Marlboro College

News Innovative Community Planning Process to Begin in Londonderry, VT

Marlboro College’s Center for Creative Solutions will Aid with Tropical Storm Irene Recovery

Marlboro, Vermont – (August 1, 2013) – Experts, residents, professionals and students will join together in a planning workshop to re-imagine properties devastated by Tropical Storm Irene as a community asset. After the Flood: Regenerative Design, Renewal, Resilience is a six-day workshop to be held in Londonderry, Vermont August 5 – 10, 2013. Marlboro College’s Center for Creative Solutions is leading the planning process in partnership with Windham Regional Planning Commission and with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Properties in the floodplain destroyed by flooding, and participating in the FEMA buyout program, are the focus of the After the Flood workshop. These properties will be owned by the town, yet Federal regulations limit how they can be used. Given the restrictions, the challenge is to discover opportunities for these properties to become vibrant community spaces that advance the town’s vision for its future. The planning project will focus primarily on two properties located at the entrance to the commercial district and the intersection of two state highways.

Londonderry’s Planning Commission welcomed the opportunity to work with Marlboro’s Center for Creative Solutions (CCS) and experience a planning process that “is immersive, inclusive, interdisciplinary, collaborative and creative,” reports CCS program director, Dolores Root. “Through this process new thinking and possibilities emerge.”

Distinguished artists Liz Lerman and Michael Singer will be joined by experts in engineering, sustainable landscape design, community history, and environmental design and planning.

The workshop is a unique learning experience for professionals and students to participate in the creative process and collaborate with expert practitioners and community stakeholders. The Workshop Participant Team includes three Londonderry residents, who are property owners and professionals, as well as professionals and students in the arts, landscape design, architecture and urban planning.

Learning about the community is the starting place for the investigation and collaboration between Liz Lerman, renowned choreographer, dancer and educator, and leading public historian, Richard Rabinowitz. Through residents’ stories, their attachments to places, past representations of social life in Londonderry, and movement, they will endeavor to discover the social glue of the community and to redefine the community’s loss into a shared gain.

During the first several days of the workshop participants will also research and collect a variety of ecological, environmental and economic information about the sites and town, drawing on local and regional experts including: Kevin Beattie, Londonderry town administrator; Chris Campany, executive director, Windham Regional Commission; Sharon Crossman, chair of the Londonderry Planning Commission; Patricia Moulton Powden, executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation; and Marie Caduto, and Todd Menees with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

On days four and five respectively, structural engineer Calen Colby and regenerative landscape designer Jono Neiger will explore with the workshop team opportunities and possibilities for re-configuring the floodplain from the perspective of productive conservation, permaculture, regenerative design and sound engineering. Michael Singer, an internationally recognized artist and designer, and a core team of planners and environmental designers, Susan McMahon, Jason Bregman and Jonathan Fogelson, will integrate and facilitate this collaborative creative process.

Throughout the six-day workshop Londonderry residents will participate in the planning process, and residents in neighboring towns that were also flooded will be invited to public events. Liz Lerman and Richard Rabinowitz will facilitate a community gathering and sharing on Wednesday, August 7 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Old Town Hall in South Londonderry. Thursday August 8 there will be an open studio so that community residents can see the evolution of ideas and provide feedback, and on Saturday August 10from 4:30 to 6:30 pm there will be an open house for discussing ideas and options presented as works-in progress as well as next steps. Both of these events will take place in the Depot building in South Londonderry.

The Center for Creative Solutions will produce a report for the town that communicates the planning process, opportunities and next steps.

Photos available on request.

About the Center for Creative Solutions:

The Center for Creative Solutions brings together experts from multiple fields and community stakeholders to find solutions to challenging issues facing cities and towns in urban, rural and suburban settings. The CCS collaborative process involves looking at a problem systemically, provocative questioning of assumptions and reframing the issue from an interdisciplinary vantage point to open up new thinking. Immersive, studio-style workshops provide a learning experience for post-graduates and working professionals that is interdisciplinary, collaborative, socially engaged and ultimately creative.

About Marlboro College:

With locations in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains and downtown Brattleboro, Marlboro College provides independent thinkers with exceptional opportunities to broaden their intellectual horizons, benefit from a small and close-knit learning community, create a strong framework for personal and career fulfillment, and make a positive difference in the world. At the undergraduate campus, founded in 1946 in the town of Marlboro, and our Center for Graduate and Professional Studies in Brattleboro, students engage in deep exploration of their interests – and discover new avenues for using their skills to benefit themselves and others – in an atmosphere that emphasizes critical and creative thinking, independence, social justice, sustainability, and community

About Windham Regional Commission:

In the absence of county government, the Windham Region Commission provides the essential link between local, state and federal government.  A public entity, constituted by law and required to meet statutory obligations, the Windham Region Commission is an important resource to the 27 towns of the Windham Region in Windham, Windsor, and Bennington counties.  Its mission is to assist towns in Southeastern Vermont to provide effective local government and work cooperatively with them to address regional issues.  Towns choose to be members of the WRC.



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