On the corner of Brixton Station Road there’s a stacked mismatch of vibrantly painted storage containers, creating an archway entering into what is known as ‘Pop Brixton’.
Passing through the archway entrance you find over 50 shipping containers which have been converted into spaces for retailers, restaurants, street food and events.
In 2015 Brixton Council were unsure of what to do with this patch of land, and so they took the approach of ‘meanwhile-use’, turning the space into something temporary, that benefits the local area. Similarly the first Boxpark came to be, due to the continuous delays to the development on the site.
‘Meanwhile-use’ can be used to bring a hub of community energy to a previously unused piece of land or an empty property. Particularly in the densely populated city of London, leaving spaces to waste is a luxury that can’t be afforded, and following the concept of meanwhile use enhances these areas and can even generate interim income streams.
While Pop Brixton and Boxpark are larger-scale examples, many of our clients have realised the benefits of including a meanwhile-use space in housing developments, seeing it as a key tool in placemaking, a sentiment agreed by several councils who are forming specific meanwhile-use strategies. From cafes to music spaces, craft stalls to flower shops, there are so many ways to quickly and cheaply improve the day-to-day life of communities early on in a development or even before work starts. Lots of councils have implemented meanwhile-use strategies to promote the idea to interested parties.
There are also vast benefits for the community including creating new jobs and increasing footfall which could generate an improved economic outlook for the local area. They are also a great way to show communities that developers are trying to give personality to areas and build more than just homes.
Morven Rushworth, Senior Account Executive, Communities