The Village Kitchen
Our Human Tradition
Villages emerged over 12,000 years ago as a way of living with subsistence agriculture. “The roots of civilization were planted along with the first crops of wheat and barley,” says Michael Balter of Smithsonian Magazine. Communal gathering around food, then, is core to our human nature, and is the foundation of our collective growth, success, and empowerment.
The Root of the Issue
The Village Kitchen taps into this universal rite of passage to address a widespread and often invisible problem: lack of female representation in the restaurant industry. We discovered that women occupy over 50% of hospitality jobs, but they represent only 7% of head chefs. And, female chefs earn 28% less than their male peers. When we dove into the 10014 zip code of New York City—the coveted West Village—we discovered that only 5 of the neighborhood’s dozens of restaurants are women-led.
Co-living has the potential to be a powerful mechanism for change. By establishing a place for affordable living and community-building in one of the world’s most expensive cities, we create an opportunity for women to cultivate their culinary careers in the company of friends, family, peers, and mentors. Unlike existing co-living options that primarily target the transient millennial or single professional, The Village Kitchen will be the first New York City co-living space that specifically caters to mothers and families. We believe so strongly in this concept that we’ve dubbed “mission-driven community” our own Living Indicator.
We propose a modular co-living solution where typologies are based around women in the restaurant industry, accommodating her and the people who are central to her support system. Regular unit types organically emerge from the street. On the roof, a combined restaurant and greenhouse is an evergreen beacon to neighbors and passerby. At the heart of the building, the community kitchen is on display. Here, members of the Village Kitchen, cook, teach, learn, connect, and grow with each other, becoming the beating heart of the community. Kitchens are intentionally excluded from individual units, and, instead, are dispersed throughout the building as common spaces. At the ground level, a farmer’s market sells produce grown on-site, welcoming established neighbors into the community space and providing a method of self-sufficiency that keeps living costs low.
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