Monday, 26 October 2009

pop up

The pop up concept, moveable locations for shops, bars, clubs etc could be used to create zones of non consumption. All these closed down shops could become a visual, aural, physical respite.. Meanwhile Space are working out how to use these places more easily.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I wrote this as a report for an Magazine on the first national conference of the Empty Shops Network, Worthing, October 19th 2009
    One in Six town centre properties will be empty by January 2010. “let us fill those voids creatively, cheer ourselves up” Tim Anselm from The Beekepers might have said it but it was clear in the upbeat attitude of almost all of those at the Empty Shops conference. A positivity even echoed by the host, CEO of Worthing Borough Council. Local councils see any empty shops initiative as a seed of new forms of entrepreneurism, possible routes out of the current urban stagnation. Action for Market Towns explained how this could work in rural regions, post tesco envelopment. Space Makers Network, a London based collaboration that meets monthly to discuss issues around using vacant properties told how 3rd spaces can de developed, places that are neither home, work nor a commercial location. All participants were keen to share their experiences, ideas and practical solutions to problems that crop up on the way. Problems often initially perceived as financial but when discussed usually turn out to be legal or logistical. Local Authority regeneration officers offered insight into planning strategies. They showed how business rates went directly to central government, that discretionary rate relief was local, rationed and had begrudgingly to be topped up by the council. Arts officers offered advice on change of use of commercial buildings. The decline of the city centre is nothing new but this is a period of such all round economic confusion that there is little point waiting for others to get on with it or to delay for want of a bit of funding. This is the new normal. Popup shops, business start up initiatives, the collapse of chain stores, local authority despair, six week lets, anti-squat guardians, even government funding; they are all there to be grabbed and played with. Dan Thompson from RAG, one of the co-ordinators of the conference explained the upfront approach followed by Coventry Artspace. He gave the bare bone facts on the scale of empty buildings 12% nationally, 14% in Coventry, 60, 000 in England. City centre managers were good contacts for finding who actually owned the properties. Templates for Short Term Building Leases and Insurance were offered by Meanwhile Projects, who have an Empty Spaces workbook available on their forum site Meanwhilespace.ning. for more info on Empty Shops Network and to download the workbook..