Designing the New Grid: Resilience Village, El Cerrito, CA
This SFIA EcoDesign Studio Project is by Trey Farmer and Michael Laham. Please ask the authors for their Project PDF.

Trey: "This is a redesign of a shopping complex in El Cerrito, CA in the near future. The idea is to create a fully self sufficient space that maintains the current surrounding population density (about 10 people per acre) and standard of living. Peak oil and global instability are not exactly new ideas, but the interesting thing here is the proposed set up is fully functional now. Many ranchers in Montana in the 70s shifted their farms away from the grid and oil based way of life, foreseeing future issues and not really seeing any benefit to being dependent on outside systems. Resilience has a similar ethic.

Oil scarcity and the shit storm it will bring may or may not be something you see happening. Nevertheless, being able to survive independently of such forces is easily doable with no loss of happiness or comfort. Dependency comes from crappy design, bad laws, and laziness. Michael and I went pretty deep for an 8 week course but it was something that was really interesting and fun, so what the heck. Enjoy a glimpse into a sunnier-side of the near future."


The intention of our design is to create a village that will withstand
the ebbs and fl ows of life, and provide a supportive and
enlivening place to live. Although complete self-suffi ciency
would be a nice feature, it would also be inappropriate for an
urban setting such as this. The surrounding community has
much to off er, as well as the fertile lands of California's Central
Valley. However, it is also a goal for Resilience to grow as much
of its own food as possible. This will be accomplished by following
the principles of Permaculture to create an amazingly
productive integration of plants and animals.

The 40 acres of Resilience Village is designed to house approximately 400 people...which is the current population density
of El Cerrito today. These 400 people will reside in a variety of
living arrangements, from small studios to modest single family
homes. Every living space and public area will be designed
with "human-based" principles. In other words, human feelings
and emotions are critical to all decisions. Our favorite
resource for human-based design is the book A Pattern Language
by Christopher Alexander and friends.

A unique feature of the village are the two "cohousing" communities
that exist within it. These communities will off er a
more "rural" lifestyle, and are sized to house about 50 or 75
people each. Just yards away from the cohousing is what
we have called "Downtown." This is the integrated live-work
environment that will house the remaining 300 people. Although
it is more dense, it will still be spacious and comfortable.
Gravel paths weave through the collection of storefronts,
restaurants and workshops...all surrounded by trees and small
meadows. Within a maximum of 3 stories, residents are provided
with a ground level space to run a business, and living
quarters for a couple or a family above.

The guiding principle of our design is that every part is integrated with the whole. Fragmentation is a word that does not
exist in Resilience Village. Creativity and careful observation
allow miracles to happen. By integrating housing, business,
food, energy, water, public space, people, animals and agriculture,
we have created the preliminary layout of what this
type of village might look like. It is intended as a "jumping-off "
point, and provides a framework from which to move forward
with detailed design. We are very excited about creating a
future that makes sense in a meaningful and respectful way.
Hopefully you feel the same way...

Contact Trey Farmer:
treythefarmer at gmail dot com