Pop-Up of the Day: A Portable Public Square

How one London neighborhood is dealing with its troubling public space problem, using a bike.

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Theo Simpson

Slowly, the northwest London suburb of Cricklewood seems to have lost all of its favorite gathering places. The library closed in 2011, and the neighborhood's famous Galtymore Ballroom, once a de facto center for the area's Irish community, shuttered in 2008. Somehow, there isn't even a public bench.

As a way to draw attention to this problem, and offer a small and temporary solution, civic ideas agency Spacemakers has come up with a novel idea: a pop-up town hall, on wheels. Built on the back of a rickshaw bicycle, the faux-brick covered Cricklewood Town Square was designed by  Studio Kieren Jones. The impromptu public square is touring the area for the month of September, hosting events in some of the area's more desolate outdoor spaces. Parking lots seem to be a particular favorite. 

Theo Simpson

The stand parked over the weekend in a grassy area by the neighborhood's large B&Q, a home improvement store. Already, specially planned events have included a "Cricklewoof" dog show and a session where local residents could make signs outlining their vision for the dos and don'ts of the neighborhood's new public space. In the coming weeks, the town square will set up in front of a large bingo hall and on the roof of a parking garage.

Theo Simpson

The project is partially funded by the Mayor’s Outer London Fund, which has dedicated £1.67 million for a more permanent overhaul of Cricklewood.

So this mobile town hall is really just the start. And, as The Independent put it, "It sounds very twee, but it highlights a larger problem with Britain’s public spaces."

(h/t Designboom)

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