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

Light Up Empty Lots

What if local communities could get together with local home improvement stores or get funds from the city to create light installations that remix and illuminate the empty lots in a vibrant way that gives identity to the area.

Photo of Afaina de Jong
1 5

Written by

Empty lots at night are a source of worry for residents and the municipality. Apart from the opportunity for criminal behavior to occur in these empty lots, they also give neighborhoods an eerie feeling. So how about using these empty lots as beacons of light at night. 

Through an online competition that identifies the empty lots up for refurbishment locals and artists can submit their ideas. The winning designs can then be made through construction parties in which the local residents, artist, city and other sponsors get together to build the installation together. This is good to encourage more communication among the different player and to enhance the sense of community.

This will restore vibrancy by lighting up neighborhoods in a unique way. The decline of empty lots will give residents a feeling of safety and pride at the same time.  

By getting residents, creatives, the city and businesses together, it will create a sense that it is in the benefit of all parties to work together and improve the quality of life step by step.

Identifying all the empty lots can also be the starting point of bringing these lots back to life, either because now they can be used for positive community gatherings or because by visualizing them they are back on the radar for future investors, businesses or developers.

What resources (money, time, people, technology, etc) will your concept need to be successful?

In terms of resources this concept would need: - A good project leader to identify the empty lots, make the website and to get people enthousiastic about submitting ideas. - Someone at city hall to grant the permits and access to electricity for the installations. - A money sponsor to buy the light fixtures or funding through kickstarter. - Hands to build the installations

What steps could you take to implement this idea today?

1. Get on google earth and indentify the empty lots 2. Research inspirational lighting projects 3. Start buiding the website 4. Talk to potential sponsors in light fixture manufacturing trade.

How can your idea be scaled so that it's implemented in cities around the world?

There are empty lots around the world that undermine the sense of safety in urban communities, so this concept could make a difference all over the world.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


I like this idea. It creates many opportunities for local residents to get together and work for their living environment!

I think there are companies which hope to support communities in this way, by providing not only materials or products but also human resources.

Here's an example: Herman Miller supported Japan's tsunami victims through 14-day design workshops creating furniture and printed materials for their own use (at temporary housing units).

It is very important that Herman Miller and its designers helped victims develop new skills, so they can continue this work and potentially generate income after the event.