A Place for Sustainable Living hosted Festival of the Commons, a neighborhood place-making block party in the Golden Gate District of Oakland on November 9, 2013. This celebration on about three blocks of closed-off streets, featured multiple on-going projects open for public involvement such as urban garden installations, up-cycling recycled materials into the building of public mud-packed cob bulletin boards and benches and various public art projects to name a few.
Other participatory activities included workshops for Tai Chi, juggling, lassoing, bicycle repair, survival skills, gardening, composting, rainwater harvesting, children’s recycling crafts and more. Featuring an eco-carnival atmosphere, entertainment at the festival ranged from local musicians, a magician, ventriloquist and puppet show, eco-centered carnival games, funky bicycle showcase and raceway, along with other local artists, performers and vendors. Furthering the communal message through food, a booth of potluck dishes offered various home cooked items, brought and shared among the neighborhood participants and attendees.
The overall theme of the day, and the collaborative street mural, was “Declaring Peace Through All Our Relations” as a declaration against Oakland homicides. Among the organizations working with A Place for Sustainable Living were St. Columba Church, Planting Justice, Rock the Bike, Rebuilding Together Oakland (RTO), Spokeland, Phat Beets Produce, Grid Alternatives, Actual Cafe, Youth Spirit Arts, and San Pablo Avenue Golden Gate Improvement Association (SPAGGIA). All were involved in facilitating the festival for the promotion of sustainable living practices to empower action in partnerships and community.
Place-making is about enticing active participation in the shaping of public spaces through building community and advancing the social, ecological and economic assets of specific locations into a collective and active vision of neighborhood transformations.
Has a neighborhood near you hosted any place-making events and if so, how has it shaped your local community?
Credits: Images by Gina Kiani. Data linked to sources.