As part of a larger, long-term placemaking research and development project called “PlaceCity - Placemaking for Sustainable, Thriving Cities”, Nabolagshager invited Paco Inclan from Valencia, Spain, to test out his pop-up cafe tool in Oslo. The idea behind “Paco's Pop-Pop Cafe” is to create flexible and temporary public spaces in the most underused or unexpected locations in the city. This light, quick, and cheap approach to placemaking consists of setting up some spaces to sit and socialise and offer free drinks and snacks to those passing by, with the goal of sparking conversation with them about the area, how they use it, or really anything at all. Placemaking can only happen with excited and engaged citizens, as such, it is very important in the beginning of placemaking projects to just get people talking to one another!
Nabolagshager, with the help of their youth programme Oslo Living Lab, and other partners, initiated three of these pop-up cafes outside of Hersleb high school in Oslo, where the youth from the programme are students of the school. The events were successful in activating the space, creating inspiration and excitement about the project, and getting conversation flowing about the opportunities and challenges of the area. They also helped us to significantly strengthen our local network of stakeholders surrounding the project as we encountered many local residents who would not normally have met at other events.