El Timbiriche: A Mobile Wellness Unit

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In a community underserved by formal healthcare, how can alternative wellness practices be made accessible, visible, and participatory in public space? As mobile collector + distributor, El Timbiriche offers a low-tech model for user engagement + empowers those who share their expertise. It invites several forms of participation on the street: from its ready-to-write-on chalkboard surfaces to a bike that rewards when ridden by powering digital tablets on hand. The project finds success in neighborhood place-making as means to a larger goal of digitally documenting unwritten stories, remedies, and traditions passed down through generations.
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July 22, 2014
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El Timbiriche, meaning “little kiosk,” will act as both an interactive information collector and distributor and travel along designated routes to reach those who normally wouldn't be reached.
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This is a disinvested + environmentally toxic area, where asthma, diabetes, or obesity afflicts over half the residents. El Timbiriche aims to make traditional healthy practices accessible again.
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A modular design unfolds + aggregates to offer flexibility in use and multiple scales of indoor/outdoor social space. It is a kit of parts for single assembly as well as for 1 unit in a larger system.
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Exchanging ideas through community workshops + public presentations at every stage of the design process has demonstrated that although modest in scale, the project's impact will be widespread.
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Users participate by writing/drawing recipes on chalkboard surfaces, sharing stories via tablets and videos, sampling remedies at this outdoor classroom, and riding a bike to generate electricity.
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El Timbiriche targets Latino residents of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is a disinvested + environmentally toxic area, where many suffer from asthma, diabetes, + obesity w/ unaffordable options for care. The unwritten, traditional healing knowledge entrenched in the community must be documented, shared + made visible.

 
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El Timbiriche moves through neighborhoods to collect + document health remedies from the elderly to pass on to the young. Its interactive, modular design ensures flexibility in use for various social space scenarios – from school gymnasium to street fair. The exchange of ideas ameliorates the health crisis in the community.