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I’m a housing advocate, researcher, and project developer based in  Portland, Oregon and Northern California. I’m Director of Housing Alternatives Network non-profit project, through which I support my and others’ work on various initiatives. See also full list of current and past projects.

More bio details:

  • I was born in Portland, Oregon, then grew up in London for 10 years, then lived in Portland, then New Haven, CT; New York for 14 years; Palo Alto for 3 years; San Francisco, Oakland, & Mendocino County, California for 4 years; now based in Portland and Northern California.
  • Education:
  • Work experience:
    I formerly worked at Stanford University, at Stanford MediaX, and at HighWire Press, as Senior Product Manager for Emerging Content. Previously, I worked at OCLC, Online Computer Library Center, in the Grid Services (i.e. Web Services) group. Before that, at startup Openly Informatics (acquired by OCLC), and Juno Online Services in New York City.
  • Citizenship:
    United States
    United Kingdom
    In application for Republic of Ireland citizenship.

Selected projects (here’s a full project list):

  • Oregon Cooperative Housing Network
    co-developing a new advocacy & development network for cooperative housing.
  • PDX Shelter Forum – online events and discussion forum on alternative shelter and housing for the houseless in Portland. Co-founder and moderator/organizer. Also, in connection with this, Tim coordinates community-sourced analysis and position papers on current issues or legislation, and regularly presents spoken or written testimony to various government bodies such as Portland City Council and Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.
  • Village Collaborative – lead organizer and writer/editor for this national (& somewhat international) network, supporting self-managed communities of cost-effective tiny homes for people in need of housing. It includes a large Facebook group (1700+ members) and a wiki collaboration platform. It is a project of Square One Villages non-profit, based in Eugene, Oregon.
    For more about this, see interview of SquareOne Villages founder and me, “The Village Alternative: Andrew Heben and Tim McCormick Have a Democratic Solution to Houselessness,” by Portland journalist Thacher Schmid, Dec 2020.
  • HousingWiki, an online collaborative platform for research and advocacy materials on housing and land use. (formerly YIMBYwiki).
  • Village Buildings: West Coast housing from the bottom up: an in-progress community book project examining recent innovative and radical “bottom-up” housing programs, and how they fit into or challenge traditions of self-build, social, and community-development housing. It is currently hosted and developed on HousingWiki as an open article collection.
  • Media Distillery (2012-present): a collection of ongoing / intermittent explorations, writings, projects, presentations about tracking, sorting, analyzing personal media use. (“personal librarianship”). Including:
  • Houslets:  an ongoing, intermittent project to research, prototype, and test low-cost, DIY (Do It Yourself), adaptable living spaces. Since 2014 Tim has exhibited, received grant-funding  and lived for several years cumulatively in various prototype dwelling structures. These are designed to be easily built and changed by most people, using easily available materials; but that are capable of compliance with building code, vehicle, or temporary-structure codes. The project has received press coverage in the New York Times, San Francisco Examiner, Silicon Valley Business Journal, KPIX (NBC television news, Bay Area), etc, and received funding from Buena Vista Center for the Arts, the Institute for the Future, the Knight Foundation, a crowdsourcing campaign, and others.
  • BoxShelves: flat-packable, durable, low-cost storage boxes that can also assemble into bookshelves, furniture, & divider walls. This was motivated especially by managing his often-moved book library as noted above, and also for creating interior/flexible spaces on a similar and integratable model as Houslets.

Older projects 

  • New Starter Homes – grant-proposal project originated in 2018 to pilot a large-scale program of low-cost, movable, pre-fabbable, backyard cottages, to create affordability for low-income Portland renters and homeowners, and for disaster / climate change adaptability. (also incorporated into Village Buildings book).
  • Another Design is Possible: 10 Contrarian Design Patterns & Projects is a post / half-serious book proposal from 2013, discussing and linking to various projects from then.
  • co-founder, Open Library of Humanities, in 2012-13:  now the leading online platform for Open Access scholarly journals in the humanities.

Social-media etc information

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