Resilience Research


Cultivating  community + growing ideas.

The Resilience Research Center

501 E. Badger Road, Madison, WI 53713

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 systems that impact daily life, ranging from public health to air quality to energy efficiency; where one of the most sustainably designed buildings in the world models the latest advances in green technology.

This is the Resilience Research Center, a community-inspired collaboration led by the Center for Resilient Cities. Phase 1 of the Resilience Research Center, completed in August 2012, brings together:

  1. Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, serving as a vibrant hub for community events and gatherings and enriching programming for all ages.

  2. the public instrumentality charter Badger Rock Middle School, which features a sustainability-focused and urban agriculture-integrated curriculum.

  3. the Madison farms of internationally acclaimed Growing Power, led by MacArthur “genius” Will Allen and Madison farmer Robert Pierce.

Phase 2 of the Resilience Research Center will include a gymnasium, retail shops and meeting rooms. All activities at the Resilience Research Center encompass the major areas of neighborhood-focused services, intensive urban agriculture, education and energy services.

Researchers will analyze all activities and operations at the Center to continually improve its services. Our goal is to make significant contributions in each of the Center’s major areas, serving as a model for building resilient communities around the country.

The entire campus is involved in year-round intensive food production outdoors and in greenhouses using sustainable growing practices. Training in food production, preparation and marketing will involve entrepreneurial youth development with an emphasis on neighborhood green jobs. Using such methods, an astounding amount of food can be grown on a single acre.

Growing Power-Madison

Energy Services

A public charter middle school that features an interdisciplinary program focusing on environmental sustainability. Learning is project-based and relevant to all cultures. More than half of the students come from the immediate neighborhoods. The campus serves as a living laboratory for hands-on exploration and study of food growth and science, energy and water use, and community cooperation — all crucial areas of knowledge for future academic and job success.

Madison Gas and Electric and the Resilience Research Center demonstrate innovations in green, energy-efficient design, ranging from low-cost alternatives that anyone can use at home to cutting-edge technologies and design. The Center strives for the highest levels of energy efficiency in all aspects of operations and is 100% green-powered.

People living nearby say they could use more businesses serving the neighborhood—a coffee shop, a market, other essentials. Plans for Phase 2 of the Resilience Research Center include 1,500 square feet of retail space. We’re working with neighborhood representatives and residents to identify which businesses are a priority. The Resilience Research Center is committed to making the campus a destination for the neighborhood.

Mixed Use Services


This center encourages neighbors of all ages to get to know one another and enrich their lives through various classes and groups. Neighbors guide the programming, but from season to season, programming may include  classes in canning and nutrition, ethnic recipes and cooking, design and construction methods for energy and cost savings, talks featuring local chefs, writing workshops and public readings about land, nature and community.

Researchers will analyze all activities and operations at the Center to continually improve its services. Our goal is to make significant contributions in each of the Center’s major areas, serving as a model for building resilient communities around the country. This program is led by Dr. Michael Bell, Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-chair of the UW-Madison Agroecology Graduate Program of Sociological Studies. 


The Resilience Research Center is a truly remarkable project. Besides bringing together a diverse and rich mix of partners, the Resilience Research Center is a leader in green and sustainable design.

  1. The Center was built to LEED platinum standards. Certification is pending completion of Phase 2 of the project and review by the Green Building Certification Institute. The building is expected to be among the top LEED-rated buildings in the world.

  2. More than 90% of the building that formerly sat on the Resilience Research Center site was reused / recycled.

  3. Our goal is to reuse every drop of water that falls on-site. To that end, we have two underground storage tanks that together store 45,000 galloons (the size of two school buses stacked on top of one another) and a 7,000-gallon demonstration tank in the north stairwell.

  4. Natural daylight is emphasized in the building’s design. With the help of Solatubes, which capture, amplify and re-direct daylight, the Center will rarely have to use conventional fluorescent lighting on the second floor.

  5. The Center uses about half the electricity as an average comparable office in Madison.

  6. The Center features photovoltaic panels on the roof for solar power in partnership with Madison Gas & Electric, a local utility that is one of the greenest in the nation.

  7. Our geothermal system (ground-sourced heating and cooling) has 78 wells that extend 300 feet deep.

  8. The site features a greenhouse with aquaponics and four acres of vegetable gardens under the leadership of Growing Power-Madison.

  9. The landscape will be completely edible with fruit trees, grape arbors and cranberry bogs.



To see photos from our grand opening celebrations in September 2012, please visit our Flickr page or click on the links below:

Neighborhood Celebration

Contractor Party

Grand Opening Celebration