City Repair: Reclaiming Urban Spaces for the Public

Local Leader City Repair

Local Leader City Repair

Local Leader: City Repair — Building Sustainable Communities

For a few years now, we’ve all heard the locavores’ cries of revitalizing our communities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing local food. But the move toward localization doesn’t only center around sustainable chow. Enter a new breed: City Repair seeks to reclaim urban spaces for public use and create sustainable, empowered communities.

According to their website: “City Repair began in Portland, Oregon with the idea that localization – of culture, of economy, of decision-making – is a necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our local culture.”

But what does that mean in practical terms?

City Repair Reclaims Public Spaces

“Intersection repair” is one of the concrete approaches that City Repair takes to the broader goal of what they call “placemaking”. Converting intersections into public spaces–instead of tributaries for motor vehicles–creates a locus for community interaction. Projects like these are conducted with the input of the neighbors to fashion an aesthetic, community-building project out of consensus. Those who live in SE Portland are doubtless familiar with this City Repair reclaimed intersection in the Belmont district:

City Repair Reclaims Belmont Intersection

City Repair Reclaims Belmont Intersection

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. City Repair also coordinates a 10-day long “Village Building Convergence” community development and hands-on activism festival, the installation of trees and permaculturally-designed landscapes in public spaces, and the removal of unnecessary pavement, among other things. To learn more about City Repair and its activities, visit the City Repair website.

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