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How a Vacant Warehouse Became a Hub of Community Collaboration How a Vacant Warehouse Became a Hub of Community Collaboration
Design

How a Vacant Warehouse Became a Hub of Community Collaboration

by Hunter Franks

June 17, 2013

Homelessness. Poverty. Blight. Crime. Drugs.

Like many urban areas, San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood is filled with these challenges. But, with these challenges come an enormous potential for change.

In recognition of the National Day of Civic Hacking, a group of civic innovators set out to create a temporary space that would create lasting community solutions. Utilizing established partnerships, we acquired a vacant 14,000 square foot warehouse in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood for the rent of $1 for the month of June.

This is [ freespace ], and it has transformed a vacant building in a blighted neighborhood into a thriving hub of collaboration and creativity.

[ freespace ] fosters creativity, community, and civic innovation through the gift of free space. [ freespace ] gives people a place to launch their passion, create art, hone a skill, find support for projects, and build community—with each step making San Francisco a better place to live.

Artists have filled the space, inside and out, with beautiful murals. Free workshops and classes, from design thinking to yoga, are taught daily. Open mics and concerts fill the space with music. Conversation comes naturally, and ideas sprout up consistently.     

[ freespace ] has also been a catalyst for solutions that will have an impact outside of our four walls. A free bikeshare program has been established. A neighborhood storytelling project has launched. Plans are underway for a learning shelter that will provide homeless individuals with the skills to be makers and artists. What was a gravel lot is now a volunteer-run, educational community garden.    

These projects are all off to great starts, but they need one more month to utilize the [ freespace ] resources and collaborative spirit to realize the community impact they hope to achieve. Support [ freespace ] and help this experiment in civic hacking and community-building live on for another month!

This project is part of GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.


 

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