Vacant lots convey a sense of abandonment that’s rarely good for a neighborhood. That’s why finding a use for the space–even a temporary one–can be a good idea. A pop-up shop or park quickly casts an area in a more positive light.
That was the thinking of officials in Bangor, Northern Ireland. The town had a big lot near its waterfront that hadn’t been used much in a decade. So they decided to convert the space into an artist colony and garden. It now houses six “pods” built from shipping containers, enough for 12 artists in all. You can see the result in the above slide show and a cool time-lapse video here.
Bangor is a classic seaside town that has fallen on tough times. It was a popular vacation destination until the 1960s, but gradually lost out as people started jetting to warmer places. The town has a master plan to redevelop its waterfront. But after 20 years of trying, it’s not funded yet (the recession hasn’t helped).
Paula Quinn, from the local council, says the goal of the project is to “halt the spiral of decay at Bangor seafront,” stimulate footfall in the area, and offer a “focal point for art exhibitions and events.”
The artist pods and garden are open to visitors 24 hours a day. They’re not a permanent solution–the site will close in mid-2015–but they are stimulating interest. “The public has taken the artists enclave to heart. Some artists run workshops from their pod. It has opened up many opportunities for the artists and the community,” Quinn says.