Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Opportunity Village as a place for pooling and mobilizing local resources—PART 2: Mobile Tool Shop

In my last post, I introduced the idea of how Opportunity Village as a place has catalyzed the pooling and mobilization of local resources, focusing on the recent community education program that took place as an example. This past week, a second great example came to fruition, which I would like to cover here.

designBridge—a University of Oregon architecture student organization—has been working on The Common Good project since 2012 when the received a grant from The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics “to examine notions of capitalism and the common good in relation to design services with and for local houseless individuals.

“Research and community engagement focused us on how design might aid the individual’s transition toward self-reliance and independence,” says project lead, Alex Froehlich. “Our process revealed to us that while minimum standards of human survival—such as food, emergency shelter, clothing, etcetera—were available, there is little to no opportunity for the learning, production and pedagogy that lets a citizen take their future into their own hands. In response, we designed a trailer that will provide space, tools and programs for individuals to learn and practice skills that they can use to effect their own agency.”

Following a public workshop, the student group decided to focus the project on designing and building a mobile tool shop. They then partnered with Opportunity Village to provide a home for the trailer, with the idea that mobility would allow a diverse range of uses in the surrounding community as well.

Early design charrette
Acquired and gutted a used trailer, on display at the village
Taking in feedback at the OVE open house
Schematic drawing for mobile tool shed 
Trailer under construction
designBridge members adding finishing touches
Finished product unveiled at the village on 9/13/14 
A look inside the mobile tool shop
bike repair workshop held at the village 

While bringing this project from idea to reality has already mobilized a significant amount of local resources, it is our hope that this is just the beginning, and that the mobile tool shop will continue to facilitate the sharing of local resources in Eugene. This mission also improves the capacity of Opportunity Village has a hub for taking in salvaged and excess materials that can be re-utilized

Within the village, this new facility will help villagers to maintain and improve the tiny houses and community buildings. Furthermore, it provides a space for villagers to pursue personal projects and income generating initiatives. And then, on a larger context, we hope to find ways that the space can be a resource to the surrounding community as well.

This was Part 2 on pooling & mobilizing local resources with a village. Also Read — Part 1: Community Education

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