Crowd-sourcing: Making the Most of Vacant Spaces

Urban thinker Manu Fernandez has documented some really interesting examples of initiatives that aim to find, and utilise vacant spaces in cities.  Examples include 596 Acres in Brooklyn, Map 4 Emilia in Italy and 3 Space in the UK.  These initiatives rely on community input to document vacant spaces and connect them back to interested community groups.

The group 596 Acres gets its name from the number of acres of vacant land in Brooklyn - which is mostly government owned.  The initiative includes an interactive map of vacant land as well as posters advertised around the neighbourhoods.

What I really like about this project, is that is also includes information about who to contact about using the space.  Not only can you find this vacant space, but even acknowledging that there is someone to contact about it kind of invites you to think about how that space could otherwise be used, and how to start the process of making it happen.  This video includes a few examples of some residents who were encouraged by the posters to contact the owners of the vacant land, with the final result of a neighbourhood garden.  Lovely!

See Manu's article at Ciudades a Escala Humana here (don't worry it's in English).

Click here for a short video about 596 Acres, and here for more info on the project.


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