The public is invited to the debut of a mobile tool shop for houseless people needing to make, repair or maintain housing, bicycles, and other personal items. The event, which will include workshops on bicycle and dwelling maintenance such as tent repair, will take place Saturday, September 13, at Opportunity Village Eugene, 111 N. Garfield St. at 1 p.m.
The mobile tool shop was designed and built by The Common Good—initially comprised of designBridge students from the University of Oregon Department of Architecture but now including members of Opportunity Village Eugene.
Above: Sebastián Oviedo taps in the final fasteners for the roof of the mobile tool shed, which will be introduced to the public Saturday, September 13, at 111 N. Garfield St. in Eugene. Photos courtesy The Common Good.
The Common Good is “aimed at teaching, connecting and transitioning houseless members of the Eugene community through the construction of a mobile venue for learning, production, storage and community building,” says Alex Froehlich, a 2104 University of Oregon architecture program graduate who spearheaded the project beginning in 2012.
“We've been out almost every day for the last three or four months, working on wrapping up this project,” Froehlich says of the two-year research, design and build project. “We've been trying—and succeeding, in my opinion—at building a structure with a high quality of craftsmanship and materiality, out of respect for the houseless end users of this project, who don't normally have any contact with any sort of ‘high design.’ ”
The team set out to design a model process that could be repeated by citizens in other cities by documenting their process of research, inquiry and dialogue to identify the needs of the homeless population. Through this process, The Common Good “recognized that the lack of common infrastructures of production was greatly suppressing the productive capacities and needs of marginalized urban citizens,” the group’s Facebook page states.
Above: “We've been trying—and succeeding, in my opinion—at building a structure with a high quality of craftsmanship and materiality, out of respect for the houseless end users of this project,” says The Common Good team leader Alex Froehlich.
The mobile tool shop project began in 2012 when designBridge 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,” Froehlich says.
“Research and community engagement focused us on how design might aid the individual’s transition toward self-reliance and independence,” Froehlich says. “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.”
Above: The mobile tool shop was developed for houseless people needing to make, repair or maintain housing, bicycles, and other personal items.