Story (Contextual Explanation)
Let’s first listen to this beautiful song – chosen as our lead awakening sound; Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen; let’s give the boss the floor to serve as a source of inspiration for this significant challenge;
“I was bruised and battered, I couldn't tell what I felt./I was unrecognizable to myself.
What are we really talking about? – How to provide nouveau young homeless the magical formula = home + work.
What is the major site of mass homelessness? – The big metropolises.
Is there real lack of space and work potentialities in the city? -Sure not, as so many spaces are totally dead empty and good for nothing after school and work hours – while they could easily provide both a place to sleep and a new space for creative employment.
Nobody has to be sleeping rough, couch surfing, in crisis or transitional accommodation, no one has to be dead frightened of making the first step into employment.
It might sound too hopeful, so very highly optimistic, but if we look around – big cities have lots of space – expansive real-estate that is totally wasted. Look at all those offices and shops, look at the lecture halls at the universities – just sense the dead stillness of the afterhours; they all stand there bored useless and empty after their open public hours. They are well guarded, they pay a lot of money for safety, they have security forces, surveillance systems – their biggest fear is the dangerous envision of the homeless.
Buts lets imagine now a flower shop that is open just till the early evening, then after 19.00 it closes. Why can’t we make it into a double space from 19.00 till 24.00 it could sell flowers + plants + drinks, cakes and light refreshments in the most romantic setting – what can be better than a rose garden to make all those eternal love promises.
Then again it will open in the morning and serve some natural juices. Now let’s imagine this very same building has a roof space, a back yard, or a balcony that is totally unused. If we take into a new social formula of innovation the time + space that are dead and empty and we make them into 24x7 dynamic creative work and homely hospitable house space, we could increase the income of the owners and at the same time create more jobs + living space for the young homeless.
The same hold truth in regards to lecture halls, and really any public space that has a certain limit of working hours and some empty roof-yard space. Every such urban unit could be made x that is to say it could serve multicultural and several economical functions at the same time. It could have variations after the standard hours, the bookshop could be used as a café as well, the gallery could serve as a club for artsy people or as a yoga studio and a reading room for poetty. All those places, once they have some roof or backyard space, could serve as a youth hostel after the extended longer hours.
Now you can say; oh, what a great idea, but it needs so much energy to turn the one track space into the multipurpose universe, it needs so much renovation, invention, commercial innovation, design, inspiration, flexibility, elastic walls, special arrangements, sophisticated screens, folding sofas, funny pieces of Ikea furniture, smart interiors – who could ever do all that?
And the answer is there is nothing more powerful than the playful energy of youth who feel here is the awesome opportunity to create both a home and a work space where they can feel both at home and as if they are the creators of something entirely new.
You can say; oh well, but that could be a long expensive process that will take lots of time, money-energy-resources to complete. I say not necessarily so; just look into all those Reality TV shows in which you see a neglected apartment turned within a week into a smashing palace by some dynamic trendy designer who makes it into a fun experience for the whole family that trusts their falling apart shabby home into his hands. Imagine the same process with a group of enthusiastic youth, who sense the double opportunity to make their home / work space with their own hands, they will put their hearts into the project as here is a promise to create their universe.
I would like the owners of such spaces – be they public like a collage, or private like a flower & book shop – to see the young homeless – not as their future invaders enemies, but as partners and allies, work force and possible customers, and in that way – once they shake hands and join forces – they can achieve a total positive transformation of a just one-track limited space – into the multi double space total-time formula, that makes it into a dream world – both for the owners, the ex-homeless and the general public, who all share the same transformative urban experience.
The moment we’ll realize the great enriching potential, we’ll be recognizable to ourselves. We’ll see our friendly reflections with new light through lively windows, finally know our own faces.