CultureHouse: Turning vacant shops in to thriving pop-up community spaces

CultureHouse is bringing local communities together in the Boston area by turning unused spaces into places to work, play, and make connections.

The Boston nonprofit has been occupying vacant shops hosting pop-up events such as game nights, community dinners, conversations, film screenings, and live music in efforts to foster community.

CultureHouse aims to be a community living room, for everything from book clubs and brainstorming sessions to ping pong tournaments.

The idea for CultureHouse came from a concept that exists in Copenhagen, where communites can gather in indoor public spaces without anyone having to spend money to use the space. CultureHouse director Aaron Greiner, who studied in Copenhagen, decided to bring the concept to the US to encourage better community interactions in neighbourhoods especially where social infrastructure is limited.

CultureHouse, who also host outdoor events, launched their first indoor pop-up in 2018 at Bow Market in Union Square, Somerville. It has sinced hosted several others but is hoping to find a permanent location in the future. Aaron Grenier said: “We describe ourselves as an indoor public park or a community living room.”

While CultureHouse was specifically created to connect people in cities, it is a concept that can be recreated anywhere in the world including rural areas. Recognising this, CultureHouse has developed an open-source manual, which can be downloaded from the CultureHouse website, that can be used by anyone anywhere wanting to recreate a community space in their area.

CultureHouse

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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