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2008, Living Mandala
creative services by: 360 Degrees

In Association With

Planet Repair Institute




Mark Lakeman

& Special Guests

Course Overview

The places where we live will be as fulfilling and abundant as we decide. Though much appears out of balance on our path to resilience, we actually have all that we need to transform the conditions of our lives, to repair, rebalance, and restore the our neighborhoods, towns and cities where we live. This on-line course is for any person who wants to inspire and guide their own community to create places for gathering, localized food, energy, and water systems, invisible structures that sustain collaboration, and community-based visions for reconsidering and repairing every scale of community habitat.

Course Description

Over 50% of the world's population now lives in urban centers and the number is growing. Adopting strategies to meet our needs in a sane and ethical way is critical. In this workshop, we will learn how to design and implement strategies which can transform your life, your neighborhood, your city, and the world!

This workshop will present urban permaculture strategies that anyone can use to transform their local and regional circumstance. From inspiring participation by local communities to engaging elected leadership and bureaucracies, we will provide experienced insight about how to increase cultural development and creative activity while diminishing ecological impacts. We will refer to various City Repair-style project initiatives that have been successfully tested in the field. These will include Intersection Repair street transformations, Block Repair retroactive village-making on typical semi-urban blocks, large scale simultaneous local activations such as the Village Building Convergence model, as well as ephemeral interventions that are celebratory and socially based. We will look at the big picture that you can affect at the local scale, and then drill down into details about how to organize people and implement projects while having the time of your life!

Each session in the series will begin by introducing the content, and then we will engage dialogue on the subject. We will always close with next steps for series participants to undertake before the next session so that they can report in. Each session concludes with an assignment, usually concerning observation or action related to the topic of the day. It could also include drawing, design, or technical exercises.

Session Dates & Times

6 Sessions, Wednesdays (bi-weekly), July 31 - Oct 9, 2013

3:30 p.m. San Francisco • 6:30 p.m. New York

  1. July 31 - session 1

  2. Aug 7 - - session 2

  3. Aug 21 - session 3

  4. Sept 11 - session 4

  5. Sept 25 - session 5

  6. Oct 9 - session 6

City Repair & the Village Building Convergence

City Repair is an organized group action that educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live. City Repair facilitates artistic and ecologically-oriented placemaking through projects that honor the interconnection of human communities and the natural world. The many projects of City Repair have been accomplished by a mostly volunteer staff and thousands of volunteer citizen activists. 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. Their projects include the annual Village Building Convergence, where people gather at neighborhood sites throughout Portland to engage in intersection repair, natural building, and other forms of placemaking.

Intersection Repair

Intersection Repair is the citizen-led conversion of an urban street interesection into public square. Streets are usually the only public space we have in our neighborhoods. But most all of them have been designed with a single purpose in mind: moving cars around.With an Intersection Repair, that public space is reclaimed for the whole community. The intersection of pathways becomes a place for people to come together. The space becomes a Place – a public square.

How do you create a public square out of an intersection?

The community works together to make the place special. They make it a place where people want to go to, where they feel safe and welcome. They make it beautiful and interesting. They make it meaningful, an expression of their own local culture.

Is it just painting the street, or something more?

Each Intersection Repair project is the work of neighborhood residents. It is the people who live in the neighborhood who decide that they want the public square, what it will look like, how it will function and how it will develop. One neighborhood may paint a giant mural on the intersection and stop there. Another may go through many phases: painting the street, installing a community bulletin board, building a mini-cafe on a corner, reconstructing the intersection with brick and cobblestones, opening businesses to make it a village center… and on and on!


For questions and more information regarding the course

e-mail: education(at) or

call: (707) 634-1461

To Register for the Course Click Here.


Tuition & Registration

Village Builder - $195 (Stand in your abundance and support the true cost of this course and this good work!)

Standard / Supplemented - $129

Early Bird - $99 (available until July 17)

  1. *There will be a small registration fee in addition to the above prices.

To Register for the On-Line Course Click Here.

Recordings Available! Start Anytime!

Can’t make all the dates, or joining late? No Problem! Each session will be recorded and will made available for participants to review afterwards So if you sign-up late, miss a session, or just want to review one - you can at anytime.

On-Line Course? How Does it Work?

In this on-line course format, you can participate by calling in from your computer (like a skype call) or by calling in from a phone. You can connect via a computer via internet to a live virtual classroom hosting a live webcam of the instructor, chat, notes, screen sharing, whiteboard, and many other features which we will utilize throughout the course.

Redesigning the Commons Weekend Intensive With Mark Lakeman: Oct 24 - 26, 2013

Want more? Join us for an in person weekend intensive with Mark lakeman on Re-Designing the Commons at the Venture Greenhouse in San Rafael, CA, Oct 24 - 26, 2013. For More Information & Registration Click Here.

The Colonial Grid - What’s Wrong With This Picture?

In 1785, the Continental Congress passed the National Land Ordinance, which laid a Roman colonial grid over all lands west of the Ohio River. This included all future cities and towns. Public spaces and piazzas occur naturally at the intersection of pathways when communities are allowed to grow organically. The National Land Ordinance both pre-empted the natural development of such places and neglected to provide for them within the mandated grid.

In cities based on the grid plan, it is much easier for people to feel isolated and not know their own neighbors. The neighborhood places for communication and gathering that develop naturally in non-grid cities must be specifically planned for in grid cities.

Placemaking - the Alternative

Placemaking is a multi-layered process within which citizens foster active, engaged relationships to the spaces which they inhabit, the landscapes of their lives, and shape those spaces in a way which creates a sense of communal stewardship and lived connection.  This is most often accomplished through a creative reclamation of public space: projects which take the form of benches on street corners where neighbors can sit, rest and talk with each other, kiosks on sidewalks where neighbors can post information about local events, needs and resources and street paintings in the public right-of-way that demonstrate to all who pass through that this is a Place: inhabited, known and loved by its residents.  In all instances, these projects are undertaken by local communities who come together to discuss what it is they want in their neighborhood – what elements are lacking in the public sphere and how the community can work together with the resources they have to create their own place.

Placemaking touches upon deeper societal issues and contributes to participatory democracy. As the process of developing a community place proceeds; people develop deeper relationships and more energy to create together because they live together. Creating a common ground that transcends the differences among people powerfully addresses this isolation and creates an environment where people feel like they can do anything they set their collective minds to.

Major Elements of Placemaking:

Natural Building: The essence of natural building lies in its
inherent emphasis on environmental preservation and social sustainability.  Natural building is a method of construction based in using minimally processed, natural materials that are available locally.  The techniques for most natural building methods reflect the materials themselves in that they are simple, low-tech and ecologically sustainable.  Natural building employs a sense of the human-scale and isn’t dependent on expensive, energy intensive, high-tech equipment.  Natural building materials have low toxicity, are low-tech and local, making them great tools for teaching communities the synthesis of building principles in sustainability and social empowerment.

Permaculture: Permaculture is the conscious design of
sustainable human settlements.  It is also about being local: shepherding the resources that enter a place; keeping them cycling within the “system,” be it backyard, neighborhood, or bioregion; and creating beneficial connections between each part.  Community and a sense of place can only be created by the people who dwell together and who have real stake in creating a home.

Public Art: Artwork in our neighborhoods can also create a
strong sense of place, whether it is a mural, a sculpture, temporary art such as chalk drawings or functional art pieces like benches or lampposts.  Public art presents an opportunity for a neighborhood to tell its history, express local culture and have a fun project for anyone to get involved.


Redesigning the Commons

Urban Transformation, Placemaking, & Village Building

On-Line Course With Mark Lakeman & Special Guests

6 Sessions, Wednesdays (bi-weekly), July 31 - Oct 9, 2013

3:30 p.m. San Francisco • 6:30 p.m. New York

Mark Lakeman

Mark is a national leader in the development of sustainable public places. In the last decade he has directed or facilitated designs for more than three hundred new community-generated public places in Portland, Oregon alone. Through his leadership in Communitecture, Inc., and it’s 501©3 affiliate The City Repair Project, he has also been instrumental in the development of dozens of participatory design projects and organizations across the United States and Canada. Mark works with governmental leaders, community organizations, and educational institutions in many diverse communities.

Mark Lakeman is the co-founder of the non-profit placemaking organization The City Repair Project, and principal of the community design firm Communitecture. Mr. Lakeman has taken on the role of creative urban place-maker and community design facilitator in his commitment to the emergence of a sustainable cultural landscape.  He seeks to make every design project one which will further the development of a community vision, whether it involves urban design and placemaking, ecological building, encourages community interaction, or assists those who typically do not have access to design services. His leadership in the City Repair Project has benefited communities across the North American continent including cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Ottawa where City Repair Projects are underway.

Stories of Mr. Lakeman’s projects have been told widely, including in such publications as Dwell, Architecture Magazine, New Village Journal, Yes magazine, and The Utne Reader. With City Repair, in 2003 Mark was awarded the National Lewis Mumford Award by the international organization Architects & Planners for Social Responsibility for his work with Dignity Village, one of the United States’ first self-developed, permanent communities by  and for previously homeless people.

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