How to Turn an Empty Space into a Pop-Up Community Hub How to Turn an Empty Space into a Pop-Up Community Hub

How to Turn an Empty Space into a Pop-Up Community Hub

by Hunter Franks

June 25, 2013

Imagine meandering through 14,000 square feet of a vacant building. It’s an eerie feeling. Each floorboard creaks as you survey for clues of what was here before and imagine what could be next.

Those 14,000 square feet would become [ freespace ], a temporary space in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood that aims to foster creativity, community and civic innovation. Below, based on lessons learned with [freespace], are five steps to turn a vacant building into a thriving temporary community space.

4. Invite the community to program the space

Collaboration between you and friends, partners, and local organizations has gotten you this far. Now it is time to collaborate with the community that you’re in. As you reach out to the community, invite them to bring their dreams and passions to the space. The space can provide someone the opportunity to teach a yoga class for the first time or create their first mural. Empowering people will benefit not only your space, but the surrounding community as well.

5. Create projects that will live outside of the space

Now you have created an amazing creative, collaborative space with murals, workshops, concerts. But what happens once the property owner finds a long-term tenant? Creating scalable, sustainable projects that can live outside of the temporary space will help you prove the impact that this model can achieve. Identify the challenges and needs of your community, and start working on a project that will improve your neighborhood. If you don’t finish the project in time, don’t worry. You can continue it when you find your next vacant building to activate.

(Bonus tip)

6. Have fun!

It’s going to be hard not to.

Support [freespace] on Indiegogo.

Top warehouse image via Shutterstock; other images courtesy of [ freespace ].

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How to Turn an Empty Space into a Pop-Up Community Hub