New Village Press and Arbor Café Present the Insurgent Learning Series!

April 25th, 2012

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— Laura Leone @ 11:54 am



New Village Press and Arbor Café Present:

Insurgent Learning Series

Dialog for the Occupy Spring



New Village Press is proud to partner with Arbor Café to present the first in the Insurgent Learning Series: Dialog for Occupy Spring!

Please join us on May 15 at 6:30 pm at the Arbor Café, located at 4210 Telegraph Ave (between 42nd St & 43rd St) in Oakland, where activists Francisco “Pancho” Ramos Stierle, Adelaja Simon, and Reverend Phil Lawson will discuss “The Ahimsa (R)evolution: Ways to Disobey with Great Love.”

Reverend Phil Lawson is a veteran Civil Rights activist who serves on the Organizing Committee for the National Council of Elders. As a community organizer, Phil has been engaged in issues concerning immigrants, human and sexual freedom, a just wage for workers, and economic development. He has been hosting a study group on Nonviolent Social Change with interfaith ministers of Occupy Oakland.

Adelaja Simon stopped cooperating with business school to become a permaculturist. He lives in the Canticle Farm community in East Oakland, where he knows, grows, and loves local food and is an extraordinary singer and vegan cook. Adelaja focuses his activism in human rights, environmental regeneration, restorative justice, peacebuilding, urban agriculture, and a vibrant gift economy.

Pancho Ramos Stierle (and Adelaja, his housemate,) were arrested November 14, 2011, during the police raid on Occupy Oakland, while both were meditating. Raised in Mexico City, Pancho came to UC Berkeley to study astrophysics in the PhD program but stopped cooperating with the university when he realized his research was supporting an institution that actively proliferates nuclear weapons. He faces a deportation hearing this May and brings unique views about his own arrest and the Occupy movement.

— It is time to disobey with Great Love. Do it beautifully and be informed. —

Fruit of the School Gardens: The International School Grounds Alliance is Born!

April 24th, 2012

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— New Village Press Team @ 2:08 pm

In the fall of 2011, New Village was the proud cohost of Engaging Our Grounds; a conference in San Francisco that celebrated the growing movement to enliven school grounds around the world. We are so proud to share this video of highlights from the conference with you, coproduced by Erika Brekke and conference director Sharon Danks, author of Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation.

We’d also like to share the exciting news of the brand new International School Grounds Alliance. From the press release:

New international group forms to address an increasingly sedentary and risk-averse generation of children disconnected from nature.

Growing school grounds movement gains international voice with formation of The International School Grounds Alliance.
Berkeley, California (April 24, 2012) – Organizations working to enrich the lives of children through outdoor learning and play have a new global school ground network where they can turn for ideas and support.

Leaders in the school ground movement from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States have formed the nonprofit International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA) (, which brings together a wealth of experience in the fields of school ground use, design, education and management around the globe. The ISGA invites likeminded organizations and professionals to become members and collaborate to nurture and grow the international movement to help schools make the most of learning and play opportunities on their grounds.

“Children around the world, growing up in very different environments and cultural settings, all need engaging childhood learning and play experiences for healthy development and enjoyment,” says ISGA co-founder Sharon Danks of Bay Tree Design in California. “The ISGA is not only a resource, but is also a call to action for teachers, parents, and students to go outside, improve their school grounds and explore the world first-hand.”

The ISGA believes that school grounds should:
* provide powerful opportunities for hands-on learning
* nurture students’ physical, social and emotional development and wellbeing
* reflect and embrace their local ecological, social and cultural context
* embrace risk-taking as an essential component of learning and child development
* be open public spaces, accessible to their communities

The ISGA does this by:
* focusing on the way school grounds are used, designed and managed
* facilitating a dialogue about innovative research, design, education and policy
* fostering partnerships between professionals and organizations across the globe
* organizing international conferences, gatherings and other programs
* advocating for student and school community participation in the design, construction and stewardship of school grounds
* promoting the value of enriched school grounds as uniquely positioned, engaging environments for children

We are honored to have played a supporting role by cohosting the conference and of course by publishing Sharon’s book, Asphalt to Ecosystems, and hope you will join us in congratulating her and spreading this important message.

Community Built Association Conference Coming Up!

April 20th, 2012

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— New Village Press Team @ 9:15 am

New Village Press is a publisher, sure, but we’re also about supporting causes we believe in. Our books speak to and about these causes, and our authors live these causes. Sharon Danks, author of Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation will be at one of our favorite conferences about one of our favorite causes, community engagement, in May and asked us to spread the word. There is still time to register!

Community Built Association 2012 Conference, May 30–June 2 in Portland, Oregon!

The Community Building in the Urban Village conference seeks to expand and deepen the practice of community engagement through the lenses of art, play, nature, and the built environment. The conference is intended for anyone who is interested in engaging their community in collaborative works—from experts in the field to those exploring this way of working. It’s a place to share ideas, learn from each other, and get inspired to bring community building to your own city and neighborhood. The event will include engaging speakers, hands-on workshops, and tours of Portland’s fantastic community-built spaces. Come join us in Portland, Oregon, from May 30 to June 2, 2012!

The 2012 CBA conference will feature discussions about community-engaged architecture, landscape architecture, and planning from amazing teachers and practitioners:

Steve Badanes is widely known for his practice and teaching of design/build. He is a founding member of the Jersey Devil design/build practice and is currently a Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington.

Mark Lakeman is founder of Communitecture, and has been a leader in galvanizing a movement of community place-makers through his work with the City Repair Project.,

Mikenko Matanovic is the founder of the Pomegranate Center, which works with communities to create beautiful gathering places in a true participatory practice.

Gwynne Pugh’s Urban Studio specializes in urban design, planning, sustainability and consultation and is responsible for facilitating the park featured in the award-winning documentary The Park that Kids Built.

Daniel Winterbottom is a distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, and focuses on creating healing/restorative landscapes through participatory design/build.

Many sessions will focus on schools, parks, and other environments for children and will feature some amazing presentations that address the use of community engagement to create and enhance children’s play spaces:

Sharon Danks & Lisa Howard, principals of Bay Tree Design, are trailblazers in the green schoolyard movement. They will showcase examples of green schoolyard transformation around the world and talk about their firm’s work to engage school communities through an in-depth participatory design process that empowers parents, school staff, and students to work together and become stewards of their shared environments.

Tom Arie Donch has been creating sculptural play environments for thirty-two years: from public parks, playgrounds, and skate parks to public art, monuments, nature trails, children’s’ hospitals, and interactive museum exhibits.

Rusty Keeler, author and founder of Planet Earth Playscapes, will lead a hands-on workshop to transform the outdoor play area at the Mt. Tabor Preschool.

Mike Lanza, author and founder of Playborhood, will examine the state of free play in our neighborhoods, share examples of successful neighborhood “hang-outs”, and talk about how to create a more playful urban environment.

More information is available at:

Please help us spread the word by forwarding this announcement! Thanks!

Katherine Ball
Co-coordinator, CBA 2012 Conference

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