The Brussels’ commune of Vorst recently got a give box. The idea, which Kris Van Slambrouck got from Berlin, is to put an open wardrobe in a public space and allow residents to exchange things they don’t need anymore. Leave behind what you don’t need, and perhaps find something that you do need, free of charge.
The corner in Vorst where you’ll now find the give box was used to dump old fridges and other large items that usually cost money to recycle. Thanks to the presence of the give box, people are more present and the street corner has cleared up from this ailment. The question then, is whether the problem has been resolved, or if it has simply moved elsewhere.
Aside from clearing up the street, the wardrobe has become a place for social encounters. Neighbors who never spoke have a little chat whilst seeing what’s fresh in the box.
It’s amazing how much a small intervention can do for both social cohesion and control. There seem to be quite a lot of interesting art/grassroots initiatives doing good things for local communities. If you know of other examples, I’d be glad to hear them!
More: read an interview with the founder of the Berlin give box (english)
source: de standaard (dutch article)