In your words… Tell us about your organization, business, initiative.
CultureHouse is an urban design nonprofit that uses creative placemaking to address global challenges at the local scale. We transform unused places into vibrant community pop-ups, work with partners to implement easily implementable urban design solutions, and conduct research into new ways of making livable cities.
As an organization dedicated to lasting change, we empower others to create public spaces in their own communities. Right now we are working on a project in Peabody that will provide a free wi-fi lounge, kiosk, and space for community classes.
Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do? Share your passions for your business, initiative, organization.
CultureHouse provides a range of services that adapt our community-oriented design process to address critical needs. In addition to working directly with collaborators, we document and open-source our projects—setting guidelines for others who want to create vital public spaces in their own communities.
We are passionate about our work because we believe it is a critical part of addressing the issues of our time. In his book, Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg argues that “building places where all kinds of people can gather is the best way to repair the fractured societies we live in today”. By increasing access to social infrastructure, we create the conditions for communities to tackle climate change, social inequality, political division, and cultural isolation.
What role do you think your business plays in supporting a more creative community? OR your community in general. (Bonus! Why do you think a more creative community is important?)
CultureHouse community spaces provide a place where artists, performers, and creative businesses can meet up, exhibit their work, teach workshops, and share resources. CultureHouse also provides a low-cost way for new creative businesses to test out ideas and open up one-day pop-up businesses. We see the creative community as an essential part of thriving downtown neighborhoods and economies.
When opening previous community spaces we have seen an eightfold increase in foot traffic to that section of the street on weekends, indicating that creative gathering spaces are an important part of economic recovery and fostering more livable cities and towns.
What was the last book you read or film you watched that made an impact on you?
At CultureHouse we are constantly learning and studying new things about urban design. Two of the books that have informed our work the most are, The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs and Cities for People
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?
CultureHouse was started as a youth-based organization while our founder, Aaron Griener was still in college. The idea was largely inspired by his experience with community spaces while studying abroad in Copenhagen.