Urban villages

… on the rise around the world

Search for “urban village” online and many of the entries that come up will refer to an urban planning concept of residences clustered near shops and offices. In some place it’s a fairly new idea that focuses on neighbourhood design. But an urban village is traditionally much more than a physical space.

It’s a network of relationships; a community of interrelated people. Similarly, a true urban village isn’t just a real estate grid and the marketplace exchanges that occur there. Among those who focus on sharing and the commons, it’s a term that refers to a collaborative way of life — a relatively small, place-based urban community where people cooperate to meet one another’s many needs, be they residential, economic, governmental, or social. In the process, they wind up transforming their own experience of that community. And these kinds of urban villages are on the rise around the globe.

And these kinds of urban villages are on the rise around the world, especially throughout northern Europe. Metropolises like Berlin and Copenhagen host do-it-yourself communities like Holzmarkt and the long-running Christiania. Israel is seeing a growth in urban kibbutzim. In South Korea, Seoul is aiming to establish “sharing villages” throughout the city. While ecovillages and intentional communities are still more popular in rural areas, where agriculture plays a key role, urban villages are seen by their proponents as a natural and obvious antidote to the problems of climate change, economic inequality, and social isolation.


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Vector Pays for Outages

Blackout Payout Policy – Auckland area

(March 2017): The continuing dysfunction of New Zealand’s partially privatised electricity system has brought about blackouts, huge price increases, inadequate structure investment and still fails to provide reasonably priced and secure power. Already by Autumn some areas of Auckland have already had a winter’s worth of power outages.

Such outcomes from privatisation and the doubling of retail charges have been the norm, not the exception 1. Since its privatisation the national electricity grid has continue to malfunction and the pressure can be expected to build for it to be fully privatised 2.

Power Outage | Power Payouts

Aucklanders (inside the Vector section of the national grid) are generally unaware of the little-advertised section of their Terms & Conditions policy. Near the bottom of the OUTAGES page, under  Residential Service Standards find the link detailed in this brochure.
Extract from the brochure (pdf):

If we don’t restore your power within the timeframes outlined below, we’ve agreed with your retailer to pay you $50*. That’s equivalent to approximately one month’s line charges for the average household. The timeframes are: · 2 hours in the CBD · 2.5 hours in urban areas · 4.5 hours in rural areas. To make a $50 claim, you must call us to request it within six months of the eligible power outage on 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867). *Please note: This payment only applies to faults on our network (not on your service lines) and does not apply to faults caused during storms and/ or other events outside our control (e.g. National Grid outages, where Vector is prevented from making repairs by emergency services etc.). If we have a direct contract with you, those terms will apply instead of this payment.”

Current power outages are shown on their website here.
You have 6 months to claim your $50.


  1. Critique of the Global Project to Privatize and Marketize Energy, (2005). Beder, S. (– accessed Apr. 2017)
  2. The Resilient Economy, Issues in Privatisation – Costs & Benefits, (2010). Rosenberg, B. (pdf – accessed Apr. 2017)

Growing the Movement in Auckland

The Tomato Movement

From now till end of summer, Kai Auckland want to help people to grow, harvest and bottles tomatoes. Across Auckland people are raising tomato seedling to give away. Distribution points are being identified.

There will be plantings in community gardens and back yards, with bottling workshops also planned as a follow up in Autumn.  Peasants NZ has opened a backyard in Sunnyvale (West Auckland) as a focal for growing seedlings. Contact Ross through Contact Us for dates and times to work in with that.  If there is any way you want to be involved, we are just an email away.

Summer in the Square

Kai Auckland is excited to have the opportunity to be part of Summer in the Square, the summer festival at Aotea Square. From December through to February, there will be pallet gardens growing edibles in the square, and free Saturday morning gardening workshops. You can get involved by volunteering at the garden set-up and planting day (Saturday 3 December), putting your hand up to help look after the gardens over the summer, or suggesting someone who could present a gardening workshop. If you are interested in being involved, contact Emily — urbanpantry.

Film Highlights Worker Co-ops

The Philadelphia region has over 100 co-ops, but only four worker-owned co-ops.

Here is a new film which highlights these unique businesses and the people who own and operate them. The 15-minute film, Capitalish, profiles all four of these worker co-ops from diverse industries. The oldest co-op, Childspace Daycare Centers, owns and operates three childcare centers. Home Care Associates, a home health care agency, was inspired by Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx. Alliance Taxi Co-op, a taxi-driver owned dispatch company, was formed in 2014 out of the labour organising work of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania. W/N W/N Coffee Bar is the newest worker co-op. The worker owners at W/N W/N (pronounced “win win”) celebrated their one year anniversary of being open in January 2016.

The four worker co-ops featured in Capitalish are challenging dominant logic about the way that they ought to relate to workers, consumers, the community, and other businesses.

The film was released online for free by the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA), a “chamber of commerce” for co-ops of all sectors and a non-profit dedicated to growing the cooperative economy.

Gotham Greens – Chicago urban farm

Chicago is now home to the World’s Largest Rooftop Farm

The 75,000-square-foot farm is located on top of a Method manufacturing facility, and is powered completely by renewable energy. The farm employs more than 50 people and “will produce nearly 10 million annual crops of local, premium-quality, pesticide-free, leafy greens and herbs,” according to the company.

There are numerous benefits to growing food this way in addition to year-round production. According to the company, their “proprietary growing methods” produce up to 30 times more crop per acre than field production. They claim their two-acre facility can produce yields equivalent to more than 50 acres of conventional field production.

Thanks to “sophisticated computer control systems” that “continually adjust the greenhouse environment to ensure optimal growing conditions all year round,” the farm is able to produce despite even the coldest of temperatures.

And because Gotham Greens recycles all of its irrigation water, the company says, “it uses 10 times less water than conventional agriculture (while also eliminating all agricultural runoff—one of the leading causes of global water pollution).” Additionally, by growing and selling their food in Chicago, they drastically reduce the food waste and environmental footprint inherent in long-distance food transport.

More Urban Farms: | 6 Urban Farms Revolutionising Where Food Is Grown


Food movement: West Auckland

(30 Sept 2015): – Starting on 6th October a group of keen Westies have come together to create a regular focus on food. Events are to be held very Tuesday between 3-6 pm at HUB WEST – 6 Corban Ave, Henderson.
On offer will be …

  • A weekly Food Box ($15)
  • Gardening at the community garden
  • Cooking demonstrations – with the occasional meal

The food boxes will be organised through Food Together. To order one go to their website and pay in advance.

A kick-off event will be held on 6 October, 3pm–6pm at HUB WEST, and if you want to be involved (help with garden, cooking classes or more contact kaiwestgroup@gmail.com or phone Sa’e 021 065 6206.