High Tech to Grass Roots

In response to the Portland housing crisis, JT, a software developer, has tapped the housing design experts at Communitecture and the edible garden and permaculture specialists at Witch Hazel Designs to create a new model for urban sustainability. Permaculture, a progressive agricultural technique, from 1970s Tasmania, AUS is now implemented worldwide.

The crucible of this cutting-edge project sits in SE on a 1,000-square-foot lot at 5609 SE Francis St. These innovators are combining high-tech housing ideas with new takes on old methods of agriculture.

The result will be a sustainably-renovated home, with the addition of two tiny homes, surrounded by land producing food for the ten residents in a symbiotic system, all under a native white oak tree.

The lot, among many other elements, will include olive trees, ponds, rain gardens, firewood-generating trees, turkeys and chickens whose manure will be recycled back into fruit and nut trees.

Solar hot water heaters will provide resilience and help prevent waste and expense for the residents who will be living off the land in the middle of the city. The plan is to meld multiple systems of agriculture, science, architecture, design, and sustainability to create a sane and resilient new way of living in our crowded city.

“It’ll be a place to be happy,” said Witch Hazel principal Julian Dominic. “A place of affordable housing and food. Right now, it’s in its first phase. When it’s complete, it’ll show how the world can evolve with the forward-thinking work of folks from the tech and environmental worlds coming to the same party.”

Communitecture designs beautiful, sustainable places to bring people together in community. With an approach that explores new creative territories they are absolutely committed to sustainability, while respecting to the needs and priorities of all the individuals, families, and communities with whom they work and play.

Witch Hazel Designs and Education are a permaculture design and education business focusing on urban homestead design and rural agricultural planning. In addition to design, they co-lead sustainability classes, work with schools to develop environmental ed programs, and run a summer garden camp at Sabin Public school in the NE. witchhazeldesigns.com.  NT

High Tech to Grass Roots

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