> I HEART GABS CITY

IN 2016 IHEARTGABSCITY GATHERED A TRIBE OF YOUTH AND EMBARKED ON A CREATIVE DISRUPTIVE JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMING SPACES TO PLACES

Using waste materials to create furniture for the spaces, a fusion of art and creative business to bring life to open spaces, and all this was sparked by the fact that in my city,  Gaborone, open spaces are mostly used for a carwash, driving schools, second hand clothing sales or food trucks.

A city with over 300 000 people, what other ideas are there to help transform spaces to places? In 2016, the pop-up park initiative kicked off in the main mall we named the park Diamond Square, tagline #ifspacescouldatalk.

VISION: To create and support the growth and development of the creative entrepreneurship community/industry and activities in Botswana with Africa and the world.

Mission: We strive to develop open spaces into creative and innovative places. Enabling creative social businesses to ‘achieve greater social impact through making connections, becoming better informed, sharing experiences and influencing a stronger collective creative economic voice’.

“Everyone has the right to live in a great place, and most importantly everyone has the right to contribute to making the place where they already live great” – words shared by Fred Kent.

Creating creative pop-up parks in the city Centre, in the old mall in the city is our contribution to making the place we live in great, a project inspired by the smart city concept. We exist for urban creative culture networks with the aim to support and connect the city with its residents using creative design thinking processes.

The heart of our story comes from the need for the city to connect with its people at a creative, economic and innovative personal level. The world is talking about smart cities and it is our objective to push Gaborone to catch up with the global village and start working smart towards the city smart concept – building a city that builds itself around its people demographics. The creation of our first ever pop-up park was to create a platform to integrate/connect innovation, creative design and social impact

Why does creative design connectivity matter? In the world that we live in, your network is your net worth, connectivity creates opportunities, which in turn creates success. Our city is not very connected and hence the need for the project we are bringing forth.

The creation of the Diamond Square which is crafted in the heart of the dilapidating old mall is the first ever in the city. The space has transformed to a place built on a network of offering value to open-spaces and asking nothing much in return. By offering without expectation has cultivated trust on the projects intentions, making room for the residents and the city council to take part in the growth and sustainability of the project.

To measure this initiative we have organized and supported events; art shows, video shoots, cleaning campaigns, celebrations, commemorations, talk shows, pop-up markets, dance competitions, youth empowerment seminars, music and poetry events and much more.

It’s a creative tribe ecosystem, which we hope to grow into a village. As the tribe grows, we continue to reassess the connections, thinking more what to expect as we continue to give. With a strong connected community we would be able to grow together and not leaving one industry in the city behind.

We hope the city council partners with us and adopts this strategy as the policy that could guide this disruptive and creative future thinking of our city.

Since the creation of the pop-up park the residents have been excited and are taking part to grow the community. The place is operating five (5) businesses being Coffee kiosk, burger and chips café, lemonade stall, open space gallery, a street library and a photo studio. The place also has a gaming area which hosts a chess table. The common area has managed to host the pop-up event we call the DiamondHuddle, a poetry and music and art event for the upcoming creative generation who are looking for a platform to play and grow their craft. Bringing to life a fresh development concept that will be a self–sustaining open space economic diversification ecosystem in the city centre, a tribe of innovators, creators, businesses, creatives, entrepreneurs, corporates, educators, and social impact activists.

I heart gabs city is a different breed of community connect, a new and unified approach that looks into the challenges we are facing, and through a creative and social impact lens we bring solutions on how we create, live, work, play and learn together.

I HEART GABS CITY


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