Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Fall 2020 - 6

Garden, Village Farm & Arboretum, which
asks 4 questions: 1) how many households
can we feed; 2) how many neighbors can
we train and engage; 3) how many jobs and
businesses can we create; and 4) how many
gallons of stormwater can we divert?
DY: You have created a number of locallyowned and staffed business enterprises with
the skills and capacity for implementation
and maintenance of horticultural/landscape
services, renewable energy systems, and other
GI practices- what are your greatest challenges
to growing them sustainably and profitably?
ND: As black folks, we're masters at doing
lots with little...and with my own mother's
example before me, I learned to cover
a spectrum of strategies from boosting
education, to production of goods, to civil
disobedience, to neighborhood beautification and more, with pennies on the dollar.
And it's a skill that keeps killing us: not
expecting, demanding, and mobilizing our
fair share of resources for self-help via
assets we own: buildings, businesses, and
banks. And so, the cliché is true ~ we've
been robbed of 'access to capital,' directed
instead to the 'overserved' by governments
and corporate co-conspirators.
DY: You are in the process of leveraging
neighborhood "resources", including over 90
City or County-owned vacant parcels, to create
multiple-benefit gardens, parkways, and green
spaces; what would help to propel your vision
forward in West Woodlawn?
ND: We're doing net-positive, sustainable
LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / FALL 2020 / 4

redevelopment at site scale, but not at
the scale intended by our Sustainable
Square Mile system, which is for an entire
neighborhood, a "walkable-village" such
as West Woodlawn. We're slowly growing our comprehensive approach with
demonstration projects that illustrate our
GI plan; showcase our capacity to build
and maintain them; and model potential
district-scale performance benefits it
will achieve - flood reduction, improved
water quality, urban ecology/pollinator
habitats, healthy food production, and
other revenue-generating activities. We're
always building support through partnerships that help us realize our vision, that
see the unique value of our "whole-system
solution" to pollution and poverty in black
communities.
DY: How can your Sustainable Square Mile
approach be adapted to bring green infrastructure solutions to other economically challenged
neighborhoods in the Midwest and elsewhere?
ND: We help neighbors celebrate The City
of Villages ~ where every household can
walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn,
walk-to-play. We guide neighbors in living
BIG's 8 Principles of Green-VillageBuilding, summoning heritage wisdom
from our 12 Propositions of Grannynomics, and through real estate development,
literally building the Sustainable Square
Mile, where African Americans live, own
the businesses and properties, and advance
the conservation lifestyle. The Green

Living Room™ is our village epicenter for
green training, development, and lifestyle
transformation, operating as a sort of modern day safehouse where today's 'freedom
seekers' convene to fertilize self-interests.
Blacks in Green™ sees every African American neighborhood organized and anchored
in this way, living a narrative of triumph,
abundance, sovereignty, and joy, financed -
one sustainable-square-mile at a time - to
design, direct, represent, and benefit from
their economic development, with success measured by increase in household
income. This is a local living economy as
greenhouse gas reduction strategy, where
neighbor dollars circulate and the conservation lifestyle becomes standard. This is
the BIG vision for self-sustaining black
communities everywhere.
DY: Naomi, your drive and level of enthusiasm are boundless, what do you do to remain
energized?
ND: Believing is seeing! I did a 2011
Chicago Ideas Week talk on this idea and
a fable of coming back from the future
to share how we beat the twin problems
of pollution and poverty, reversing our
racial health/wealth gap. I see this victory
in living color, and it calls me into action,
morning till night.
For more information
NaomiDavis@blacksingreen.org
6431-33 S. Cottage Grove Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60637. Phone: 773-678-9541
LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM


http://www.LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Fall 2020

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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Fall 2020 - IP
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor Fall 2020 - Table of Contents
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