Shop Talk 04: Meanwhile Use

How can we unlock the community potential of unused spaces?

For instance, by transforming and reusing former industrial buildings, creating pop-up parks or temporary urban community gardens on previous industrial sites?

Such unused or underused spaces are often referred to as “meanwhile” as they are interim solutions, ways to rejuvenate spaces while waiting for long-term development plans or construction to commence.

More often today meanwhile strategies play a significant role in defining character for placemaking and identity in developing urban districts. Due to new consumer and citizen demands, businesses, retail and creative start-ups have an increasing desire for unusual spaces and authenticity. As for urban planning and regeneration projects, these existing structures or spaces offer a potential for a more organic and sustainable growth, incorporating a slower and more flexible rate of local micro-economies to develop, that may give another life to communities and heritage. That builds value both from a neighbourhood perspective as well as create real estate value.

How can these projects be cleverly integrated into urban renewal; drivers to create public value and new experiences? With expanded cultural and employment possibilities. Could a meanwhile-strategic-approach ensure that urban development and building projects become less exposed to “the unpredictable gamechangers” (such as Covid-19) and instead have the potential to drive innovation and community engagement?



Jonathan Goring, U + I, London (UK)
Jenny Grettve, Director of Jenny Grettve Studio, Malmö (SE)
Tom Holbrook, Director of 5th Studio, London (UK)
Claudia Alex Laroux, Director of Culture of Tunnelfabrikken, Copenhagen (DK)
Kieran Long, Director of ArkDes, Stockholm (SE)
Johan Pitura, KS Malmö Director, Malmö (SE)


Date and time:

27th May, 2020, 8 am – 9 am