So instead of waiting till I have my Mexico reflections typed out (which I would rather do on a laptop in order to add pictures and whatnot) I’ll begin to write short, as-I-go observations, insights and reflections from my time in South Africa.
I (finally) got here towards the end of March and will have a 2 month stay.
I have to say I imagined that Lynedoch Ecovillage was a lot closer (both physically and with regard to ease of getting there) to the city of Stellenbosch than it turned out to be. So I am in a rural setting even though my goals were to learn about urban settings (joke’s on me!)
But for a few reasons I will carpe diem this.
I had visited Lynedoch with my IHP study abroad group in 2012 and the place made a big impression. It also got me thinking about these types of communities- ecovillages- and how people come together to make them and the reasons driving them. So I initially wanted to visit other similar spaces but the idea morphed with time into my current questions. So because this was the place that planted one of the seeds I’ll stay.
Lynedoch Ecovillage is also connected to an educational institution, the Sustainability Institute, that offers a range of courses on Sustainability at skills training, post graduate, masters and PhD levels. I would like to teach so I’m interested in this symbiosis of the setting of the SI within the Lynedoch development and what it does for the learning about sustainability issues in a setting that tries to be so.
And finally, even though the train schedule is deplorable (really), I can base myself here and from there travel to other sites where specifically urban things are happening.
For example, the SI has a project called iShack that was born out of a student’s master’s thesis, and whose aim was to demonstrate incremental upgrading of informal settlements in situ. I am also interested in projects going on in Cape Town such as the Princess Vlei campaign in Bottom Road/Mannenburg and a process of participatory design around that. The edible garden project to have public spaces be sites of food production is also of interest.
So that’s the plan for now. We’ll see how it goes.