culture Culture 11 October: How to use vacant spaces for social innovation?


Hello people! We continue our series of meetups to figure out how we can get better at building community spaces in the city, in sustainable ways. In the previous culture Culture meetups in May and June we learned about collective access to space, from @yannick, @rmdes, @KatrienR; about why the groups inhabiting and working there have difficulties creating permanent resources, from @Emmanuel @camtesta and others; about the need to build for permanence and actual ownership: we presented The Reef, a new community initiative in Brussels.

On October 11th we will learn about the underused resource of Brussels: space! and how to use it to build more social, cultural, environmental utility around it.

Over 6 million m2 in this city are not creating any value. La 20ᵉ Commune St-Vide- Leegbeek is a collective advocacy effort where many organisations involved in temporary occupations are fighting for change. Read their manifesto here.

Our conversation opener is Isabelle N’diaye @baobaburbain, an urban planner passionate about how different parts of the ecosystem can come together to fix issues. She will present the efforts of St-Vide-Leegbeek so far and insights into how to go forward in what she calls ‘viable articulations’: reaffirm that transitory urbanism is a pragmatic tool that ensure access to spaces and open them for projects with multiple utilities. The next step for St-Vide-Leegbeek is figure out how to model these partnerships between spaces and projects, and make them jump from handcraft to something more sophisticated and economically fruitful.


  1. Short introduction by Isabelle

  2. Open conversation: each participant brings in their own experience and asks questions to the room to get feedback or support for their own work.

  3. Follow up: each participant shares their reflection on the community platform. This ensures we can build continuity and share learnings with others:

Place and time:

18:00 - 20:00 La Buissonnière in St Gilles. After we wrap up we go and have drinks at La Vieille Chechette, a nice social cooperative cafe across the street.


If you’re interested to learn, contribute experience and advice, join us! Simply post a comment below introducing yourself, so we can connect you with others ahead of the meetup.

To be able to go deep in the topic and ensure mutual learning, participation is limited to 10 people, first come, first served.

Please share this and invite others.
Also, Facebook event here: Culture Culture: vacant spaces for social innovation

About culture Culture: an independent platform for informal events happening in different cities where edgeryders community members are based (Berlin, Bedford, Brussels…) We use as a connective digital layer where we can document the events, connect people across issues and ensure continuity and deeper learning for everyone.

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Looking great! Will be there :slight_smile:

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Of course you will, you’re a regular :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’d like to come too! But I’m not sure I can make 18:00

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Welcome on board, ‘edgeryder’ :stuck_out_tongue:

Me too!

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Hi guys! I don’t really have much experience when it comes to this topic, but I’m still interested in joining this event to get inspired, pick up on some views and experiences from others, etc. You think I could join?

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Hi @Joris, of course, you’re welcome to join. How did you hear about it? I’m curious to learn more about you, what you do in Brussels, to make sure the event will be enjoyable for you :slight_smile:

More about me in this recent story which spilled a bit from the main topic into what is ‘home’ for each of us. You’re welcome to read it…

@noemi I saw that one of my facebook “friends” was interested in the event and the topic seemed interesting so I checked it out. I’m a masters student of adult educational sciences. My main field of interest as a student is how empty space can play a role in creating a social dynamic in marginalized communities, by supporting people in those communities to claim those spaces and do their thing with it. I think it’s especially relevant in Brussels, because apparently there’s a lot of unused empty space.

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Hello there !

I’m Louise, member of a non official association who organized a first edition of a festival called Knust Festival (yes it’s a gesture to the official KUNST festival ;)) which took place in “Dépot Design” a furniture shop nearby the Canal (a big building in front of the residency/social Building cheval noir. The first edition was totally self-managed (we had a deal with the owner of the building, we were supposed to give the place one last breath before his demolition).

The festival was based on the possibility for artists for all disciplines to experiment a month of residency in situ, and on each week-end to show the work-in-progress.
It was a success for a festival only managed by volunteers and with a lot of help of all the participant artists.

More informations on the site :

We would like to join the conversation with Louana, other membre to think our second edition. We are actually looking for a new vacant place/space, collaboration, advices, partnership, for the next edition who will be smaller, but more focused on the problematics.

We are impatient to meet you all and exchange !


Sigh. So the building is now being demolished, do you know what will be built instead?
Fun fact: In 2017, Edgeryders also hosted the OpenVillage festival at Quai du Hainaut 23, at Au Quai, artistic collective. I don’t know what happened to that space after, because they were also supposed to move out because the building had to be transformed into something else.

I really liked the dynamic network visualisation on your homepage, we speak the same languages :slight_smile: Some of our online conversations here on the forum are mapped both semantically and as a social network, using technology we have developed. If anytime you will be interested in rendering your network in different ways :stuck_out_tongue: Where will your second festival edition take place?

It was at 19th quai du Hainaut so very very close ! The building is still rented for… a start up of electric bikes called “Cowboy”. We don’t what really happen, but the owner want to sell it to promotors I guess. As usual.

We are actually looking for a new place ! We have some leads but that was also the interest to participate at this meeting, to meet people which are in a kind of way in the same point of view, to find the better place and maybe to build something together !

Interesting this technology, would be great to talk about it !

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Hi everyone: Last minute notice - unfortunately due to force majeure we have to postpone the meetup tomorrow for next week.

Are you available on Monday 14 october?
Same time, 18 00 at the same place.

@joris @marina @Louise @BaobabUrbain ?

Thanks for understanding, and sorry for the late notice! I promise to make up for it with nice food and drinks!!

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Hi everyone,

I’m not sure yet if I’m available on monday, I will let you know asap if someone from our team or me could come.

See you soon !

Le jeu. 10 oct. 2019 à 19:48, noemi via Edgeryders a écrit :

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Okay, no worries! Let us know when you know! Have a great weekend Louise!