Making empty spaces work again

Yesterday I went along to a meeting of the Space Makers network, which exists online here, and last night was generously hosted in London with real wine and beer by NESTA. The aim of the network is to increase and expand our “third spaces” … those places that are not primarily work or home where we can meet, create, whatever. In particular to do that by bringing empty spaces into use.

I guess that “is your conference room doing anything this evening” is a good pitch to an innovation agency. Thanks to Roland Harwood and the Connect team there.

On the wider front, one effect of the recession is that there are more empty shops which could just be disguised with a picture in the window, but ideally could be put to better short-term use. Of which more later.

The organiser was the ever-inventive Dougald Hine, who co-founded the School of Everything, and who is promoting among other projects The Institute for Collapsonomics – “a collection of outlandish thinkers exploring strategies for mitigating and adapting to instability in key systems”.

The event format was splendid: have a drink, sit down and say who you are for two minutes each, spot the people you want to talk to, return to the refreshments. Excellent use of of third space.

Dougald explains Spacemakers in the video, and gives news of some practical action: mapping empty space on Tower Hamlets on July 4. Check in to Spacemakers for more info … I think there should be something there soon.

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