Mobile Maker Cart Brings DIY Culture and Capabilities To Neighborhoods in West Philadelphia

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A team of 16-20 year olds from Public Workshop has transformed a used, blue, $180 adult tricycle into a Mobile Maker Cart at the Department of Making + Doing (DM+D) at the University City Science Center.

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A team of 16-20 year olds from Public Workshop has transformed a used, blue, $180 adult tricycle into a Mobile Maker Cart at the Department of Making + Doing (DM+D) at the University City Science Center. Along the way, the creation of the cart has inspired the development of a group of new leaders from schools and organizations across Philadelphia, including the Science Leadership Academy and People’s Emergency Center, expanding DM+D’s capacity to support broad audiences making and doing great things.

The cart has dramatic features such as an expandable workbench and a folding canopy that draw passersby into activities and help them imagine what they can make and do. The wooden handlebar grips, designed and fabricated by two teenage girls with just three tools, are comfortable and user-friendly. The bike’s chain guard, smartphone speaker and pedals are all made of wood; they are functional, gorgeous and could be made by almost anyone.

Throughout November, members of the team will be teaching their first formal classes, helping others make such components as the wooden handlebar grips and enabling them to realize how easy it can be to make improvements to everyday objects like a bicycle.

Earlier this fall, DM+D brought the Mobile Maker Cart to neighborhood block parties in Powelton Village and Spruce Hill. In November, it will support the installation of improvements on vacant lots at 42nd and Lancaster Ave. and 41st and Lancaster in West Philadelphia.

On Thursday, November 6th from 4-6 pm the Mobile Maker cart will be a part of the unveiling of one of these initial improvements, a community message board at 42nd and Lancaster that was created in partnership with the People's Emergency Center. The event will include a DIY community flier making workshop; snacks; the distribution of community service awards that were designed and laser cut by teens at DM+D; and a presentation by the team of teens on their past and future improvement work along Lancaster Ave. All are invited to attend.

The Mobile Maker Cart and related place-making activities are funded by ArtPlace America.

About the Department of Making + Doing
The Department of Making + Doing (DM+D) is a collaboration between four dynamic Philadelphia-based organizations – The Hacktory, NextFab, Public Workshop and the University City Science Center -- which blend expertise in design, fabrication, electronics, and art to encourage learning through doing. DM+D’s hands-on civic innovation workshop provides the space, tools and knowledge to empower youth, adults and community organizations to make and do great things throughout the area. For more information about DM+D, go to http://www.dmdphilly.org.

About the Science Center
The University City Science Center is a dynamic hub for innovation, and entrepreneurship and technology development in the Greater Philadelphia region. It provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and growing and established companies. The Science Center was the first, and remains the largest, urban research park in the United States. Since it was founded in 1963, graduate organizations and current residents of the University City Science Center’s Port business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. For more information about the Science Center, go to ucsc2014review.org.

About ArtPlace America
ArtPlace America (artplaceamerica.org) is a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies accelerating creative placemaking across the U.S. Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, and two anonymous donors. Funds committed to ArtPlace America are under management by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

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Jeanne Mell
University City Science Center
+1 (215) 966-6029
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Kristen Fitch
University City Science Center
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