Convene | Community Driven Placemaking | Journal
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Journal

Welcome to Convene PLLC!

Welcome to Convene PLLC!  Convene is the current vehicle for my community-driven placemaking practice (formally Higbee Design Collaborative) and I hope you enjoy the new name and new website. Please excuse the website hiccups as I get everything up and running smoothly. Things sure have changed a lot from when I first started designing websites in 1997!

 

From time to time I will be posting here project updates and various reflections on community and community driven design. Please check back often.

 

In Community – Eric

 

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On the Boards: Casino Road Community Hub

A new Community Hub takes shape

 

We are excited to share with you one of the current projects in our office – the Casino Road Community Hub.

 

The Casino Road neighborhood, located in South Everett (and not having anything to do with a casino),  is one of the most densely and diversely populated area of Snohomish County. For years, the local community has been asking for a safe, shared community space where people can gather, build community, and access essential services and resources to support strong families. Connect Casino Road, a collaborative of local stakeholders, is seeking to meet this need by transforming an existing  building complex into a Community Hub.

 

Convene’s role, initially begun while Convene founder Eric Higbee was Executive Director of Pomegranate Center,  has been to help facilitate a community visioning process and then translate the community’s vision into vibrant community space. With collaborators Environmental Works spearheading the interior renovation, Convene has been working to design and detail a courtyard renovation focused around playful spaces and community gatherings.

 

We are in the midst of permitting and construction documentation, and are looking forward to the first phase of construction later this year.

 

Learn more at this KIRO Newscast: https://www.kiro7.com/news/north-sound-news/everett-is-one-step-closer-to-opening-community-hub-on-casino-road/764525859

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UpGarden at MOHAI!

“Innovators Turn Ideas into Reality”

 

How cool is this? This week I chaperoned my son’s field trip to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle.  In the “Innovation” display on the first floor, I stumbled across an image of the UpGarden, highlighted as the countries first publicly accessible rooftop garden!

The Spaces Between Us

Are we growing closer together or farther apart? It has been 18 years since Robert Putnam posited in Bowling Alone that our social fabric was fraying, and by some measures that seems to be continuing. For example, did you know that Britain just established a Minister for Loneliness? Or that the average American spends barely 30 minutes a day on any kind of socializing with other adults?

 

For Convene, the work of connecting is more urgent than ever. We need to re-establish the bridges that span the spaces between us: as individuals to combat loneliness and separation, as communities to collectively tackle our pressing issues, and with the places we live to cultivate a sense of belonging.

 

Convene’s journey has revealed that community engagement in design, planning and art-making can be powerfully leveraged to forge connecting bonds between us.  By increasing our participation in inclusive and decisive public process, we can reawaken our civic hearts and open up the paths of social renewal.

 

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Hawthorne Workparty = Over 170 volunteers!

The energy and passion of parents, students, and staff at our Hawthorne Elementary Project continues to blow us away. On October 20th, 2018, we helped lead an “Early Success” community work party, a way for community members to get their hands involved in the project while the slow-turning machinations of the larger work (read:permitting) take their time. For our Early Success we planted thirteen new trees, refurbished the vegetable garden, and performed around a weeding and trash-pickup. More then 170 parents, staff and students turned out. Fun for all ages!

 

Learn more about out project at Hawthorne Elementary School here.