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Les squires

Creating Resilient Neighborhoods

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Creating Resilient Neighborhoods

What can we do in our own neighborhoods for taking care of more of our needs closer to where we live. Food, culture, energy, water, safety/security. Of particular interest - neighborhood organizations and city neighborhood programs.

Group Type: Partnering Organizations
Members: 16
Latest Activity: Oct 11, 2011

Discussion Forum

Team Gardening

Started by David Braden. Last reply by David Braden Jan 5, 2011. 3 Replies

If you have been to our web site, you know we are promoting a permaculture gardening technique based on sheet mulching we call…Continue

World-wide exemplars and how-to's we can all learn from...

Comment Wall


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Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on December 18, 2010 at 1:03pm

You did good, Jan.  Thanks for sharing your poster.  

Creating A Safer, More Secure
And Healthier Neighborhood
This poster, will show and tell a
number of timely approaches for
making the places where we live
safer, more secure and healthier.
The focus is suburbia, home to
half of all Americans.

Given the trends in economics, the
environment, resources and culture,
more and more people are making
changes to live in ways friendlier to
people and planet and finding there
are many benefits.
Comment by jan spencer on December 18, 2010 at 12:45pm



i just sent out a message to members of this group,  i am not so familiar with the social networking, please let me know if the message arrived.

for a very concise, practical and empowering educational tool, please to to my website and have a look at the poster i made - creating a safer, more secure and healthier neighborhood.

its at the top of my home page, its a pdf you can down load.  you can also enlarge the images on your own computer screen.  also on my website, many before and now fotos of my 1/4 acre  ten year old property conversion project please let me know if you are already doing these approaches and please let me know what actions you and pals are taking in the realm of transition towns and resilient neighborhoods --- thanks much!  jan

Comment by David Braden on November 24, 2010 at 8:48am
Not sure how I missed this group when I joined Transition US. Anyway, this is exactly what I am working on and would love to share notes. I think of my work as Community Sufficiency Technology or community ownership of the capacity to produce what the community needs to thrive. You can see our work these past two years at Organic Landscape Design.
Comment by Wilma Howe-Bennett on January 31, 2010 at 11:46am
Hi, Jan:

Sadly, a lot of the murals at the train museum in Galveston were damaged when Ike hit the city. I don't know if they've been redone or not. The museum is still closed. I'll get out on Monday and see if I can find the other murals that you mentioned. I remember the one at Star Pizza, and it's still up. I'll get a picture if I can.

As for the Native Americans, I'm in contact with several of the tribal councils, all of whom are very interested in the notion of becoming completely independant of the BIA gestapo. I am not trying to tell the Native Americans what to do or how to do it - but if I can propose solutions to the myriad and endemic problems directly to the tribes, and help them get the solutions implemented, this would go a very long way towards ameliorating some of the ongoing and very real tragedies on the concentration camps . . . pardon me, RESERVATIONS .

The networks are all up and in place, and they are all working pretty well at this point. Unfortunately, the solutions have, until this time, been completely dependant on the BIA approving them and allowing the money to be allocated for them. As the tribal councils have grown in both economic clout and real political power, the BIA is becoming increasingly left behind - but it still has the power to stop a lot of the alloted governmental monies from going where they're needed. All of the reservations have police forces, emergency planning/implementation resources, volunteer fire departments, etc. Unfortunately, all of them are funded through the BIA - and, as I said, when the natives get too "uppity", funding for these and other vital programs, like the water well/water supply programs, gets either cut to the bone, or suspended.

That's why I wanted to put your essay up. Your ideas are wonderful, and would be immensely implementable both here and in Haiti. Yes, I'm working on that project as well.

Thank you for your permission.


Comment by jan spencer on January 30, 2010 at 2:12pm
hi wilma

i would not be so presumptuous to prescribe what native americans need to do

that said, we are all humans and all have the same basic needs

i think native americans should do what you and i should do, and what many are working on and many more are oblivious to, creating networks and mutual assistance connections where we live to reduce dependence on a hopelessly flawed economic system and the culture it has created

what i described in the essay is just how this can work insuburbia, my guess is, there are tools and assets on the res that could correspond to n'hood watch, emergency planning and the rest

i would not limit native americans to the list of the gov doesnt give a shit, its you and me, too. its a corporate state, half the economy exists to repair the damage caused by the other half, that is not for the people of the people,,,,,,

certainly, you are welcome to share the essay with others, just understand this is middle class sububia, but the elements here have counterparts almost anywhere

above all, we have positive human potential. a lot of this is self respect and empowerment, if people feel like they deserve better than what we have, they can do something about it, that does not guarantee complete satisfaction but it can bring about various positive results

murals, most of them were/maybe still, in the heights on i think 19th st between heights blvd and shepard, they face in different directions so a cruise in both directions would be good, i know one big one was painted over, another bit the dust with remodeling, another is in a narrow space between buildings,,,,

i also has some murals at the star pizza near whole foods, one was added above an existing mural, seems it had some dinosaurs above a flying saucer

if you do go look please take a camera and let me know and send me some pics, they all may be gone. i also did a lot of murals at the railroad museum in galveston, again, i dont know what condition they are in or if they are still visible - those all railroad related - really good

my art website is about to expire, i dont do that anymore, you can see some murals including the train museum

do you know jac batisse? she used to have a program on kpft. she's great, native american, was a housemate in the heights for a couple years, way into permaculture

Comment by Wilma Howe-Bennett on January 26, 2010 at 3:05pm
Hi, Jan:

We live in Sharpstown, and I am a member of Urban Harvest. We've been trying to use some of the empty lots here for sustainable harvesting with very little success. I've been trying to get a green business co-op started here as well, again with limited success.

Poverty is NOT a choice, it's something that is forced on people by circumstance and bad luck. This is why I was wondering if what you're proposing would work well or at all in the Native American reservations. That's a microcosm of what's really wrong with a lot of the social programs, in my opinion: lots of money, but NOT going where it should or needs to go. Native Americans all live in balance within their cultures as well as the places where they have been forced to reside, and they are as poor and as badly off, if not worse, than Haiti at its very worst - excepting, of course, after the earthquake.

There are NO guidelines for creating sustainable anything at the reservations. If there's been any progress, it's been in spite of the BIA and the FedGov, believe me.The FedGov has ZERO interest in the Native Americans getting ahead of the BIA, or getting out from under the FedGov programs. I'm in contaqct with a couple of NA tribal councils right now, and we're discussing the best ways to do exactly what your essay suggests. I HOPE that you don't mind my using your essay to get my point across - you WILL be given credit for the ideas.

Where are your murals located? I'll go and see if they're still up.

Thanks for the essay, by the way.


Comment by jan spencer on January 25, 2010 at 9:25pm
hi wilma

very good question, and coincidentally, i used to live in houston, in the heights

you can probably still drive around central houston and see some murals i painted

i am certain variations on creating neighborhood resilience are applicable anywhere, actually, its a natural part of human culture, its just in more modern times, we have been able to "afford" to be slack, convenience and affluence do not go well with functional neighborhoods and communities

not to say poverty is the choice either, i think its our task to take the best of what modern technology and science has to offer, ditch the rest, and redefine our priorities to live local, healthy and cooperatively.

thats a tall order, our culture has lost much of those skills as many have pointed out - and experienced first hand. what we are looking at in terms of global trends is already telling us, make a lot of smarter choices with how you take care of your needs

its more rediscovering what community and cooperation is rather than inventing it, actually, there are many wonderful traits that human are capable of manifesting, its just that our entertainment/born to shop/sleepwalking way of life gets in the way.

so that brings us to all kinds of ideas and approaches to rediscover the good stuff we are all capable of

i suggest reading this essay on my website

its called creating resilient neighborhoods, complete with fotos

do you know bob randall in southwest houston - he was converting his ample suburban property in a permaculture model over 20 years ago - this is a big chunk of it for suburan people

in haiti, native american reservations and elsewhere, its a different variation, i am not familiar with poverty, but i bet there are many programs that do try to create a version of community resilience that fits those situations, again, a great question, would be good to talk with people familiar with those places to see what they would say///

Comment by Wilma Howe-Bennett on January 25, 2010 at 1:27pm
Hi, all:

How well do you think this would work in places like the Native American reservations and Haiti? I'm trying to set up a green business co-op specifically designed to building and rebuilding neighborhoods.

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