Repurposing Industrial Sites through Temporary Use

Last year, ReadyMade broke the news about the dumpster pools of Brooklyn—a story that quickly grew wings and took off, gathering attention from corners of the mediasphere as varied as the New York Times, BoingBoing, ABC News and NPR. This year Macro-Sea, the company that conceived and built the pools, is back with a new project, a “psychological recycling center” called Glassphemy! (Read the New York Times article about Glassphemy!, here.) And ReadyMade is teaming up with Macro-Sea to sponsor a contest to get our readers involved in the recycling and design process, too.

Not so long ago, in Philadelphia, a meeting of architects and urban planners was convened by the Community Design Collaborative to think of ‘interim uses’ for empty lots around the city. One of the lots in question was always strewn with piles of broken glass. The architects and urban planners furrowed their brows in thought: would it be possible to create a project that would lure people away from their littering ways, converting the lot for more constructive uses?

A plan is powerful. Lines on a page are often the first step towards realizing the transformation of a space, or a neighborhood. The Community Design Collaborative is driven by this idea.

“Design is not a luxury,” explains Executive Director Beth Miller. The organization was founded in 1991 by a group of architects and planners who wanted to improve Philadelphia neighborhoods. For 20 years, the Collaborative has been coordinating pro-bono preliminary design services for community groups, helping them realize their ambitions while offering pragmatic council.