“It appears that nutrient exchange and helping neighbors in times of need is the rule, and this leads to the conclusion that forests are superorganisms with interconnections much like ant colonies.”
“There are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the planet. A mere teaspoonful contains many miles of fungal filaments. All these work the soil, transform it, and make it so valuable for the trees.”
Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees.
I have been struck by the recent exciting work by arborists and biologists that have identified the crucial role that the vast network of root systems and fungi below the earth’s surface plays in determining forest health and resiliency. Trees of different kinds communicate with each other and transfer nutrients as needed to sustain the forest as a whole, all of this unseen by the human eye, deep within the soil. Regenerative human communities work like that, too. None of us can thrive alone and isolated; we are all dependent on an interconnected network of networks to strengthen the communities in which we live so that the individuals who reside there can flourish. That is the essence of CityCrafting, our way of restoring communities through regenerative thinking that we will be exploring weekly in this blog.
Darius Basharbrown tree trunk
First, what is CityCrafting and who is CityCraft? For over 3 generations, my family has been on a 110+ year journey grounded in a master building tradition. We have always seen ourselves in the human habitat and community-building profession. We have been trained to understand that every building and community is a set of interconnected and interdependent systems. This has given us the capacity over time to grow a sustainable and regenerative practice.
CityCraft has evolved as a 21st century master-building practice that allows new and existing cities to heal the torn economic, environmental, and social fabric, leading to restored long-term regenerative well-being within that place’s bioregion. If we are to achieve a regenerative future, we must understand that as humans, we are both a biologic organism and a social being with a spiritual dimension. As a biologic organism, we need adequate clean air, water, and healthy soils to provide healthy food and resilient shelter suited to our unique bioregion. As a social being, we require a network of other humans, organized and connected to us supporting a healthy and thriving community, with each individual having access to vital natural resources. A decision that threatens the capacity or health of these required resources is not regenerative.
In this tradition of providing shelter for the human community, I have now embarked on a journey with my partners in CityCraft to teach and support a new generation of professionals who will approach the role of sheltering even more holistically than we have done to date. At the heart of CityCraft is a process that assures that we make every effort to value all human, natural, financial, and existing physical assets in our community. We do this first by recognizing that they are there --- we call this inventorying the asset--- and then by determining how that asset is connected or could be connected to other assets in the community to create value for all. This uncovering of excess and underutilized capacity, which forms the foundation for CityCraft’s work, is nothing more or less than valuing all that we have discarded and pushed aside. It is this foundation that creates the new economic capacity for our future regenerative economy.
sun light passing through green leafed tree
Our dream and goal for this blog is to spark a global learning journey with you that builds our common capacity as a community to see the world as an interconnected and interdependent lifegiving system that enables us all to be successful in a way that we cannot be when divided and isolated. I hope you will connect with us and join us on this journey.
by JOHN L. KNOTT, JR.
February 1, 2021