Co-creating community engagement

City of Budapest, Hungary

SDG 10: Reduced inequalitiesSDG 11: Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 17: Partnerships for the goals
Mindspace is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 that focuses on urban revitalization in areas such as social innovation, smart city concepts and knowledge management. Currently, the main project is Rákóczi Square Market Hall’s (Rákóczi téri Vásárcsarnok) revival in the eighth district of Budapest.

Budapest’s eight district has a history of prostitution and crime, which nowadays is less of an issue but still affects the areas bad reputation. However, the eighth district is still struggling with poverty, negative gentrification consequences and challenges due to disintegrated and ethnically diverse community. The Rákóczi Square Market Hall has encountered many problems among which are vacant business premises, uncompetitive prices and products, and, consequently, a decreasing number of customers; but it’s still the heart of the district and a great place for starting the neighbourhood’s (and the market’s) revitalization.

Good practices and solutions

The bottom-up practices that have guided the work of Mindspace have been targeted at local community engagement and building their involvement and trust. All the activities offered are free and open to everyone. Many locals and newcomers get the opportunity to socialize, educate them self and relax at the many creative workshops, acoustic concerts, community breakfast etc. The project is a dynamic and experimental experience that aims to create interpersonal connections. One motivational factor is the revitalization and reintegration of the neighbourhood which sparks a great enthusiasm in the local community resulting in a lot of volunteer help and input from local businesses as well as citizens. Mindspace has become a bridge between the public and the market operator, creating a platform for co-operation. Business establishments and buildings surrounding the marketplace that was previously empty, are now occupied thanks to the successful initiative. The local community has become more open to the idea of change and now turns to Mindspace for tips. Some of the activities of the revitalization process include community eating and get together in the market hall, a festival that brings together locals, friends, urban experts and artist, a pop-up co-working space and concerts in vacant shops.

Outcomes & Opportunities

One lesson learnt is that the community wants a slow, continuous, persistent effort that is spread out over time. Also, for a sustainable revitalization that covers the needs of the local community, it is important to consider the local, social, cultural and historical characteristics – it is of utmost importance to get to know the local people, and from there help them change by providing a fun experience.

Related SDG targets


Photo: © Humphrey Muleba/Unsplash

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