Community Spaces with Mark Lakeman
Last Friday, Ecosa was honored to host Mark Lakeman, co-founder of City Repair Project, for an inspiring lecture and workshop in our studio.
Mark Lakeman is a national leader in the development of sustainable public places. In the last decade he has directed or facilitated designs for more than three hundred new community-generated public places in Portland, Oregon alone. He is a co-founder of the City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon and served as the Co-Director of Creative Vision from 1995 to 2008. He is presently active as a project coordinator in the annual Village Building Convergence. Mark is also the founder and principal of Communitecture, Inc, a cutting edge design firm with sustainable building and planning projects at many scales.
At Ecosa, Mark began the day with a lecture on placemaking. Mark believes firmly that “streets are for birthday parties,” meaning that in our current grid-planned neighborhoods our streets actually isolate and restrict us from valuable connection making. He believes that we must work together to take back our streets as public places which will in turn increase community, safety, education, nutrition, connectivity, and many other of our societal goals. The best part of his message is that all of this can be done with hardly any money, and it is fun at the same time!
That afternoon Mark pulled out some toys and the students got to try their hand at Placemaking. He had a prototype neighborhood for Eugene, OR, with buildings set up in a very traditional grid format.
The students took the model out in the sunlight to gather solar information about the site at certain times of the year. They then used the solar analysis to determine locations for the buildings that will maximize passive solar features. Mark was able to tell the students details about the neighborhood’s residents to make sure each home is connected to the rest of the community and what unique contribution they can bring.
This was a great exercise for the students, and all of these concepts will be an integral part of their ongoing Habitat for Humanity multi-family housing project.
For more information on Placemaking, check out the City Repair’s Placemaking Guidebook for a donation of $15. (Also available in the Ecosa library for our local readers).