Badger Rock Center reflects the ideas of a Madison community.

Center for Resilient Cities is leading community-inspired collaboration that unites education, urban agriculture, energy and environmental sustainability, resilience research and neighborhood programming in a vibrant new gathering space.

Picture a living laboratory where neighbors build relationships; where intensive urban agriculture yields nourishing food and green-collar jobs; where middle school students engage with the world around them instead of sitting at desks; where researchers study energy systems that impact daily life. This is Badger Rock Center, a collaboration led by Center for Resilient Cities that involves a diverse and rich mix of partners. By connecting neighbors with each other and opportunities to grow in a sustainable space, Center for Resilient Cities is helping to close the opportunity gap.

Phase 1 of Badger Rock Center, completed in August 2012, brings Center for Resilient Cities’ model to life:

Activating People & Partners

Center for Resilient Cities meets people where they are, and listens to them as the best experts of their own community’s strengths and challenges. We began by engaging the residents of the Badger Rock neighborhood in regular meetings that fostered discussion about their needs and wants for the site. We learned that a neighborhood center, a school, and public meeting space were among the community’s top priorities. We sought strong community partners to engage in discussion and planning for those uses and other aspects of the site, such as urban agriculture. Input from neighbors and from the interest-area committees Urban Agriculture, Neighborhood Services, Energy Services, Education, Public Health, and Research, fed the design process for the Badger Rock Center Building.

The momentum to transform the formerly vacant Badger School building and surrounding fields grew from these discussions and the social connections that were formed.

Transforming Places

Badger Rock Center has transformed an under-used site into a public space with green and sustainable design that fosters resident and neighborhood resilience. The Center’s building brings together residents of all ages for a wide variety of activities related to education, healthy food and fitness, civic engagement, leadership development and friendship, through:

  • Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, a hub for community activity. This inviting space hosts community events, group gatherings and classes, and encourages neighbors of all ages to get to know one another. Together with Badger Rock Middle School, the Neighborhood Center offers monthly community dinners that bring dozens of neighborhood residents together to share meals made from produce grown on site.
  • Badger Rock Middle School, a public charter school with an interdisciplinary, project based learning program focused on environmental sustainability. Three-quarters of the students live in the nearby neighborhoods.
  • Year-round intensive food production outdoors and in greenhouses using sustainable growing practices. Led by Community GroundWorks staff, the Badger Rock urban farm attracts a wide variety of volunteers. The Farmer-in-Residence also provides the school gardening program at Badger Rock Middle School.

Built adjacent to a city park, Badger Rock Center connects to other neighborhood space through paths for walking and biking. Middle School students and Center fitness class participants use the Center’s site, grounds and the nearby park for sports and physical activities.

Badger Rock Center is 100% green-powered. And, with vegetable gardens, fruit trees, grape arbors and a cranberry bog, the Center is well on its way to achieving its goal of a completely edible landscape on site.

Green and sustainable design is the basis for Badger Rock Center’s structure, which is expected to be among the top LEED-rated buildings in the world. Built to LEED Platinum standards, the Center demonstrates innovations in green, energy-efficient design, ranging from low-cost alternatives for residential use to cutting-edge technologies and design. The Center strives for the highest levels of energy efficiency in all aspects of operations.

Based on neighborhood input, plans for Phase 2 of Badger Rock Center include 1,500 square feet of retail space for essential businesses serving the neighborhood. Center for Resilient Cities is working with neighborhood representatives and residents to identify which types of businesses are a priority.

Learning Informs Action

At Badger Rock Center, staff and partners respect and honor community knowledge as they work to leverage resources for the community. Center for Resilient Cities relies on neighborhood residents as community researchers to collect data that informs proposals for community action and policy change.

Learn more about Badger Rock Center’s work in these areas:

Aldo Leopold Nature Center • Badger Rock Community Market & Pop-Up Co-op Shops • Badger Rock Middle School • Centro Hispano • Community GroundWorks • Edgewood College • Group Health Cooperative • MG&E • Madison Metropolitan School District • Madison School and Community Recreation • Phitness Plus • Sustain Dane • University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems • UW-Madison Badger Volunteers

Grant Abert • Anonymous • Bachmann Construction • Diane Ballweg • Bradshaw Knight Foundation • Mary Burke • City of Madison Community Development Division • City of Madison Emerging Opportunities Program • CUNA Mutual Foundation • Dane County Environmental Council • Bill & Jan DeAtley • Dan & Natalie Erdman • Tim & Rusty Erdman • ETC Community Betterment Fund • Evjue Charitable Foundation • Forward Community Investments • Deirdre Wilson Garton • Marjorie Greenfield • Hanson Charitable Trust • James Imhoff • MG&E • Madison Community Foundation • Madison South Rotary Club • Monona State Bank • Osprey Foundation • Partners in Foster Care • PNC Bank • Rotary Club of Madison • Joe & Mary Ellyn Sensenbrenner • Summit Credit Union • Terry Family Foundation • WHEDA • Willy Street Co-op • USDA Higher Education Challenge • UW Credit Union • Arlene Zaucha ∓ Sue Goldwomon