The UK government released a press release last week titled ‘Deputy Prime Minister plans to bring empty buildings back to life in the North’. In his latest blog, Richard Carr considers Nick Clegg’s plan to follow German’s model of using vacant buildings to revitalise communities.
The Betahaus project in Berlin
Founded just five years ago, Berlin’s Betahaus has become one of the largest collaborative working spaces in Europe. Over 2,500 square metres of space is shared amongst artists, creative, business people and start-ups.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city possessed a large amount of very cheap house and industrial space. The low rents appealed to artists and creative people, creating a flourishing cultural scene.
What can the UK learn?
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s plan is to bring abandoned buildings ‘back to life’ in the North of England. Areas such as Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield suffer from a chronic problem where vast sites become empty and unused meaning that whole areas can become blighted.