Host The Village Building Design Course
In Your City
What is the Design Course?
You can view an example with Denver, Colorado.
Content will change slightly depending on location, but primarily the students form the 'tone' of class, so the general format works well in most cities and towns.
Where has this been done?
The Design Course specifically is only now traveling out of Oregon, but Placemaking has happened in so many places. Here are a few, which represents a fraction of the hundreds - if not thousands - of projects we've heard about happening all over the world.
How Long is the Course?
Typically, VBDC is 4 days.
We've taught 1-Day introduction workshops, essentially just the 1st day of the course with a little modification. Altering the content to only 2 or 3 days is possible, if better suited to local needs.
Follow-up on the course for project support and implementation is anywhere from 6 months to a year or more, depending on the scale, what's right for the community, your timeline as an organizer, and the process of getting it approved by the city if it's in public space.
Who will attend?
The ideal student group is a mix of people already "involved" in community or sustainability work, and people who have no experience at all from around your city who live in neighborhoods. People are attracted to the work for a variety of reasons... creating asset maps, generally having better relations with neighbors, grassroots movements, turning yards into gardens, painting the street, interest in public art, emergency preparedness, community building, 'changing the world', anarchy, walkable neighborhoods, permaculture, social justice, urban planning... and on...
We can encourage people to sign up in pairs or more from their neighborhood if it feels right, but singular people taking the class works beautifully. 17 years of projects in City Repair has shown that 1 organizer per neighborhood to begin with works, as long as the organizer is committed. The neighborhood builds its own team over time, inevitably.
Everyone from traveling young adults, big city planners, stay-at-home parents, small town business owners, street artists, environmental activists, and corporate CEOs have taken this course or been Placemaking coordinators in their neighborhoods, so don't be shy about making connections to groups outside of your regular circle. Creating Places is a universal Human pattern and can be approached from many directions, and we all learn from each other in the classroom.
How to Outreach?
I encourage you to get in touch with what makes YOU excited about the course and then talk directly with relevant groups in your city -- ask if you can come make a short announcement about the class, and talk about why you're excited it's coming to town. Personal is best, and will be more fun for you. :)
Word gets out in many ways. Posters in relevant locations, in organizational newsletters, newspaper events, online calendars, tabling at events, etc - to reach a diverse audience.
Roles for You and Me
--- Modifying content to local area
--- Corresponding with local leaders as guest teachers
--- Keeping website updated
--- Managing registration
--- Corresponding with students
Create Outreach Material
--- Write ups that you will post online or in newsletters
--- Posters, flyers, Photos you will use, etc.
Working with You
--- Providing organizational support
--- Booking flights
--- Figuring out transportation: bus, car rental, ride sharing, biking, hitchhiking
--- Paying guest teachers
--- Paying the cook
--- Paying the venue (or if for free, still setting up contract)
--- Postering flyers
--- Posting to relevant online calendars and message boards (I can help with online stuff too)
--- Announcing to neighborhood groups
--- Networking to get the word out
--- Talking up the course in general
--- Keep track of your costs (printing flyers, etc) and I'll reimburse you
Finding a venue (paying is okay, we can budget for it)
--- Up to 25 people can sit in a circle
--- Enough tables for us to be in groups of 3-4
--- Place to project
--- Place to tape ot tac paper to the wall, or have an easel
--- In a neighborhood or park setting where we can easily take a walk, near a garden, park, natural area, or permaculture homestead is ideal.
--- Kitchen is helpful, for the cook, but not necessary
--- White board or chalk board is helpful, but not necessary
--- Connect the venue to me so we can set up a contract
Finding a cook (we pay them)
--- We hire as an independent contractor
--- Must have experience cooking for our group size, they plan the meals
--- Must cook with whole foods, organic if available
--- $10/person/day for less than 10 students, other prices negotiable
--- Connect the cook to me so we can set up a contract
Being my Local Liaison :)
--- Pick me up from the airport?
--- Finding a home stay for me
------- Couch, floor space, I'm pretty easy and quiet...
------- Can I borrow a bike?
------- A place for me to cook or contribute to shared meals?
Deciding the Cost
We will need to correspond directly based on the price of the venue, my travel expenses, minimum number of students, etc. Typically the course runs anywhere from $200-$400 per person, with scholarships available for anyone who wants to do Placemaking and can't afford the regular cost.
Consider hosting the course no sooner than 4 months after our first correspondence. So, if it's January, the earliest we could be in the classroom together would be April.
We should have the exact dates of the course solidified at least 2 months in advance.
The more time, the better -- more opportunities for networking and getting enough student enrollment.
Student Feedback From The Design Course