Popup Hood is a social initiative, a new way of rethinking retail and its role in the neighborhood as a strategic tool for revitalization of the neighborhood and at the same time reactivation of its economy. This Project transforms 5 vacant fronts of a block in the old Oakland into vibrant spaces with free rent during 6 months. This offers the opportunity for local artists to open their own shops that they couldn´t do without the financial support and test their products and services on the market . The idea was to populate the store fronts with carefully chosen, local retail artists and create a community of local artists based on a sharing economy. These pop-up stores are design to attract not only artists and designers but actual customers too , and thereby achieving the revitalize of the hole área.
LOCATION AND CONTEXT
Oakland is a city of California,a federal state of the United States located on the southwest coast of the country, located in the eastern part of the Bay Area of San Francisco.
It s a historic district and the original business center of Oakland. In 2010 it had 390,724 residents. The neighborhood is located on the northwest side of the broadway, between the city center complex and the Jack London square district.
By the 1870, elegant brick victorian hotels were being built in the blocks to accommodate travelers. The ground floor of the hotels were designed as series of narrow shops so that the pedestrians would pass by many of them just walking down the block .
Boasting the highest walk and transit scores in Oakland, this neighborhood has placed Oakland as a whole as the nation’s 10th most walk-able city ( Walk Score, July2011).
Also the immigration is present in this neighborhood.The city demographics have changed due to a combination of gentrification,the most representative communities are the african american , the hispanic, and the asian . In this neighborhood all the communities coexist and also generate a cultural richness. Oakland is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the country,it was ranked the 4th most diverse city in America, with an overall diversity score of 91.4, in fact the founder of Popuphood, Alfonso Dominguez , is hispanic.
Oakland has the highest concentration of artists per capita than any american city outside of Manhattan.In 2013, Oakland was designated as one of America’s top twelve art communities, recognizing Downtown , Chinatown, Old Oakland, and Jack London Square as communities that have most successfully combine art, artists, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make throbbing neighborhoods.
The main controversy was that in 2008 the economic downturn closed some of the the neighborhood’s most pioneers and important shops. So since Oakland’s local struggles (the city has a 16% unemployment rate comparated with 8,6 % of United State) have left retailers scared to open new shops and restaurants in the área, leaving it lacked retail.
Another controversy is the lack of identity. For much of Oakland´s history and charm it has been perceived like a few residential or shopping opportunities. It’s not that the neighborhood is in an inconvenient location, it’s close to the Oakland convention center and multiple transportation hubs. But he remaind retailers still largely struggle to survive in Oakland’s downtown because there was no new buyers there.
The lack of independent retail in the área it was also a big problem, due to legal aspects of opening a business. One factor was the initial capital of buildout, rent, and staffing. A second barrier was the absence of a retail community that could guide the new entrepreneurs and ensure that the next shop open will complement their business.
Thus citizen-led creative team, Popuphood has decided to stop waiting for the recovery of the economy and make it happen by bringing popuphood to building owners and the city.
City of Oakland’s Community & Economic Development Agency– interested in create solution with permanent and positive social and economic impact.
Oakland redevelopment agency– by recognize the potential of the Project they funded 30 000 $ through the tenant improvement program in order top ay the 6 mont rent of the 5 pop-up stores. As well provide guidance respect permits, marketing and publicity.
Peter Sullivan Associates– owner of the 5 empty spaces, they were positive with the Project and they invest money in order to reform and adapt the spaces to the artists needs
Neighbors– they collaborate and understood that buying in this shops they are increasing the local economy
Local organization City Hall´s Kendall- that stand out for their diversity, creativety and innovation
Alfonso Dominguez –founder of Popuphood, serial entrepreneur and co-owner of Tamarindo, La Calle, Era Art Bar and Lounge, and now the hip El TacoBike
Sarah Filley– cofounder of Popuphood, artista and urban designer
Artists- local artists that are wising to open their own shop but they can´t without the financial support.
Artist Nicole Buffett- The co-owner of Piper and John, a boutique showcasing locally made jewelry, clothing,and art.
Crown Nine Jewelers and Makers- Independently designed jewels and treasures
Alissa Goss,- An artist and co-owner of Marion and Rose’s, is also selling (mostly) local artisan crafts.
Umami Mart – Kitchen plus barware from Japan
McMullen- a boutique that offered fashionable clothing and accessories, and offered exceptional service standards.
At beginning of 2011, Dominguez teamed up with artist Sarah Filley and approached his landlord with a new concept: instantly reviving a whole block in Old Oakland by giving five vacant storefronts to retailers for six months, rent-free. The goal was to lower the start-up costs of opening a store, and to help entrepreneurs ease into paying full rent.
In September 2011 , Dominguez and Filley initiated talks with building owner Peter Sullivan Associates and began collaboratingwith the City of Oakland’s Community & Economic Development Agency. Recognizing its potential for fueling downtownrevitalization efforts, the Oakland Redevelopment Agency funded a $30,000 grant through its highly praised TenantImprovement Program.
Alfonso Dominguez knows how hard it is to survive as a retailer in downtown Oakland. While his restaurant in historic Old Oakland, an authentic Mexican place he co-owns with his mom, survived the 2008 recession, his nearby denim store and home-goods store did not. As Dominguez watched the bad economy wipe out emerging businesses, he worried about the neighborhood’s future, and about decreased foot traffic to his restaurant.
Two years later in 2013, the storefronts in Old Oakland have hosted seven businesses, selected by Dominguez and Filley from a pool of applicants. They lean toward businesses that support or reflect Oakland’s creative economy, such as a former gallery owner who sells goods handmade by localartists, and a pair of Japanese-American lifestyle bloggers whose store specializes in imported barware. Participating retailers meet monthly, share communal resources like Wi-Fi, and are mentored by Dominguez and Filley.
1. Building strategic and creative partnerships
One of the main strategies is the creation of partnerships of unique retail artists. The selection is done by taking into account two qualities: they have to come into it with an existing online following or as a second location for an existing business.For exemple, Crown Nine, a jeweler, hosts classes and makes custom engagement rings. Or Umami Mart, the Japanese purveyor, hosts events like sake tastings. The entrepreneurs that succeed have online stores, wholesale businesses, blogs, and Instagram accounts.
2. Small business incubator
The Popuphood offers the free rent to local artists in exchange for their entrepreneur incubation work. The normal course of business creation is to create a first location that attracts a second so that benefit from their expertise. In this project has been used business strategy to install groups simultaneously generating a symbiotic reaction . From there work in a collaborative, open and close at the same time and promoted among them as a system. Also they give a feedback to local economy each 1$ – 0,68$ feedback.
This strategy drifts from a solution to the uncertain economy, by making a short-term commitment that allows business owners, to try out products and services on the market . This is also a strategy to attract costumers, due to the fact that to be temporary, it creates a need to purchase before it’s too late.
4. Collaborative Design
The collaborative design was the main important way to create a design concerned with the public needs.Given the lack of strategy on the part of public bodies and the private initiative, the group of entrepreneurs also covers the gap in the capital of public participation to promote the development of the neighborhood. So the talks with residents arises in order to learn more about their needs and expectations, that would turn the Project into a more appropriated for those who live there. Ultimately, a successful neighborhood becomes more attractive if those who live there are committed on it.
The support that these retailers can provide to each other is very valuable, so is the publicity that comes along with the project. That’s why Filley and Dominguez are developing an umbrella company to replicate the Popuphood concept elsewhere in the city.
1. Social Benefits
This new model helps to create a network of local artists that share their knowledge between themselves and with costumers, through workshops, art galleries, creating at the same time not only a network between them , also a community engagement through this direct communication between fabrican and buyer.
According to sources in 2012, there have been more shops downtown than there has been in decades. This fact carries to a more foot traffic in the old center that improve the safety of the neighborhood.
2. Cultural Benefits
The Project basically redefines the neighborhood by giving it a identity. In 2012 is remembered by the year that Oakland became a retail shopping destination. So this partnerships that were created can be considerate like a new model of offering a identity to a place that has not.
The city was also includes in the lis of “America´s Top Art Places 2013″ that by having more galleries and retail stores open, encouraged more people out to create a new business, more restaurants and bars to open, and so the cycle continues.
3. Economic Benefits
The Project resulted to make a more vibrant local economy, by that it means that the local restaurant and bars economies have grown, reaching to be Voted #5 in The New York Times’ “45 Places to Go in 2012,” .So the city is in its best financial condition in a decade, and many San Franciscans are taking the plunge for cheaper rent and larger spaces.
There also have been created new employment opportunities, this local new business added about 1,500 new jobs in one year , which is amazing given the state of the economy. Those jobs were created through a combination of new small businesses and new companies either relocating to Oakland, or existing companies that are expanding their workforce. There also have been 50 new restaurant openings in only one year.
The permanence of this pop up stores can also been considerate a success . Three of the initial 5 have become permanent, although all of the retailers were enthusiastic about the potential to stay longer tan the six month free rent period.
4. Environmental Benefits
A large part of the articles or decoration of the pop-up stores are produced with ephemeral or reused materials , 100% local , handmade and sustainable.
As the society evolutes, the needs changes with this development, so to face this temporary problems we have to propose temporary solutions able to change and adapt to new needs, more when we are working over a ofer-demand based system witch mutates every time that the trends changes.In addition, temporary interventions means a high effort over a short amount of time, that could be achieve more successfully the initial objectives, in front of understanding the project as a long period of time while the intensity could vanish
The fact of providing the spaces to local artists its a way to visualizing a local cultural process thought a shop exhibitor-like where the local artist can promote themselves and also, it has a educational weight as the interventions works as a realtime workshop where you can watch the whole process of designing and handcrafting.
Understanding the intervention as a friction place where the artists, customers and companies means the place could be work as a relationship incubator creating a network between the three levels of the industry process. The local character of the project increase the local economy by inviting local artist to set up their shops.