The Center for Resilient Cities is unique in that they truly live and breathe the mission of their organization. Not only do they have a commitment to working with neighbors to build communities that are good for people and good for the environment, they care deeply about the relationships they are building to make this happen. In every interaction I have had with the organization, I have found warm, caring individuals who are highly intelligent and determined to make a difference in the lives of others.
Center for Resilient Cities provided a unique opportunity for School Food Focus to locate the Upper Midwest Regional Learning Lab in this region. (www.schoolfoodfocus.org) CRC understood the organizational needs of the backbone organization and supported the collaborative, collective impact structure by physically housing staff, assisting with infrastructure needs and providing professional support upon request. It really was a demonstration of the organization's ability to live, breathe and carry out their mission in a very synegistic way - CRC's impact is visionary and truly greater than the sum of it's parts!
I have been so impressed by the commitment to the community expressed through this organization. Time and time again, the mission of holding the community as the driving vision and owners of the work is expressed whether by a name change or a moment's pause to make sure all contributions (monetary or not) are given their recognition. It's no wonder they are seeing change in the resilience of the neighborhoods in which they work. When you nurture the whole being and work on increasing their health and general well-being, you are empowering people with resilience.
What a wonderful organization! From the concept of only going where invited and engaging the community in all aspects of the planning process, it is easy to see why the Center for Resilient Cities has such a successful track record. When a community invests its time, energy and resources in creating its vision, how can the outcome be anything but successful? Wrapping those concepts in a resilient platform concentrated on doing the earth good while at the same time revitalizing a community and everyone wins. I read some of the other reviews and I whole-heartedly agree with Nancy who said that the Center for Resilient Cities simply "gets it."
Our agency has collaborated with Center for Resilient Cities many times over the years on a number of projects and successful grant proposals dealing with inner city greening efforts and food system work. One of the Center’s programs – Alice’s Garden – has been a key participant and vendor in our farmers market, selling sustainably grown produce sown, nurtured, and harvested by by local neighborhood residents at the Garden. Several participants from Alice’s Garden are also participating at our Port Washington farm to help transition from a smaller, “backyard” garden to a larger, income-producing plot.
As a background, our agencies are located in an area underserved by quality grocery stores and overpopulated with fast food restaurants and corner convenience stores. The chronic shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables, when combined with poverty and a lack of transportation, create “food insecurity,” or the inability to obtain and consume affordable food. While our agency is working to solve some of the food security issues in the area, we also realize that healthier food is meaningless without safe places for families to walk and play, nutritious school lunch programs, and access to educational and economic opportunities.
This is where the Center for Resilient Cities comes in. The Center brought together many competing nonprofits, social service agencies, government agencies, and churches and started a shared conversation about how to create a vibrant, robust, and healthy community. The strength of the Center for Resilient Cities lies in their ability to listen to residents and to put together projects that promote resident-identified wants and needs. They excel at synchronizing the efforts of distinct and sometimes competing entities to work towards a common goal.
The Center for Resilient Cities implements an outstanding model for sustainable economic development and community revitalization to meet the needs of local communities in Wisconsin. The impact of their catalytic efforts in Milwaukee and Madison has been outstanding and the innovative Madison Research Center will serve as a model platform for cutting edge education, sustainable practice and scalable project assessment that will help diverse communities transform themselves for years to come. The Center is on the cusp of some of our most pressing issues and poised for expanded impact in the years to come. Outstanding!
The Center for Resilient Cities is currently constructing the Resilience Research Center. This has been one of the most exciting projects I have had the privilege to be involved with. In regard to stormwater runoff, the Center for Resilient Cities has set the bar extremely high. This project has been designed to detain and infiltrate 100% of the storm water runoff volume generated on the 3.9 AC site and a 2.0 AC offsite area draining to the site. This level of treatment far exceeds regulatory requirements and is the most ambitious stormwater goal I have ever seen for a redevelopment project of this size. This goal was accomplished through the use of green roofs, bio-retention basins, porous pavement, infiltration basins and a 60,000 gallon underground storage tank system for irrigation. Harvesting rain water for irrigation will help to reduce demand on the City's water and storm sewer systems and will help to replenish the City's aquifer. The Center for Resilient Cities commitment to sustainability is impressive!
Board member for many years. Started by one communty member of inexhaustible energy who had/has a vision for the use of a very long and very wide area in the central city of Madison, Wisconsin. What bettter use than a community park with amenities and attractions for all ages and abilities. The planning has taken years and still isn't a reality but focus of the park is now a project of the city of Madison. The board and staff have moved to a new emphasis and name. We are now called the Center for Resilient Cities. Our current project is the development and building of a new school in conjunction with the Madison Metropolitan School District. The of the curriculum is education and production of sustainable agriculture. This has included the design and development of a new public school with active involvement of the surrounding community in defining the design of the school as well as the development of the curriculum.
Review from Guidestar
The Center for Resilient Cities is constructing The Resilience Research Center in Madison Wisconsin. This project has focus's on urban agriculture, neighborhood revitalization and education. The site of the project is an urban island where no grocery stores are present and all the children are bussed to school many miles away due to no elementary school in this area. This project will provide a charter school on a 4 acre parcel that is completely vegetaded with edible plants, trees and shrubs. Fruit and nut trees, vegetable gardens and berry plants will abound and will be irrigated using captured rainwater. The fruits and vegetables will be harvested, cleaned and cooked in the commercial kitchen in the school. Beside the building housing a charter school there will also be space for offices for Growing Power, an international urban agriculture non profit headquartered in Milwaukee Wisconsin and lead by Will Allen - one of Time Magazines top 100 people in the world for 2011. Also, a neighborhood center will be located in the building along with offices for Center for Resilient Cities. This building will be a LEED Platinum building. Energy consumption will be less than half of what a conventional building of this size uses. All rainwater will be captured from the entire site and utilized for irrigation. Aquaponics will be done in greenhouses and possibly hoop houses. PV solar energy is utilized. Waterless urinals are used. Tinted glazing is used to minimize solar gain which minimizes air conditioning load. This project is a phenomenal green project that deserves accolades from around the world.
Review from Guidestar
Seeks to fundementaly change man's interaction with the urban environment and place it on a sustainable footing, while improving the lot of traditionaly underserved neighborhoods and populations.
Review from Guidestar
The Center for Resilient Cities simply "gets it". The staff and fellow board members "get" that successful urban neighborhoods and sustainable cities require attention to the whole person and the total environment--natural and built. Our projects use intensive community engagement, organizing people around those things that we can help with--water, energy, food, healthy living--and the things that neighborhood people care about. I am always excited to hear our staff briefings about our projects; GreaterJohnsons Park in Milwaukee and the Resilience Research Center in Madison being our current projects underway. Troy Gardens, a project completed some years ago, has won awards and has been featured in publications as an example of best practices.
Review from Guidestar
Center for Resilient Cities is building the most energy efficient building in the world. The building will have a geothermal water cooled variable refrigerant flow system with heat recovery. They also have community gardens, and will be growing perch and tilapia in their outdoor greenhouses. This building will serve as a great example and a beacon of hope in the distressed community it serves. It will also have a unique middle school that allows the students a real hands on approach to learning. This is an exciting project.
Review from Guidestar
Seven years ago near my house, sat a 2 block hodgepodge of vacant post-industrial parcels, only a mile from the Capitol. I watched as the Center for Resilient Cities (then called the Urban Open Space Foundation) slowly aquired each. After years of input, the new Central Park was sold to the City last year for $1. Their next project, the Resilience Research Center, was conceived to fill a need in an underserved & isolated neighborhood on Madison's south side. A 60,000 s.f. facility now under construction, will house offices and a farm for Growing Power Madison, a new project-based middle school where children will grow and cook their own food, the Resilience Neighborhood Center with a commercial incubator and neighborhood kitchen, teen center, and programming for all ages with a focus on healthy living through daily exercise and good food! The facility is slated to become the highest rated LEED PLATINUM building in the world and boasts 278 geo-thermal wells, 60,000 gallon underground water storage tanks for irrigation, intensive urban agriculture, vermiculture, aquaponics, PV, greenhouses & hoophouses, orchards & cranberry bogs, porous pavement and so much more. And that's only one project in Madison - the Center for Resilient Cities has other projects in Madison and several projects in Milwaukee as well.
Review from Guidestar