Strange kind of emptiness

by jasmijns

When I go shopping, it’s one empty shop after another. City centres seem emptier every day. And not only city centres, think about old office buildings just outside city centres, disbanded hospitals, schools. Is it a mass movement from city back to the countryside? We need to do something with empty spaces! And that’s exactly what’s happening now. All initiatives have the same cause. Emptiness. But they all solve this problem with different solutions.

The oldest mall in America now hosts 48 charming low-cost micro apartments. Quite a smart thing to get a building literally alive again.

Micro Lofts at The Arcade Providence  Exterior  Photo by Ben Jacobsen
Micro Lofts at The Arcade Providence Living Room  Photo by Ben Jacobsen
Another cool initiative is the community garden designed by 3 students from Cal Poly Pomona’s architecture department. The greater LA area is an industrial wasteland. Many low-income and middle class communities have to deal with air pollution and other environmental issues prevalent in suburban cities. Like the availability of locally grown, organic and affordable vegetables. This way the industrial wasteland becomes a community garden that feeds families from the big city.


What do these initiatives have in common? They give a new meaning to an old place or building. A shopping mall can become an apartment complex. It’s not smart to put a new shop in a building where all the other shops failed ad well. We need to think more creative in stead of going for the same thing over and over again.