Village Building Convergence, or VBC, is a ten-day event that brings people together to create neighborhood projects that support community, either in or near the public right-of-way, or on private property. We support neighborhood projects that create gathering places, or support other community functions, such as composting, bike parking, safety, resource sharing, etc. The VBC Placemaking team acts as an institutional memory, so that cultural insights, local contacts, sources of materials, community organizing tools and natural building techniques can be kept alive and passed around. VBC sites are conceived of, planned and implemented by neighbors, or members of schools, churches, or other communities that share a place. In January, neighborhood sites declare their intention to participate. They meet together and with the Placemaking team as needed from January until VBC, either using the step-by-step process we provide, or another process that better suits their community.
VBC is an annual ten-day placemaking event that brings communities together with resources, volunteers, and local leaders in the field of placemaking and sustainability. For the last thirteen years, we have worked with hundreds of projects all over the city. Projects are conceived, planned, and created through collaborative group participation and support from our core team of placemakers. The process begins for community sites in early February and culminates in late May, when the public event takes place and all the dreams that have been set into motion become a reality. VBC include hands-on education in permaculture design and construction, ecological building, and public art. All projects are built through collaboration, community conversations and commitment of a neighborhood to strengthen itself. Everyone is invited to attend evening events at a central location, to participate in workshops or listen to visionaries speak about various aspects of sustainable culture.
VBC features projects located in or adjacent to the public right of way and private projects that support community in various neighborhoods. Private site projects will be structures or systems that are built by and available to the communities concerned with that site, and hopefully available to some extent to the larger community. These will include public squares and meeting houses, community kiosks and benches, solar-powered and artistic innovations, and many other new ideas. Each project is initiated and managed by neighborhood groups with support from the VBC Placemaking Committee. The Placemaking coordinators help neighborhoods facilitate and coordinate the outreach/public involvement process, community decision-making and design workshops, and the permit process with the City.
As the Village Building Convergence continues, we are asking our community to think about and create deeper intersections in their lives and in the world around them: How can the private and the public be effectively merged to co-create the world we want to live in? How can modern technology and traditional methods work symbiotically instead of being at odds with each other? Are the ways in which we conduct our interpersonal relationships conducive to building communities? How do we create diverse communities that support and nurture the uniqueness of each member?