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Space for creative abundance

2 February 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: David Ford 

“When you give people space to do interesting things, they will”

Lindsey Scannapieco, the co-founder of international urban design and space strategy collective Scout Ltd., witnesses this in her line of work everyday.

Through practical yet playful place-making, Lindsey and her team reinterpret vacant or under-utilised space that works in engaging and empowering the local community to take ownership of their city’s surroundings. From interactive way-finding installations to film festivals constructed entirely from abandoned fridge doors, it’s the engagement of local people that has fuelled the meaningful, long-term outcomes of Scout’s creative spatial projects.

This bottom-up approach has recently been rectified on an immense scale when Lindsey and her team were given the opportunity to reactivate 300,000 square metres of vacant space in her hometown of Philadelphia. Formerly a vocational school, ‘BOK’ enables activity and affordability in creating a revitalised place of making, training, learning and job creation through the utilisation of existing infrastructure.

Reminiscent of The Emporium’s retail, maker, event, and exhibition activation of the former David Jones building, BOK facilitates the likes of artists, small business owners, not for profit organisations, social enterprises, and educators. From an architecture firm and glass blowing studio to a boxing club and even a daycare centre, BOK is flooding the once vacant classrooms with new activity and experiences, 80% of which has been initiated by local Philadelphian residents.

Having visited Newcastle late last year as part of the Vanguard Conference, Lindsey observed a strong maker-centric culture similar to that of BOK and her home city;

“There’s an influx of makers. I think a tourist destination can be driven around that here” Lindsey shared,

“A space where people can learn, watch and understand process and craft”.

Lindsey’s observations echo Renew’s Platform4 concept where local talent will share their skills, knowledge, and craft with the public. Through four key pillars: People’s Platform, Innovation and Education Platform, Event Platform and Hospitality Platform, the station will transform into an inclusive location in the heart of the city built for community, collaboration, work and play.