Mark Lakeman: Communitecture and City Repair
When it comes to sustainable communities and grassroots community activism, Portland, Oregon is often held up as a model city. The work of activist architect Mark Lakeman demonstrates the multi-faceted nature of projects currently under way in the city. Some of the organizations with which Lakeman is involved include:
- The City Repair Project, which defines itself as a "group of citizen activists creating public gathering places and helping others to creatively transform the places where they live." The organization was formed in 1996 when a group of residents decide to reclaim a local residential intersection as a public gathering place. Community members came together to bring public ammenities to the intersection and paint the street as a way of demarcating the project. Since then, City Repair has been involved in a number of other projects, including community potlucks and demonstration projects at the local county fair. The organization completes its projects affordably, with volunteer help and at little to no cost to the city of Portland.
- Communitecture, Mark Lakeman's design firm. The firm originally formed as a way to provide City Repair with architectural and technical expertise. Communitecture has now expanded to include other types of projects in the city as well, but maintains its focus on community and creating a public sense of place.
- Dignity Village, a group of self-organized homeless individuals who began as a tent city in Portland. The grassroots organization is now working with the city to gain access to permanent land on which to build a sustainable and more permanent village of small shelters for the homeless. Lakeman assisted Dignity Village with developing its master plan to present to the city for approval and has been active with the organization from the beginning.