A group of young social entrepreneurs are experimenting with a new concept of co-creation and community development in the southern Swedish city of Malmö, one of most innovative cities in the world.

The project is called The Pop Up Space. Connectors Malmö, a grassroots organization, developed the project with the city of Malmö, MKB (a housing agency) and Persborg, a local neighborhood, to solve integration challenges and promote collaborative urban design.

The idea is to create a place where people living in a certain community get to have an active role in the design of their own space. Operating as a crowd-sourced room allows the neighbors of Persborg to vote on and decide how they want to use the space. By doing this, Connectors is able to promote co-ownership and create a forum for community members to leave feedback about the neighborhood.

Over the next few months at the Pop Up Space, Connectors will also host a series of workshops for community members focused on local challenges. Many of the ideas that will be presented during these workshops derive from a daylong hackathon held in 2014 where idea-makers were tasked with finding creative solutions for different challenges. The free event was a thematic experience based in a fictional city built out of cardboard, based on Persborg.

The Pop Up Space is in its pilot period and is the result of Human-centered Design research that Connectors has been doing since 2014. It is part of a bigger project that Connectors is developing called the RES/HUB project.

After the summer Connectors will launch the Live-in Lab, a new kind of residence for active individuals that want to use their skills to change the world. Six to nine selected individuals will come to Malmö, live and work together and co-create solutions with the community. Participants will also be encouraged to work on their personal ventures and benefit from the collaborative experience.

Joshua Ng, co-director of Connectors explains that “there are many live-in spaces for entrepreneurs popping up around the world, but none of those are for people who want to change the world. We know there are lots of talented people looking for ways to use their skills for the common good, we are just facilitating the space for this to happen.”

In the context of the larger project, The Pop Up Space will also act as a space for local residents to meet social entrepreneurs-in-residence and interchange ideas; a space where the solution designers can meet people who understand problems at a personal level. The Pop Up Space will be open twice a week until the middle of April. The workshop results will be published as an open-source toolkit, available for download from connectorsmalmo.com. Connectors is documenting every step of the process and sharing it with the world.

Says Joshua: “we are part of a global movement where people are getting together and doing things. Cooperation is key, that is why we partnered with the public and private sectors. We also believe information is key and should always be free for everybody, because innovation is driven by communication. We believe we are developing a model that can be easily scaled to other cities. That is why we do our best to share the process and encourage more action around the world. We believe social innovation is about people.”

To find out more about the RES/HUB project and the work Connectors is doing visit connectorsmalmo.com.