From a small pilot edition in 2014, Pop Up Lab has grown to become a living social laboratory of practices and models for urban regeneration policies.
Since its first edition, the challenge was to address the crisis of many urban neighborhoods and areas, where the systematic closing down of local shops has been triggering reduction of community ownership, increased sense of insecurity and decay. By facilitating collaborative synergies between public authorities, store owners, entrepreneurs, creatives and local residents, the project allows the temporarily re-use of the many vacant spaces as a stimulus to trigger new functions and revitalize these areas, encouraging re-appropriation and social relations.
Concretely, we identify a vulnerable area in partnership the municipal authority, we map the vacant storefronts, we contact their owners and support them in stipulating agreements to grant them free of charge for 3-5 months to the best commercial, cultural and entrepreneurial projects selected through a specific call for ideas.
To support these openings, we work on strengthening the skills of popuppers, local residents and community actors, we facilitate the constitution of local networks and alliances and we help them design engaging community events.
To date, we supported the startup of innovative projects and new collaborative networks in 12 editions of Pop Up Lab, contributing to the reopening of urban areas in cities that have taken up this challenge with us, trusting that the temporary reopening of activities and the activation of local communities can contribute to revitalize the commercial and social fabric of their public spaces, thus strengthening inclusion and social cohesion.
Promoted and funded by the Regional Government of Tuscany, the several editions of Pop Up Lab have contributed to effective policy-making by innovating the Regional Code on Trade and Commerce with specific provisions to support and facilitate the temporary and shared use of empty storefronts and commercial areas. The project is also a recognized best practice in the integrated regional approach to urban security.
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