The RHINOHOPPER Tea Garden HUB is a pilot design & development project of BeautifulCommunities.org, a social profit. The design intent is for it to serve a multipurpose role: hybrid, coupling agent, refuge, hub, nucleating platform, forum, stage and an outlet. It is a fractal antenna of hope, for design & innovation by dialogue, engagement and exploration. Some $40,000 worth of investment in design time, materials, labor, tool time, etc have already gone into making it; now we need to complete the construction to meet the specific, local functional application.
Our ultimate metric for success is beauty; beauty as expressed in the health, wealth and resilience of the local community. The RHINOHOPPER Tea Garden HUB project is aiming to deliver on the promise, potential and opportunity to transform a tough urban landscape in a rich, deep, organic way, well beyond concrete, steel and parks. The end result is a vibrant, safe, and inspiring environment that fosters openness, understanding, healing, friendships, unconventional partnerships, creativity and bold action. An important ingredient for our collaborative success is the deep diverse engagement of local community members who have been essential to its success so far.
History and Purpose
Tyler Pew and associates in the design program at the California College of the Arts built the RHINOHOPPER's skeleton. It's structurally complete, moveable on wheels and functionally needs a few things for our adaptation. We envisioned and secured this designer kiosk to be an urban oasis of sanity and serenity in the form of a tea garden-centered hub for innovation, health, opportunity and prosperity. Three micro-enterprises have already been seeded to use the RHINOHOPPER: a) A healthy juices and drinks outlet b) A horticulture therapy supplies and service station and c) An outlet for green home, farm and personal products from companies such as CleanWell, Aquabella Organic Solutions and The Happy Company. Now, we need to get the RHINOHOPPER functionally ready for these enterprises and more to come!
The RHINOHOPPER is intentionally located at the high foot-traffic, high-crime Mendell Plaza in the Roots Community Garden that's stewarded and nurtured by Marlene Harris of the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, a 501(c)(3) social profit. The plaza is located in the town center of Bayview Hunters Point, a San Francisco community with deep roots, some scars but tremendous potential for change and accumulated social capital. Mendell Plaza is a busy town center that also attracts many alcoholics, seniors, unemployed adults, youth, many homeless individuals, drug-dependents and occasionally a few violent individuals who render the public space unsafe especially for children and the elderly. As a start to break the Catch-22 loops of our society, we need a new, accessible and effective hub for engaging a diverse spectrum of the community's people where they are, offer healing, absorb stress, nourishment, education, many ramps to productive work and lighthouses of hope for a better life and world. With this hybrid promise and primordial purpose, the RHINOHOPPER is now anchored in this specific location.
We need to complete its functional HUB design by installing the following:
- Washing station / sink as required by the Department of Public Health (DPH)
- Tea garden seating from reclaimed wood, by local unemployed residents
- 2 KW solar panel and battery charging system for powering light appliances
- 5 KW Solar-thermal steam generator for Tea / Food Preparation (Solar collector + Fresnel lens array) and for pumping water/air for future Aquaponics system
- Water storage containers 2 x 30 Gallons, required by DPH
- Wastewater storage container, 1 x 30 Gallons, required by DPH
- Mini fridge for storing perishables like milk, required by DPH
- Dust-cover awning flaps
- Surface treatments for rust prevention and for painting signs
- Safety devices to protect against rough edges and hazards
- Shelving for mini-storage
- Audio system for public jukebox using phones and streaming music
- Mobile phone charging dock accessible from outside garden too, 24 x 7 hours
- WiFi Router for use by RHINOHOPPER Tea Garden's clients
Neighbors and Partners
The RHINOHOPPER has already been successfully tested by the youth-run supper club next door, Cora Jean's OldSkoolCafe, to serve their wonderfully soulful food. Rays of sunshine like Teresa Goines and Josh Kemble of Old Skool Cafe and Eskender Aseged of Radio Africa & Kitchen grow herbs in the garden organically for their adjoining restaurants on the plaza and across the street. James Moore of the 3rd Street Corridor Project, an economic revitalization initiative of the City of San Francisco through the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center's Bayview Business Resource Center has been a capstone partner in supporting and encouraging this project with his sleeves rolled up. Community leader Dan Dodt, an active member of Mendell Plaza Presents and developer of the innovative Market on Third project, has engaged, integrated and supported the RHINOHOPPER project as part of a larger community wide effort to revitalize the district. La Shon Walker of the Bayview Merchants Association has been a champion for the project and its application as a time-share office/retail space for local businesses, artisans and entrepreneurs.
The RHINOHOPPER also serves as an educational venue for innovation;
Project leader, Sudeep Motupalli Rao, PhD recently presented to stakeholders at the RHINOHOPPER, the elements and applications of "Cradle to Cradle Design" developed by Architect Bill McDonough and Chemist Dr. Michael Braungart, to explore its potential with the local community, for transforming Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco into a cradle for a new 21st century regional economy through green chemistry, eco-effective manufacturing, smart jobs and the shared abundance of prosperity. Other presentations included those at a June 02012 workshop by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), sponsored by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and another presentation at the UC Hastings School of the Law sponsored by LISC and the Office of Workforce & Economic Development of the City and County of San Francisco. An upcoming presentation at PechaKucha-SF's August 28, 02012 meeting at SPUR will include the RHINOHOPPER Tea Garden project as part of the talk titled: "Designing Beautiful Communities".
The RHINOHOPPER is gently transforming the surrounding ecosystem deeply:
- When it was time to prep the RHINOHOPPER and get it ready, some of the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves included perennially intoxicated individuals but who were bright, alert and sober for the occasion
- A single mother at life's confusing crossroads found clarity, purpose and motivation to her studies and work
- People who've spent a decade or two in incarceration have won our unconditional trust by their humanity, commitment and engagement in the project
- Successful fundraisers and benefit meals have been hosted through the RHINOHOPPER for local community based organizations
- A veterans group interested in Clean Technology has expressed sustained interest in projects here due to the design
- Locals have embraced its unique design and function in spite of its external origin because it offers an inspiring, robust and functional framework to embed and integrate the dreams, values and social texture of our community
- Kids breezing through the garden pause curiously to explore the porous texture of the RHINOHOPPER's design and wrap their imagination through it
We're creating beautiful communities by design, innovation and lots of love.
Please invest and support this community-creative social profit project. This could be the most impactful tax-deductible contribution you make this year. We're looking forward to "breaking" a champagne bottle on the RHINOHOPPER's hull this Labor Day, Monday Sept 3, 02012. You'll come join us, won't you?!
- (36 days)