When Toys “R” Us does a pop-up shop one can certainly make a case for the waning effectiveness of the genre. But despite their co-option by hipsters and marketing gurus, the temporary space remains a sharp tool in the urban revitalization kit. Why? As we well know, cities are starved for cash, their workers weary of bureaucratic obstacles and the word “no.” So they welcome the creative, energetic, and financially prudent efforts of grassroots organizations that have seen opportunity in crisis. Vacant lots, abandoned buildings, parking spaces, and even slivers of pavement, have been transformed by prudent partnerships between governments, artists, architects, and designers, and volunteers motivated to improve their own communities. The best of these efforts are designed to enhance daily life not promote product or “lifestyle.”
1. Transparente Kerk (Transparent Church), various locations in the Netherlands
Maria Popova (@brainpicker) alerted us to what has to be the most unexpected use of a pop-up: The Transparent Church (or Transparante Kerk). Installed in the Netherlands, the structure’s material jibes with its philosophy: sermons are less traditional than, um, transparent. The 30 or so attendees the church accommodates are not preached to, rather they’re encouraged to openly discuss life’s important questions with one another.