Selected and Annotated Bibliography and Websites

 

Alexander Christopher, et al. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, and Construction. Oxford University Press, 1977.

Alexander believes that by focusing on the impacts on human life, we can identify patterns that are independent from changing technology, and thus find a "timeless quality." At Windekind we have always been interested in seeing the farm in patterns. When walking about the farm it is easy to see outdoor space as if it were organized into rooms, like rooms in a house, each area with its own distinct character and therefore purpose that can be translated into patterns.

For example, across the meadow from the farm there is a small open glen near a brook and bridge looking out on the meadow. People always gather there summer and winter in a very predictable patten that tells us a lot about how this space should be used.  We also find a timeless quality to many parts of the farm, the original farmhouse for example, after heavy renovations 15 years ago, now seems to be on automatic pilot with little need for major changes especially its aesthetics and overall presentation, this is timeless architecture.

 

Alexander Christopher,The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe (Volumes 1-4) Berkley California Center for Environmental Studies,2003-2004.

After twenty-five years of thinking about how the quality of life emerges in our world Alexander has coalesced his thinking into four weighty volumes. The work is dense, but simple, philosophical yet practical. For example, Alexander believes that there is a process of creating "life", which is an evolutionary process. Complex systems do not spring into existence fully formed, but rather through a series of small, incremental changes. The process begins with a simple system and that incrementally change over time while each change preserves the structure of the previous step. This is the heart of the creative process that we envision at Windekind, build what can be from what is.

 

Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck. Suburban Nation, The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, North Point Press, 2010 (tenth anniversary edition)

Suburban Nation is a powerful manifesto that gives a very substantive voice to the growing initiative in North America to find an end to suburban sprawl and replace the automobile-based settlement patterns of the latter part of the twentieth century with a return to more traditional community and housing principles like those found in  the rural village of Vermont. This book offers tangible solutions along with much food for thought that informs and fits the direction of thought with Windekind and the Town of Huntington.

 

Bill McKibben, Deep Economy, the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, Henry Holt and Company, 2007

Bill Mckibben, well known for his writing and social activism on Global Warming, also promotes, as part of the solution, “sustainable economies in close knit communities.” which is exactly what we are trying to achieve with our project by local grown  food, energy, culture, and entertainment.  McKibben suggests that the focus should be on "deep economy", which includes, rather than constant growth, a major consideration of human satisfaction.

 

Christian, Dianna Leafe, Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to grow ecovillages and Intentional Communities. Gabriola Island, B.C. Canada: New Society Publishers, 2003.

Practical information for establishing and sustaining communities including sections on interpersonal and leadership issues, decision making and profiles of model communities.

 

Graham Meltzer, Sustainable Community, Learning from the Cohousing Model, Trafford, 2005

This book develops the link between “sustainability” and “community,” one cannot exist without the other. It is based on a ten-year study of cohousing communities’ set in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Japan. I found its core assumption about the relationship between high functioning communities and environmental and economic sustainability illuminating and very applicable to our circumstances.  Helpful to me is the fact that Meltzer writes in a scholarly and authoritative format supported by many footnotes, illustrations, graphs and an extensive bibliography.

 

Ian Mcharg, Design with Nature, Jan Valley, Incorporated, 1969

Design with Nature, is a philosophy that finds its roots in the landscaping practices of 18th England and was made popular by the works of Ian McHarg in his 1969 book, Design with Nature” where he pioneered the concept of ecological planning and ecological sensitivity to the interwoven environment of humans and nature. The idea of designing with nature has strongly influenced our work  at Windekind where we try to design and create human environments in concert, not subjugation, with the conditions of nature. Examples include following the natural course of steams, building trails and roads that follow the natural fold of the land, protecting the location of old walls, and paying attention to the  weave of natural features with human activity.

Historian and architect, Lewis Mumford, wrote the following about Design with Nature: "In presenting us with a vision of organic exuberance and human delight, which ecology and ecological design promise to open up for us, McHarg revives the hope for a better world."

 

Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrant, Creating Cohousing, Building Sustainable Communities, New Societies Publisher, 2011.

Bill Mckibben writes, in the forward of this book, “The story of cohousing is not the story of energy conservation at all—it’s the story of energy generation, the kind of human energy that we need at this turn in the history of our country.” Mckibben’s theme of creating energetic communities and therefore better lives is so evident in this very comprehensive book that approaches the challenge of creating cohousing from every conceivable angle.

Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrant are award-winning architects who have designed over fifty cohousing communities in the United States and consulted on many more around the world.

 

Kristin Peterson-Isbag, et al,The Vermont Difference, Perspectives from the Green Mountain State, Woodstock Foundation and the Vermont Historical Society, 2014.

Nineteen essayists, all of them leaders in major area of Vermont’s economy and culture, discuss aspects of Vermont that warrants national and, in our case at Windekind, local attention. Essay topics include such diverse fields as: historic preservation, the arts and the humanities, higher education, state and local politics, outdoor recreation, the creative economy, sustainable agriculture, and heritage tourism. In my reading of these essays I was able to sharpen my own understanding and celebration of Vermont’s distinctiveness seeing the many ways of how, at Windekind, we mirror the State’s achievements, while contributing with our own version of the essay. 

 

Ross Chapin. Pocket Neighborhoods, Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World, The Taunton Press, 2011.

Strongly influenced by the Cohousing and Intentional Communities movement, Ross Chapin and his colleagues have created a helpful book that illustrates patterns of housing conducive for community building across the spectrum, from small towns, to suburbs to urban areas. The book presents many design and organizational ideas in the more  flexible and artistically  oriented  landscape that we seek to create at Windekind. 

One very helpful idea that Chapin has introduced is the concepts of "layers of personal space" . He believes that the zones of personal space are measured not so much by distance but rather by visual and acoustic separation. It is important, in Chapin’s view,  to define the boundaries of personal space. so that persons can seek more private spaces when they need to be alone and, conversely,  seek others when they need to socialize.

For example, the locomotive shop at the farm can be, for me,  a very private space with its its walls that define it, yet, because it opens out to our lawns, I can invite people into and then it becomes a very public space-- I need both. Finding the right balance between personal and public spaces is the key to creating community.

At Windekind we have worked hard to create a central space in our lawns and gardens surrounded by the existing cottages. In going forward with designing the  Common we will look carefully at the role, for example, a stream, a pathway, a bridge, a gate and a garden bed play in establishing this balance.

 

Toby, Hemenway, Gaia's Garden, A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, second edition, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2009. 

Gaia’s Garden, a guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway is, in my view, one of the most influential books on sustainable gardening and permaculture. If you want a broad understanding of what this movement is all about, Gaia’s Garden is an excellent place to start.

Over a year ago, I started to seriously read Permaculture literature and immediately discovered that the approach was a game changer for the way I think about and practice gardening.

Like many life long gardeners, I had a well-developed, yet very traditional understanding, of gardening, my study of permaculture invited me to look at the garden as a completely different canvas, one that can be summed as – “using the natural intelligence of the Earth’s symbiotic ecosystem, in which humans are partners, not a competitor. “ I began to understand that nature can do a thousand things at once because nearly everything (sun, rain, animals, plants, humans) that enters a natural landscape is captured and used, absorbed and reincarnated into a vibrant weave of biodiversity that feeds, shelters, stores and creates beauty.

Until we ask ourselves, what is nature doing and how can we emulate and enhance it, we're going to keep hitting the same walls, investing wasted time, energy and resources in our gardens homes and communities, trying to invent solutions, like increased pesticide use, that are extension of the problems that we created ourselves.

Gaia’s Garden is a happy fusion of the practical and the visionary written in a fun and non-preachy style. Yet, Hemenway never looses sight of where we must be heading for a sustainable future, the detailed reasoning behind that, while, in the realm of the practical, offering page after page of crisp and workable “how to do it” instructions.

The chapters on soil bringing soil to life and designing gardening guilds (guilds are plant communities where each member supports, enhances and benefits from the others) were the best of I have read on these topics.

This book brought me so much joy, interest and hope, inviting me again and again back to his pages for a re-read, re-think and re-enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Documents:

 

The Huntington Town Plan.

In Vermont, all towns must have a Town Plan. This plan is considered a philosophical and visionary document that provides the basis for the town’s regulatory documents such as land use provisions and subdivision regulations. The Plan has to be, according to state statute (24 V.S.A. 4384 (c)), renewed on five-year cycles by Huntington’s Planning Commission in a living process that reflects the changing needs of the community.  Currently we are writing the regulations and development standards that correlate with the principles of the Town Plan.

Today, Marijke and I consider ourselves to be very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in community decision-making. In one adult lifetime, we have witnessed the extraordinary success and evolution of local, democratic decision-making applied to solving local problems in Huntington. The development of the Town Plan and the resulting Land Use regulations are at the heart of my tenure with the town. Currently I am vice chair of the Planning Commission, a role that gives me direct experience with many planning principles applied to day-to-day challenges that the community faces such as protecting its village core. 

 

Helpful web sites:

 

The Fellowship for Intentional Community: Fellowship of Intentional Communities 

The (FIC) nurtures connections and cooperation among communitarians and their friends. It provides publications, referrals, support services, and sharing opportunities for a wide range of intentional communities, cohousing groups, ecovillages, community networks, support organizations, and people seeking a home in community. The FIC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in the United States.

 

The Cohousing Association of the United States: The Cohousing Association 

The Cohousing Association of the United States presents a well developed and resource rich website where one can see and gain access to all the cohousing communities in the United States, view tutorials, learn about conferences and other educational events, and place classified ads.

 

Pocket Neighborhoods: Pocket Neighborhoods 

Helpful and well illustrated web site with many excellent design examples accompanied by very readable narratives. I good place to get an overview of the breath and scope of work being done.

 

The Congress for the New Urbanism: The Congress for the New Urbanism

New Urbanisms, an amalgam of architects, planners and urban designers, discusses “model” communities as Seaside in Florida. In fact the principles of “New Urbanism” run in parallel with ours with its emphasis on mixed use, common space and well-designed architecture. This is a large and well-developed organization with an extensive resource base that speaks volumes to all aspects of land use development.