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Virtual Team Enhances Community Vibrancy

Made in Lower East Side (miLES) launches a storefront in New York to revitalise their local neighbourhood.

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10 13

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Today is the official launch of a project that we’ve been watching very carefully at OpenIDEO. Made in Lower Eastside (miLES) is a great example of what can emerge from creative collaboration on platforms like OpenIDEO.
This inspiring social venture started life in the OpenIDEO Vibrancy Challenge, which focused on places that are depopulating – like Detroit for instance. Eric Ho, of Architecture Commons in New York wasn’t participating in the challenge actively but was monitoring it and saw three ideas that he thought could be combined to help revitalise places closer to home, namely the Lower East Side of New York.
Eric contacted us to help facilitate a virtual collaboration between these three ideas. He got a great response from active users from our community: Matthew Rouser and   Matthew Goble, Chloe Tseung and Sarah Fathallah. They formed a team, created a plan and applied for funding. They didn’t give up when they were turned down in their first attempts and last year they won the architectural One Prize 2012. With this encouragement and prize funds, they’ve been taking a human-centered approach to place-making and today have launched their first live prototype.
miLES aims to open underused storefronts to new possibilities. They intend to work with residents, artists, businesses and landlords in the Lower East Side to identify, program and fill underused spaces and turn them into vibrant community hubs for working, learning, connecting and starting up new projects.  The first miLES New York storefront will launch on April 1, 2013 to host an array of programs including co-working on weekdays, classes and events on weeknights and pop-up shops on the weekend over the next 3 months. 
It's conveniently located at FABWORKS on 75 E 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Ave, handy to a number of subway stations for ease of access. If you're in New York in upcoming months you can apply to be a miLES co-working member to share the space or join as a free miLES Basic Member to host classes, events and pop-up shops. Read more, join the movement and help spread the word!
It’s really amazing to see this kind of impact, from people who were brought together by participating on OpenIDEO. We’re excited to see how collaborative communities like ours can bring people together to create a dent in some of the big social issues we face today.
Read more about miLES on Fast Company:

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