About

Tim McCormick - headshot

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short bio (October 2020):

Tim McCormick is a housing advocate, researcher, and project developer in Portland, Oregon. He is lead organizer of the Village Collaborative network, editor of HousingWiki, and co-founder of PDX Shelter Forum. Tim is also currently writing/editing in public an open-source community book project, Village Buildings: West Coast housing from the bottom up, and editing/co-writing a book, Apology for the Builder, on 17-19th century London speculative housing, for YIMBY Press.

More bio:

  • Tim 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 and Mendocino and Oakland, California for 3 years; now mostly in Portland.
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  • He graduated from Portland Public Schools, Wilson High School in SW Portland in 1992; then attended Yale University and received a B.A. in Art / Design in 1997. He also has a nearly completed a MSLIS (Library and Information Science) degree from Long Island University / New York University joint program, which included coursework in Computer Science at NYU’s Courant Instittute, and business at NYU Stern School of Business. Tim also studied art and computer science, and worked at Portland State University at various times, including in high school and full-time for 1993-94 academic year.
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  • Tim formerly worked for Stanford University’s MediaX, and Stanford’s HighWire Press, as Sr. Product Manager for Emerging Content. Previously, he 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.
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  • Tim is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K., and also part way to receiving Irish citizenship.

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

  • PDX Shelter Forum – online events and discussion forum on alternative shelter and villages for Portland. Co-founder and moderator/organizer.
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  • 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.
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  • HousingWiki, an online collaborative platform for research and advocacy materials on housing and land use. (formerly YIMBYwiki).
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  • 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.
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  • Media Distillery (2012-present): a collection of ongoing / intermittent explorations in and writings about tracking, sorting, analyzing personal media use. (“personal librarianship”). Including:
    • Reading book shelf.  (a collection in LibraryThing).
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    • Films list (seen, and to see): I’ve been keeping track to varying degrees, since 1986 or so, of films, TV, etc watched and that I want to see. This spreadsheet covers back to around 2002 so far, I’m backfilling it to ’86. You can add or get suggestions here if you like.
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    • My personal book library catalogued on LibraryThing, sorted by most recent entries first. It lists:
      a) books I currently own (“My Library” subcollection) about 1800, most of which are in storage, in indexed boxes so I know in which box any given book is).
      b) books formerly owned (‘deaccessioned’ collection, about 2500 books), read, or checked out from a library. No, I haven’t read all of them.
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    • Web readings archive (Google Sheets): since early 2014, I’ve bookmarked, using the Pocket “read it later” tool, almost all articles & papers I’ve found online, except for casual/skim reads; now up to about 65,000 items. September 2020 I did some script programming (Bash shell, Perl, curl, wget) to retrieve my Pocket URLs archive, unshorten and retrieve the URLs, recover dates, retrieve article titles, and transform the archive into a Google Sheets sheet for further sorting & analysis; also, to inform a next phase web archiver/analyzer tool in development.
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    • Amazon wishlist, books, tools, design objects, etc; sorted by priority. (short link: bit.ly/tims-wishlist).
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    • various essays, presentations
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  • 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.
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    The last structure iteration, which he lived in for most of two years, was an 8′ x 10-foot wide, 8-foot high prototype, with a suspended bed, desk, micro-kitchen, and armchair; set up inside a West Oakland warehouse space. It was then partly converted into and partly transported by a trailer structure which he transported to Portland in 2018. in 2019 he created a version of the structure inside a local storage unit, in part to prototype/visualize using a storage unit as dwelling; and is now exploring how to use components of or a version of it for an adaptable and demountable cargo-van conversion.

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).
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  • 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.
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  • co-founder, Open Library of Humanities, in 2012-13:  now the leading online platform for Open Access scholarly journals in the humanities.

Contact & social-media information

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