Resiliency IN A BOX

Resiliency IN A BOX is a mural covered repurposed shipping container housing equipment producing a renewable, sustainable source of potable water, soil enhancements and clean energy on a daily basis. Our project provides opportunities for STEM education and a canvas for public art. In the Community Healing Gardens’Tech Garden at LAUSD Edwin Markham Middle School in Watts, it will improve food production plus serve as an off-the-grid, vital resource for the entire neighborhood in the event of a disaster.

Los Angeles is at risk for a number of natural and human-made disasters, including drought, earthquakes, fires and landslides. A community’s ability to respond to and recover from those disasters is the measure of its “resiliency”. Low-income families and communities often suffer disproportionately from these disasters and lack adequate resources to invest in their own resiliency.

A “WEDEW” (Wood To Energy Deployable Emergency Water, which recently won the Grand Prize for Water Abundance from XPrize), is a machine that dehydrates biomass (wood chips, green waste, etc.) to produce 25kWh of clean renewable energy, 300+ gallons of water a day, biochar (a soil amendment), and absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere so it’s carbon negative!

The CHGs’ Watts Healing Tech Garden at LAUSD’s Edwin Markham Middle School serves 700 middle school students with STEM education. Resiliency IN A BOX would directly benefit these students, their families, and the community by the WEDEW providing access to a pure, renewable source of water for them and the gardens. Additionally, the plants in the garden will be enhanced by the biochar to produce more food and healthier soil. A pivotal impact of this project is that within 1 mile of this garden are 7 other schools and 3 housing projects, making it a strategic gathering space in an emergency.

Although Watts is only 2 miles wide, it’s one of the densest communities in LA with an average of 17,346 people per square mile. In addition to the 36,815 residents of Watts, the surrounding neighborhoods of Green Meadows, Florence-Firestone, and Willowbrook add up to almost 200,000 people living near the site. The location of this WEDEW is well positioned to serve as a resilience hub for these communities during a disaster.

Resiliency IN A BOX showcases several organizations aligning to increase their impact exponentially. We hope to grow soon at a school or park near you too!

Connect with the project partners:
AltaSea: Jenny Krusoe, Robin Aube (assembly site, STEM community open house)
Beautify Earth: Evan Meyer and Ruben Rojas (murals)
Community Healing Garden: Nicole Landers (urban farm, student STEM ed)
Skysource: Laura Doss Hertz and David Hertz (WEDEW, Resiliency Lab)
Unycyn Civic Arts: Cynthia Hirschhorn ( – project management)

Thanks to our presentation team:
Title+: Kate McCarty
Video: Alex Budman and Nicole Hirschhorn
Renderings: Willem Swart, David Hertz, Studio of Environmental Architecture
Website: Cynthia Hirschhorn and Jojo Valdez

subscribe to thecurrent enewsletter for curated news and examples of civic arts, urban gardens & water resiliency in LA, and beyond!