Wednesday, July 11, 2012

OVE and City Repair

Strong emphasis will be placed on connecting the Village to its surroundings.  It is important to the success of the Village that it be a good neighbor to those who live and work nearby.  Although the Village will be fundamentally different in appearance and organization from other types of housing in Eugene, we believe that it will be recognized as a positive addition to the neighborhood.
One way this will be achieved is through making OVE a City Repair project.  City Repair is an organization of citizen activists who educate and inspire people to build a more community-oriented and ecologically sustainable society.  It rests on the notion that if you actively involve people throughout a community in the planning and design of their spaces, it will result in much more vibrant places that carry broad support.

City Repair has been actively involved in community projects in Portland where their volunteers help navigate the process, raise funds, and meet city requirements.  City Repair has also been involved in sustaining the aesthetic appeal of Dignity Village.  Volunteers work with villagers to paint lively murals on their homes and build raised garden beds that bring a healing, natural element to the village. Applying this community place-making model to OVE will make it a place of pride for the city of Eugene.  The Village will provide an effective avenue for citizens to utilize their unique skill in order to create a more equitable society.

This is no small project, and where the energy of City Repair becomes a driving force. The proposed Chambers/13th Street site is approximately three acres in area, making for a long perimeter.  Rather than attempting to construct a uniform border around the site, which could be oppressive and infeasible in terms of available material, we plan to break it up into separate projects that would directly involve villagers and surrounding neighbors.

We have begun to develop a list of "Village Supporters" to help facilitate these types of projects, and have already witnessed a serious interest in OVE.  We are asking these intrigued citizens what kind of skills, materials, and time they have to contribute and documenting the responses.  One notable supporter relevant to this topic is Mark Lakeman, co-founder of City Repair and an influential figure behind the vision for Dignity Village, along with others from these organizations as well.  While we recognize that this is no small task, it is an innovative project that is invigorating citizens around Eugene.  In the words of architect Daniel Burnham, "Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized".