I call it a Chocolate Factory because it really is that dang interesting and entertainingly-designed.
An old video of Borland Green from Kevin May actually explains a lot about this place already: http://youtu.be/EMP5MFq4-14
On 5/5, Cinco de Mayo, Pat Buddemeyer and the other Borland Green residents opened up their property, both inside and outside, to visitors, to see what they've been doing with their food forest/intentional community. I show up late as heck, but that doesn't stop me from taking pictures of every darn thing I can.
Notable Aspects: 250k is the price to build a new house from scratch. The kind of super-thoroughly sustainable retrofitting work being done here is going to cost 100k for the inside of Pat's house. Her house, cause so much of the place's walls and floor were gutted entirely, is going to cost more than her neighbors'. The (beautiful) skylight will add to that. She thinks it was worth it, though.
The backyard and side yard are set to be turned into a real example of Permaculture at work in diverse ways: rain gardens, fruit trees, etc.
The toilet was there because when the house was built, it was built with Pittsburgh Steelworkers in mind--they could go downstairs through a back entrance, dirty & stinky, shower off and use the toiletries as much as they may need to, and go upstairs to meet their family, refreshed. That's why it's a "Pittsburgh Toilet."
A description of the place, from http://pittsburghpermaculture.org/pghfoodforests/borland-green:
The Borland Green Ecological Garden is the result of a cooperative housing group seeking to transform the vacant land adjacent to their new homes into a diverse and productive space.
In 2011, Pittsburgh Permaculture received a $5k Spring Grant from The Sprout Fund which is enabling Pittsburgh Permaculture to help design and plant the food forests for the Borland Green Ecological Garden. Spring is a program of The Sprout Fund supporting local biodiversity initiatives that inspire greater stewardship of our region’s natural resources.
The garden space, on the corner of Black St. and N. Beatty St. in East Liberty, was owned by East Liberty Development Inc. and has been managed as a reclamation project by GTECH Strategies since 2008. Over that time GTECH has activated countless volunteers on the site to clean up a seemingly endless amount of rubble, add organic matter to the soil and maintain the site.