No Parking Transparency

This Community Garden Space was created in the spring of 2015 to provide the following to its subscription members:

 

  • Safe and secure space for personal Tiny House projects 

  • Financially accessible membership rates

  • Opportunities to collectively experiment in regenerative environmental systems

 

What is now Called Neighborship “No Parking” has gone through many names including: “Eternal Sunshine Kingdom, ChickenTown, DuckTown, Jenkins Racoon Garden, Detritus and now Neighborship ”No Parking, but the vision has always remained the same, to be a place where Tiny Homes on wheels can call home.

This Page will hold the history of the space, its operating documents, financials and news coverage.

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History

In the winter of 2014/2015, after a City of Oakland Planning Department intervention at a lot known as the Triangle where nearly 10 tiny homeowners were displaced with a month’s notice, a group of 5 tiny home members relocated together to this space with the reality of what can go wrong fresh in their minds. We had a vision of a demonstration site for off-grid affordable urban-based tiny home pocket communities on vacant lots that could be replicable.

 

The group had a cultural distaste for meetings and formal rules, and was made up of close enough friends, in some cases recently bonded by the move, that things generally hashed themselves out over a joint by the fire. Administratively, one person naively took on the role of signing leases and accounts through his personal accounts, seeing this as his part of contributing to the space. Every month he would calculate how much was spent, document it on a public google spreadsheet and divide those totals by 5 for reimbursement. The goal was to see how cheap it could get. We secured the internet months before we connected water to the site, before that water was hauled in by bike. We set up a porta potty because our last space had false accusations of mismanaged composting toilets assigned to it, we didn't want to give any reason to be shut down again.

 

We all took an oath very seriously to keep the space quiet and stay under the radar. Eventually, an outdoor shower was constructed, trees haphazardly planted and the foundations of the infrastructure began to take shape. Piles of construction debri were cleared and consolidated to make space for more tiny homes. Disputes arose around open space, should it be for more garden beds or so and so’s second car? Three of the founders were longtime pedicab drivers in SF, and the space served as a hub for pedicabbers needing a place to crash on weekends while they worked Giant’s games or were in between housing situations. When we had chickens it was known as Chickentown, when we got ducks--Ducktown. The original group dubbed the space Eternal Sunshine Kingdom because it was scrawled on the fence outside, Many other names including Jenkins Racoon Garden, The Parking Conspiracy, Detritus, and now Neighborship “No Parking” have been used. At one point every member in the space was a pedicabber. 

 

Eventually, a pattern formed of people coming into the space in the spring/summer and being offered an equal share of the costs burden as the founding members and then those newer members would leave in the winter and leave those same established members with larger costs to shoulder to keep it alive. 

 

A two-tiered structure was developed to counter that pattern which offered a way to reward and reimburse those who invested their money and time early on and were responsible for keeping the space alive. Newer members paid a flat $400 a month and the long term members split what was left over of the costs. The best it got was $200 a month. There were some winter months when those members had to pay closer to $500 a month.

 

There were still problems with this setup, namely the person managing the money had no reserves for incidentals so they came out of his pocket and were accounted for later, there was never agreement or a mechanism to get consent on infrastructure improvements and investments so a barest of bones infrastructure remained. The costs began to rise at the same time the membership changed to one with more expectations that someone (management) address maintenance issues, step in and resolve disputes and hold people accountable to agreements in the space. The only person who couldn't say “not it” was the one collecting the money, this person also began to understand the liability he unknowingly stepped into and the consequences that would squarely fall on him in the event of the worst-case scenario. 

 

He stepped into that responsibility by professionalizing the administration of the space-based on best practices borrowed from the Berkeley Student Cooperative, Trailer Park property management, and residential apartment property management. This process has been gradual and is still underway. In 2018 Adam Garrett-Clark formed Tiny Logic LLC and began offering admin and operations services to a similar but separate tiny home community in west Oakland whose founders wanted to move on and needed someone else to take on that role. Leases and bills for the initial site were transferred.  

At this point within the remaining founding members at this space there was a debate between the founders about the future of the space. Garrett-Clark felt the community would be exposed to shutdown if it didn't professionalize, and felt it unfair to hold all the responsibilities of managing the space without compensation and the other two founders were comfortable with the way things were. Garrett- Clark has yet to collect compensation for the work that he does to operate this space. And has invested his own money in infrastructure improvements to get code compliant and in a position where this space can withstand the scrutiny of the 5 ‘O clock news and not be shut down. 

 

That situation arose in the fall of 2020, when a Neighbor with malicious intent, manipulated Oakland Code enforcement to investigate the lot, weaponizing the blight and zoning codes that currently forbid affordable housing on wheels. The community created a petition, invited news cameras in, and filed an appeal. At the same time an ordinance that would change these codes was introduced and Oakland City Council will decide the fate of this community and this model in the winter of 2021.  

In 2021, it became clear that this model is best suited for a Non-profit. The original thesis of Tiny Logic, that you could create a model for affordable DIY Tiny Home Communities where a modest profit would motivate policy and investors to scale was wrong. The math didn’t work. In addition despite the fact that no profits were harvested, the perception of a for-profit entity operating a space that pushes the boundaries of habitability standards was politically problematic. Conspiracies of slumlordism began to be levied as trust broke down among some of the newer members removed from the original vision and context of the space. 

 

In March of 2021, Neighborship corporation was formed. It is currently completing its By-laws and application to the IRS for 501c3 tax-exempt status. The thesis of Neighborship financially is that the need for infrastructure and more comprehensive labor to operate the space can come from grants and fundraising rather than relying solely on monthly membership payments, which allows them to stay as low as possible. 

Neighborship’s thesis for communities is that there is a combination of traditions, systems, and processes that can be adaptable to the changing character of who lives in those spaces, anti-fragile enough to resolve conflicts and catastrophes, and give people the community that we all need without asking so much of their time energy and emotional labor. Raising money to pay people full-time to facilitate that process also allows Neighborship to operate spaces where people with little to no income may need more support, leaning into "Human-Care." 

Tiny Logic is currently prototyping this approach with a community of 16 people who were formerly camped at Union Point Park who will be operating their own "Co-Governed" Tiny Home community on a piece of City of Oakland land just east of Lake Merritt. Neighborship hopes to inherit this work in the coming years, and further experiment with how to get people housed in community with as little to no cost to them as possible.