OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Creating new uses for forgotten public spaces

As the world evolves we are often left with legacy public infrastructure that is no longer useful to the community in the way it were original designed - e.g. public phone booths. How might we repurpose such spaces to better benefit the community?

Photo of Philip Man
6 11

Written by

"If any disused fixture of city streets cried out for repurposing, it would seem to be the pay phone"  


So John H. Locke, an architectural designer from NY has been turning underused pay phones into community bookshelves, where people can borrow & return books much like a public library, in an attempt to make the ubiquitous structures relevant in the community again. 

What's more, the city's Department of IT and Telecommunications is considering the public's suggestions about how best to repurpose the 13,000 remaining phone booths across the city. Suggestions include turning them into touch-screen neighbourhood maps; converting them into charging stations for mobile devices or electric cars; or using them as dispensers for hand sanitizer. 

How might we inspire people to look out for other forgotten public spaces within their communities and contribute ideas to how they could be repurposed (or simply be enabled to do so)?

6 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Pedro Luís

Very interesting!

View all comments