppose that eventually a rural homesteader, new to Permis.com, might stumble onto that fact. But due to the forum's title, ...

Also, if the topic is how your neighbor's (or your) cow or goat has wandered across a fence and eaten the garden over there, would that be a "city repair" topic?
 
paul wheaton
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Maybe "city repair" needs a subtitle of "urban neighborhoods" and then we add two new forums "suburban neighborhoods" and "rural neighborhoods" ??

 
Dale Hodgins
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Enhancement might be a more suitable word, instead of repair. I live in a nice city that isn't broken, but there's always room for improvement.
 
gardener
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Maybe we could change the name of city repair to "Community and city repair", and include "city repair" as one of the options and rural and suburban as other options.
John S
PDX OR
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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To me, Transition Towns and City Repair are specific, albeit overlapping, movements. I guess when I think about community I want to know what I can do as an individual to enhance the community where I live. Mind you I often come together as a group, too (neighborhood cleanups, potlucks, activism regarding outside threats such as pollution/noise/slumlords, etc). I don't see these actions as necessarily the main goal of either Transition Towns or the City Repair movement.

I guess what I want is just a simple place to talk about community without associating it with a "movement" per se.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Here's a for instance: Where would I discuss the social network Nextdoor.com and how it works to enhance community? For instance, by using the "Nearby Neighborhoods" feature - my neighborhood has banded together with surrounding neighborhoods to:

--successfully lobby for a local asphalt recycling company to clean up its act and get new scrubbers for their plant.
--brought in national representatives from the FAA in order to address concerns about flight path changes over our neighborhoods
--quickly capture mail thieves who were stealing checks and SSNs
--returned dozens of pets to their owners and found homes for dozens of abandoned animals

and on and on.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Jennifer, we salute you. You may be the busiest community volunteer I know of.
 
John Suavecito
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Jennifer,
I think those are examples of what city repair does. You alter the arrangement of the neighborhood/city, then people are neighbors and communicate, and then you work together on tasks such as these.
John S
PDX OR
 
paul wheaton
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:To me, Transition Towns and City Repair are specific, albeit overlapping, movements.



So, maybe we need to add three forums:

urban neighborhoods
suburban neighborhoods
rural neighborhoods

And some threads might appear in three to five forums and some threads will appear in just one or two forums.

??
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Jennifer, we salute you. You may be the busiest community volunteer I know of.



If I worked on these alone - I would have died of exhaustion years ago! Fortunately, where I live is FILLED with activist types and Nextdoor.com helps us all communicate and get the word out. ....oh and we saved a Historic WPA Art Deco building too

John Saltveit wrote:I think those are examples of what city repair does. You alter the arrangement of the neighborhood/city, then people are neighbors and communicate, and then you work together on tasks such as these.



I can see an argument for that. However, I feel like City Repair is more about physical "place making" (which is cool and which Phoenix needs a LOT of).

paul wheaton wrote:So, maybe we need to add three forums:

urban neighborhoods
suburban neighborhoods
rural neighborhoods

And some threads might appear in three to five forums and some threads will appear in just one or two forums.



I have to admit that that would work for me. I don't know about anyone else though.

 
Judith Browning
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paul wheaton wrote:

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:To me, Transition Towns and City Repair are specific, albeit overlapping, movements.



So, maybe we need to add three forums:

urban neighborhoods
suburban neighborhoods
rural neighborhoods

And some threads might appear in three to five forums and some threads will appear in just one or two forums.

??



I like those three and would add 'village neighborhoods'. I think in the US a village is considered anything under a population of 500. I think 'village' would also work better internationally. I don't think very small towns/villages fit under rural..... some rural neighborhoods have a nearby small town/village but not always.
 
paul wheaton
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My concern at this point is adding threads to these forums.

Are there books out there where we could do a book promotion and get these forums off the ground?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Off the top of my head, I don't know any books per se. Another thought is to have a contest where people vote (thumbs up) on their favorite post in each category and the winner gets...a book, deck of cards, 5 apples? Notoriety? A personally signed scrap of an old pair of your overalls?

See - this is where the digital bumper stickers would come in handy. A "Super Permie" overall icon could be awarded to the winner and show up in their signature.

Although I do like the idea of a "ready for framing" scrap of overalls...
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Here's what I feel is a perfect post for the "Rural Community" forum: http://www.permies.com/t/39708/plants/Dan-Boone It's stuff like this that really gives permaculture some velocity.
 
Judith Browning
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I wonder, if since the heading for this group of forums is 'communities' if it would be just as clear to have sub forums be 'urban' 'suburban' 'village' and 'rural' rather than 'urban neighborhood', etc? or does 'neighborhood' communicate a slightly different idea than 'communities'?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Judith - I like your idea.

Perhaps we can rename the Transition Town and City Repair forums "Transition Movement" and "City Repair/Placemaking"

Thoughts?
 
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Shall I go ahead and set these up? And rename Transition Towns and City Repair?

I also offer to take on "urban"

 
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Shall I go ahead and set these up? And rename Transition Towns and City Repair?

It sounds like a great solution to me
 
Judith Browning
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paul wheaton wrote:My concern at this point is adding threads to these forums.

Are there books out there where we could do a book promotion and get these forums off the ground?



could someone suggest search words to try to find some books? I keep ending up with inappropriate books popping up.....like 'best small town to retire to' or something more related to real estate. Using 'urban communities' or 'rural neighborhoods' doesn't seem to hit on the right books and just the single word is too broad.
 
Judith Browning
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other than replacing 'town' with 'village' I think Joel had it in his first post....

How about a forum here at Permies.com simply on community? The focus could, of course, take rural, town, suburb, or urban form. We'd then have a place to discuss to the attempt to work creatively (or at least co-exist in a friendly, peaceful way) with our neighbors and community. A big topic - as I can assure anyone, from decades of experience.



the already existing 'communities' forum with subs for 'rural' 'village' 'suburbs' and 'urban' sounds good to me.


Perhaps we can rename the Transition Town and City Repair forums "Transition Movement" and "City Repair/Placemaking


I like this too.............although I was already a little muddy on what 'transition town' and 'city repair' meant in the first place. I am not very familiar with those movements.
 
paul wheaton
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Shall I go ahead and set these up? And rename Transition Towns and City Repair?

I also offer to take on "urban"



We need to leave "transition towns" and "city repair" these are specific movements.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Well I haven't been getting thread notifications for this thread so I just saw the messages above.

I'll set up "urban", "suburban", "village" and "rural" under Communities.

Paul - my reference to changing the names of Transition Towns and City Repair was this:

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Perhaps we can rename the Transition Town and City Repair forums "Transition Movement" and "City Repair/Placemaking"



In fact, the Transition Movement prefers the term "Movement" over "Towns"

Books for these forums:
Transition Towns: The Transition Handbook; The Transition Companion; The Power of Just Doing Stuff
City Repair: Placemaker Guidebook
Urban (community): Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide
Suburban (community): Food Not Lawns
Village (community): not sure
Rural (community): not sure
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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OK - I set up urban, suburban, village and rural under "Community". I didn't change the name of Transition Town or City Repair - I await Paul's OK to do that. I think the renaming I suggest above does add some clarity.

I am the mod of "urban".

Made Judith the mod of "village". Judith - if this is not ok - you know how to undo this. (or ask and I will undo)
 
paul wheaton
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I still think those two forum names are optimal as is. If you still think it would be better to change them, then I would like to ask that you start a new thread here in the tinkering forum and we can talk about your ideas.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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I'll leave the other two as is for the moment - thanks!

One other question. I know we have "urban" under growies and now "urban" under communities - will that cause any glitches in the software or SEO?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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um - for some reason "village" and "rural" defaulted to HIDE. I changed them to SHOW. So you should now be able to see them under the main Community forum.
 
paul wheaton
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:
One other question. I know we have "urban" under growies and now "urban" under communities - will that cause any glitches in the software or SEO?



It should be okay.
 
paul wheaton
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I don't like seeing forums with less than a dozen theads.
 
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