The Village at Providence Farm
The Village at Providence Farm will be an exemplary, supportive neighbourhood of diverse
people. Goals of healthy relationships among all aspects of the personal, social, and physical
environments, and of affordability in the long term, will guide our choices of process, design,
systems, and materials.
VISION FOR THE VILLAGE
This statement is our response to the question: ‘What is your vision about what the
Village at Providence Farm will be like?’
Members of the Planning and Development Group for the Village expressed diverse
ideas and values during our ‘internal’ visioning – a Creative Planning Process, in July
2005. We summarized those in the form of statements of intent, as follows.
This statement is a work in progress. We expect it will develop further as we expand
our consultation, to include the priorities of other services and people in our
To create a residential community where people have a sense of belonging, where they
feel safe, and where their contribution is valued.
Resident-participation will be important in the management of the community.
The community will be based on values of mutual respect, co-operation, honesty, and
the honouring of diversity, consistently with the Mission Statement for Providence
Farm, which was developed in 1983: "Because of the variety of environments of the
land and talents of the people of this community, we wish to be open to the needs of
different groups. Our focus is towards those not easily accepted elsewhere. Trusting in
Providence, we propose to create a faith-centred community that sees, in the cycle of
people caring for the soil and the soil nurturing the people - the renewal of life."
To support diversity among residents, including youth and the elderly, and people with
a variety of resources and needs, promoting acceptance and respect.
Knowledge and Education:
To provide opportunities for a variety of education and life-skills and vocational
training for residents, including Farm Program participants, throughout the planning,
development, and management of the project.
To promote health and wellness.
Relationships and Communications:
To develop a strategy for healthy relations within the Village community. Such a
strategy would include means to develop and maintain good communication skills and
methods of conflict resolution, decision-making, and teamwork.
To promote good relations with neighbours, municipalities, and with other similar
projects, including through cultivating media relations, establishing a web profile, and
offering public education and workshops related to our work and our community.
To maintain integration and compatibility with other Farm programs.
To integrate with existing related community services.
Social and Recreational activities:
To promote and develop social and recreational activities as a means of enriching the
fabric of the community. Such activities would include: Community meals, events,
celebrations, and other activities. The physical design of the Village would include
common spaces to support such activities.
To create a written definition for a non-profit housing organization consistent with the
principles of Providence Farm.
To register and maintain a legal entity that will be responsible for the development and
management of the Village at Providence Farm.
To research and access various means of financing, including but not restricted to:
Benefactors, donations, sweat equity, fund raising strategies, gifting, government
subsidies and other programs, partnership with other agencies and service groups, and
joint (private and non-profit) venture.
To investigate and to be open to ways of creating internal economies to help support the
residents, such as home-based crafts, and exchange of work and resources.
The following statements were all gathered under the broad heading ‘Design’.
Principles of Design:
To create an environmentally friendly and people-friendly development based on
principles such as in ‘A Pattern Language’ and Permaculture, with the goal of creating a
housing habitat that ‚feels like home‛, including emphasis on accessibility (eg.,
Universal Design) and affordability.
Structures: To create a variety of housing, including single and multiple-family, and
multi-functional, group dwellings. In addition to dwellings, the Village could include
such facilities as: communal kitchen and dining hall, meeting spaces, day care, laundry
facilities, workshop space, and a teen room. Facilities within the Village would
complement existing resources and ongoing developments of Providence Farm.
Materials: To include natural and recycled materials: Simple, affordable, healthy,
and environmentally sensitive.
Transportation: To provide access to public transit, by permeable road and path surfaces.
To provide accessible pathways within the Village and connecting with the Farm and
with the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Building Features: To provide for optimum health and comfort of the residents, in
dwellings which are small enough to be energy-efficient, which also are healthy, low
maintenance, and with a small ecological footprint.
Outdoors: To create and maintain landscaping integrated with the natural
environment, in a park-like environment, including small places with courtyard
Systems: To emphasize low impact technology, with efficient use of resources,
environmentally responsible energy and waste management systems, minimizing waste,
and comprehensive recycling systems for the entire Village.
Planning Process: To create a physical plan for the Village through inclusive
processes with: Providence Farm program participants and staff, professional and
community participation, and including such methods as a Design Charette.