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Course focus: Social engagement and place making


Reigniting the Village


Sep 24 to Sep 25, 2022


On-land at OUR EcoVillage

Join Mark Lakeman, visionary architect, designer and co-founder of the City Repair Project, as he joins with Kym Chi of Pacific Rim College and Brandy Gallagher of O.U.R. Ecovillage, for an innovative and playful weekend workshop. 

Together we will focus on social engagement and place making. Participants learn tools, techniques and strategies for community design and engage in participatory processes and models. Learn to create alternative patterns that address systems of isolation and oppression, while developing networks and beneficial connections on all scales…. and legal and regulatory change processes which can accompany us on this journey.


This workshop will highlight:

– the application of community development strategies in both an urban and rural context

– land based learning and regeneration of stewardship culture

– legal and regulatory of integrated design and precedent setting permaculture projects

– healing effect of social culture by restoring interaction and identity

In North America, what were once was known as ‘villages’…. has now been replaced by the Roman colonial grid, causing urban areas to become fragmented and disconnected from the natural world and community living.  Working within the challenges of the current colonial framework and applying Permaculture tools and strategies, how can we more actively create positive change in our own neighbourhoods and communities? How can we creatively come together to build safe environments where everyone can thrive together? 

Together we will focus on social engagement and place making. Participants learn tools, techniques and strategies for community design and engage in participatory processes and models. Learn to create alternative patterns that address systems of isolation and oppression, while developing networks and beneficial connections on all scales….and legal and regulatory change processes which can accompany us on this journey.

Discussions take place that inspire a rebalancing, healing effect on social culture by restoring interaction and identity, spatial place and gathering environments that fuse people and nature back together and reinspire the regeneration of stewardship culture, intergenerational connection, and cultural rituals – all the while working from personal to collective.

Mark will also present on various case studies of innovative projects he has worked on of various types and scales, as well as inspiring upcoming projects he is working on internationally and Kym/Brandy will bring together the local examples and organizatioinal/governance structures which create BC/Canadian examples.

This workshop will highlight the application of community development strategies in both an urban and rural context.

The workshop will also include a special ‘land based learning’  presentation by Brandy Gallagher  of the legal and regulatory work of integrated design, and the precedent setting permitted permaculture projects on this ‘Lawful’ Demonstration Site and Research Center. A systems and structures tour of the site will be included.

Interactive energizers and networking activities will be led by Kym Chi throughout the weekend.

Mark Lakeman

Make is a co-founder of the City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon, and served as the Co-Director of Creative Vision from 1995 to 2008. He is presently active as a core member, overall mentor, and project coordinator in City Repair’s annual urban permaculture festival known as the Village Building Convergence. Mark is also the founder and principal of Communitecture, Inc, a cutting edge eco-architecture and planning design firm with sustainable building and planning projects at all scales. These highly popular projects include such social-ecological innovations as The ReBuilding Center, numerous ecovillage projects and urban infill co-housing examples. Many current projects involve low income and homeless people in the self-development of tiny-home based villages. All of these initiatives were developed out of the Planet Repair Institute, which Mark co-founded, including PRI’s acclaimed urban permaculture design course which is currently taught in collaboration with Permaculture PDX and Witch Hazel Inc.

After working for several years in the 1980s as a lead designer of large scale corporate projects, in 1988 Mark embarked on a series of cultural immersion projects with numerous indigenous societies in order to derive place-making patterns which could be applied to urban settings across North America. These patterns include broad participation, local ownership, and transference of authority to local populations, creative expression in planned and unplanned processes, and social networks as the primary economic medium of change. His travels lasted until 1995 when he returned to Portland to undertake a series of creative, culturally restorative initiatives. His cooperative initiatives include the Last Thursday Arts & Culture Project, The City Repair Project, Communitecture, Inc., the Intersection Repair Project, the T-Horse mobile public gathering place, Dignity Village, the annual Earth Day celebration of localization, and the Village Building Convergence (VBC), and Planet Repair Institute.

Brandy, (BSW, MA) is one of the original founders and developers of O.U.R. Ecovillage. As a designer and educator she worked with local to international community builders to create this 25 acre Sustainable Living Demonstration Site and Education Centre (1999).

She has served as the Executive Director of the non-profit Cooperative dedicated to educational outreach projects, and has worked with legal and research teams in order to design a series of precedent setting regulatory processes. From ‘Comprehensive Development’ land use re-zoning to incorporation of holistic new ownership structures, from governance to building codes, from wastewater to closed loop systems approval – her commitment has been to ‘Lawful Permaculture’ within the Ecovillage movement. Born and raised in community her life work has been focused around the development of ‘Sustained Community’.

She is also the developer of TOPIA: The Sustainable Learning Community School which operates onsite at O.U.R. Ecovillage. With a deep compassion for people and place Brandy works with other communities/projects to find their way through regulatory and legal processes which challenge the development of legitimate models of land use, alternative building, ownership and governance. She provides these services through her business “Sustainable Community Solutions Consulting – SC2”.

Her published work is a documentary titled “Creating TOPIA: The Journey of Developing a School of Sustainable Community Building.” She is also featured in the movie “Escape From Suburbia” and the documentaries “Peak Moments: Creating the Impossible”, “Awaken the Village Heart and Mind”, “Green Burial” and “Re-Becoming Villagers; Urban & Rural”.

Kym is a dedicated healer, grounding herself in service through earth stewardship, people care and regenerative action. As a dynamic woman, her main passions are Permaculture design, creative facilitation, visual art, holistic healing and community building.

To date, Kym has received 3 certificates in Permaculture Design, completed multiple teacher trainings, taken a variety of advanced trainings, completed a Diploma in Permaculture Education and has over 2000 hours facilitation experience. She has studied and taught with Permaculture Visionaries like Rosemary Morrow, Robin Clayfield, Starhawk, Robina McCurdy, Mark Lakeman, Michael Becker, Toby Hemenway, Larry Santoyo and Scott Pitman.

She is a chartered Herbalist and has completed advanced herbal studies with Susun Weed, Dina Falconi, Barbara Cotgrave, Robert A. Bartlett and Matthew Wood. With a love of learning, she continues to take courses that grow her understanding of the natural world.

Through her stewardship of a deepened connection with the environment, Kym wishes to inspire connection with the natural world, oneself and the greater community to invoke creative self expression and value-centered living, enriching and creating healthy, abundant habitats and communities.

With a focus on Social Permaculture, people care and connected living design, Kym works with empowerment models, enjoys encouraging others on their life path and focusses on ways to support organizations and communities to become more resilient. Her success is measured on the successes of her students, allies and friends.

Kym is a settler on the West Coast of Turtle Island on the unceded and stolen lands of the Coast Salish Peoples. She is dedicated to the continued process of decolonizing herself and creating right relations with the land and the original people where she lives, works and visits. 

Kym is a homesteader, Permaculture Teacher, Holistic Healer, Mentor and is the Dean of the School of Permaculture Design at Pacific Rim College.

Investment Price


Cancellation Policy

Accommodations, Courses, Events and all other services

For cancellation with more than 30 days notice, guest will be fully refunded.

For cancellations with more than 21 days notice, guest will be 50% refunded.

For cancellations with less than 21 days notice, guest will be charged full amount.

View full cancellation policy, waiver of liability, and house rules

Health and Safety Policy

O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE adheres to the COVID-19 safety requirements set out by the British Columbia Provincial Health Authority as well as the Canadian Federal Health Authority. There are community/staff members at O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE who are living with high levels of health concern. We ask that you are responsible and respectful with their health needs while onsite. The COVID-19 policies which are set out by O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE for the duration of your visit will be e-mailed to you at minimum four days prior to the start of the course. In the interim, we ask that you take responsibility for learning about the local health guidelines for our region here, purchase two rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to bring with you, plan to create conscious relationships with others while onsite, bring masks for your own use as needed, and create a response plan for any case in which you may fall ill.

If there are any additional communicable illness concerns, of any sort, which are specific to your health requirements then you must contact O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE at info@ourecovillage.org to make alternative arrangements at minimum 4 days prior to your visit.

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Land acknowledgment

OUR ECOVILLAGE is situated on unceded Indigenous lands. The Coast Salish Peoples are the guardians of these lands and waters where we live, work, pray, and play. Quw’utsun (Cowichan) is a historical place of gathering and Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun/”one-heart one-mind” for many Indigenous peoples.

OUR ECOVILLAGE is committed to regenerate land and all ecosystems while acknowledging and respecting Indigenous knowledge that ensures thriving for all beings; we call this Permaculture.

OUR ECOVILLAGE is dedicated to continuously educating ourselves and our communities about the history and peoples of OUR bio-region, to assist in decolonization and re-villaging as a path towards peacemaking, from local to global.