We work to unlock the potential of vacant property by making it available for initiatives and ideas in search of space. We do believe that the public discourse on cities in transition needs to be brought forward and animated through a plurality of spatial representations.
Our idea is to enable the use of inbetween spaces for citizen-driven, "folkbildande" and community-centered initiatives in the local environments of the neighboring cities Malmö and Lund. However, we do cooperate with like-minded actor networks and initiatives all over Sweden to share resources, experience and collectively accumulate knowledge about alternative ways to spatial developments in our cities.
We work as an intermediary between initiators and property owners to gain access to empty stores, buildings and open spaces. We pass them on to a diversity of actors and thereby we aim to shift the perception of gaps in the city being seen as a potential rather than a problem.
In our cities commercial spaces and business activities decline while new ones eventually evolve. However this process is anything but smooth and narratives such as “butiksdöd” (store-death) have become part of the common everyday language with which we grasp and create notions of the city. The fluctuation in the traditional cityscapes comprising of stores, cafes and open spaces to meet leave us with inbetween spaces in the most frequently and equally used public spheres of the city. These remain empty and inaccessible while awaiting further commercial businesses to fill the gaps with similar intentions. Yet the decline of commercial spaces create opportunities to rethink the composition of public spaces. By engaging different constellations of actors Mellanrum aims to create alternative dynamics and patterns that shape the common ground for city life. With a citizen-centered approach we seek to contribute to a more pluralist physical environment.
Mellanrum is a project initiated and run by Folkuniversitetet and is our way of trying to work with and enable a sustainable city development. Folkuniversitetet has a long history of democratizing education and acting to change society. Ever since it was started Folkuniversitetet works to enable citizens to meet and develop tools to change oneself and one’s environment.
The idea for Mellanrum has been set up under the roof of Folkuniversitetet, thereby it is grounded on the basis of fundamental, common values. As a pilot project Mellanrum works to develop an intermediary enabling the use of inbetween spaces to facilitate citizen-generated urban development. We believe that our perspectives can contribute to and enable a more sustainable, human and democratized city development process. Mellanrum is a way of trying it out.