The most exciting part of my work with Community Planning Workshop over the past two terms was the opportunity to effect real, concrete, positive change in the community through the Oregon RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network) project. I came into the project with a little background in local economic development through a prior internship in the Community Development division of Eugene’s Planning and Development Department. Through that work, I got a firsthand glimpse of a city working to rebuild its downtown core into a thriving economic center, celebrating triumphs, working through setbacks, and gradually transforming itself. When I saw in January that one of our CPW projects would be about local economic development, I immediately knew that I wanted to contribute to that work of transformation.
The “real” and “concrete” descriptors I used are important to me too. I am also in my third year of the Master of Architecture program, which I’ve found to be a great complement to my planning education, but doesn’t easily lend itself to actually affecting the real world. Even when our studio projects involve real sites and real clients – such as the Springfield urban design project I did through the Sustainable Cities Initiative – they generally don’t lead to anything actually being built. As a result, CPW was a nice change of pace: we actually got to build something that, while not tangible like a library or a row of townhouses, has the potential to make a real difference in the local economy.
There were challenges along the way, though, and the biggest and most constant one for me has been time management. This is partly due to the fact that I finished the second half of my architecture terminal studio during the first half of CPW, and partly due to my son Miles being born on February 24. Add to that my two-year-old daughter Stella, my wife Monica, my other classes, and my job all vying for attention, and I’m in constant jeopardy of dropping at least one of the many balls I’ve got in the air. Not that I’m complaining; on the contrary, all the love and support I get from my amazing wife and beautiful kids reminds me why I’m juggling in the first place.
About the Author: Dan Reid is a concurrent M.Arch/MCRP student, and enjoys nerding out on music, martial arts, astronomy, and old racing cars.