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The cart

(in Mexico) may be a tool for us to engage, talk, connect with local people and the neighbourhood. It is powered by people, for the people. A platform to uncover local (hi)stories, research local needs, and possibly explore how public spaces could be expanded to serve these needs.

(Inspiration from Mexico and elsewhere, earlier compilation, design world examples, also resources, related projects)

www.erench.com_restaur_mexico_snra_htdg_hot01.jpg image source

Research themes

We will borrow the methodology of design anthropology and participative field research (walk alongs), and look into:

-sociality and informal economy of the (existing) street cart:
as an open, mobile lounge/living room (potentially with with seating, reading materials, making workshops and tools, simple snacks/tea, music, TV…
(article on the sociality, solidarity and politics around street food carts in Mexico City)

- centers of expertise and interviews with local makers (networks, economics, ethics: collaborating rather than competing)
- everyday life hacks (everyday resourcefulness), and sharing them
- the social ecology of the place. eg. mapping Panchitos history; history of the neighbourhood, physical changes and modifications of houses and streets
- planting and gardens: to investigate the collective knowledge on planting, to collect seeds and memories about gardening, plant usage
- urban spaces in-formation: reformable spaces for sport, „direct trade shop“, „Zwischenraumnutzung“ („ between use of space“, corresponding projects: the gramsci monument (, the Kinderspielstadt concept (
- what is missing in the neighbourhood? what else could be possible? how could a street cart be 'hacked' to serve purposes other than commerce? who are the local people who might make use of an expanded cart?
- music, local compilations, library of dance moves (DIY music compilations from Mexico
- making/playing, open workshops

»frameworks and questions to ask people: e.g. what is abundance to you?


making, using, modifying, leaving behind the cart:

  • ways for us to learn from and work with the local conditions and the people there
  • making the cart through experiencing/exploring the America neighbourhood, by seeing what is already there, accompanying existing street carts (and the people who use them), tracing where the carts are made/repaired
  • the whole happening (research, building and using the cart) is our goal, the focus is not just in using the 'finished' cart (which will probably be constantly modified)
  • designing, making, building, using, repairing, customising will be done collaboratively with local people, by - going to local workshops; - asking neighbours for donation/borrowing tools/furniture -hosting open making workshops on the street (e.g.decorating and painting together)
  • it is important to consider what happens to the cart after we leave: ideally, to find local caretakers who will make use of it.
  • the form does not need to be a 'cart'. eg. it could be a toolkit box/backpack that we carry,
  • several small trolleys, a wheelie chair base (see dropbox for examples)

Materials and Economy

In line with the ideas of solidary/sharing economy, we would like to exchange our budget as tokens of gratitude: instead of buying new materials from faraway lands and alienated labour, we will seek/exchange/borrow local spare parts and 'upcycle' local waste. This involves making friends with local people and initiatives who work with such materials, e.g. bike workshops, rubbish collection places, makerspaces etc. political and socially-oriented hacker space in Mexico City

image source

cart.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/31 10:58 by xin