Freie Internationale Tankstelle – Fill up on creativity
In radically efficiency one of our conclusions are:
Success depends on central government’s ability to ‘let go’ of the reins of innovation and liberate local innovators to develop new systems that will serve their communities in different – and better – ways, for much lower cost.
We base this recommendation on the more than hundred case studies we have analysed in the report. Although we have finished the research for radical efficiency and is looking forward to publishing it in early June, this doesnt mean that we don’t daily come across great innovations from around the world. I have previously blogged about Detroit and how residents there in a reaction to the lack of fresh produce in the city (the supermarkets stay away from down town detroit in fear of the extreme crime), are starting to grow fresh produce on the sites that once hosted abandoned factory buildings.
Another great example of reusing the and recreating abandoned buildings in the public space is Freie Internationale Tankstelle or in english Free international gas station (F.I.T.).F.I.T is led by the german artist Dida Zende, who travels around the world, converting abandoned gas stations, often placed in poor neighbourhoods, in to cultural centers. He does this first by painting the stations red and white, and then opens them up to musicians, painters and other artists who need a place to develope their art. The gas stations are open to the public, so everyone can now go what was once an abandoned building and get a dosage of art. As Zende puts in in an interview with the danish newspaper politiken (my translation):
I started F.I.T to rethink the gas station as a phenomena. Where they have previously served as stations for natures exhausted resources, they are now being converted so they create a new and creative energy.
F.I.T is, like the citizens in Detroit, an example of how innovative people can be, and how they can help generate value where there previously was none, by rethinking how we use the public space. The questions is how ready are authorities to let go of the reins and let people innovate buildings in their neighbourhoods, and as we recommend in Radical Efficiency, around their public services?