Hayes Valley Farm: Conflict and the Urban Commons

Hayes Valley Farm was a collective experiment in activating abandoned city spaces for urban commons.

Hayes Valley Farm was a 3 year collaboration between socially engaged artists, neighbors, city agencies, permaculture gardeners, community organizers, chefs, ecologists, researchers and city residents on the former on and off ramp in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. The Loma Prieta earthquake shook apart the on and off ramps in 1989 and created hill like edges on 2.5 acres of land — sculpturally and ecologically compelling. Early on, many of us recognized that the scope and level of participation was so great that it required resilient and distributed modes of engagement between humans and between humans and non humans. This recognition was followed by a sweeping shift in the practice of conflict and a deep inter-relational exploration of what it means to manage resources and practice an urban commons.