Pop-Up Café Strong City Centre: How to make Leeuwarden more attractive with design thinking?

In March, we held the 18th Knowledge 2018 Pop-Up Café, Strong City Centre, which was organised by students of the learning company O3 of Friesland College in which students from NHL Stenden are also involved.

Our partner in this project is Stichting Binnenstadmanagement Leeuwarden, a foundation that looks after the interests of entrepreneurs and organisations in the centre of Leeuwarden. The aim of this project is to make the centre of Leeuwarden more attractive for visitors and see how O3 can contribute to this with students’ projects.

Brainstorm session agenda

In the Pop-Up Café, a momentary, multidisciplinary design space, we brainstorm with a diverse group of participants about opportunities that support the European Cultural Capital Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018 legacy themes, focussed on boosting the development of the region in a sustainable way.

This time more than 20 students from O3 and the Frisian Design Factory, together with entrepreneurs and professionals brainstormed about themes like:

  • How to make the centre of Leeuwarden more recognisable
  • How surprise, entertainment and recreation can be combined
  • How to make the centre of Leeuwarden more attractive for youngsters
  • How to promote Leeuwarden as a real student city

Top design thinking project ideas

During this brainstorm session, we generated more than 180 ideas. Some popular design ideas included the organisation of non-alcohol parties with well-known artists for youngsters below 18, free public lavatories, less cars in the centre and more space for pedestrians, and creating pop-up art galleries and small smoothie bars.

The students of O3 involved in the project till the summer break, have selected a few ideas to work on:

  • Creating pop-up exhibition spaces for students work in empty shops and/or pop-up shops run by students in which visitors can experience new (regional? start-up?) products and services.
  • Making a contribution to Mooie Zondagen (Beautiful Sundays), when most shops are open and cultural activities are organised in the centre, by designing a special event or experience for students/youngsters
  • Making online portraits of unique shops that Leeuwarden has to offer, preferably in collaboration with existing online platforms.

Project in practice

These ideas are now under research and redesigned. Currently, students are looking at the feasibility and collecting input from possible future visitors. In this process, the ideas will also be further concretised, prototyped and tested. The best designs will be pitched to Stichting Binnenstadmanagement Leeuwarden.

Do you want to know how to use design thinking to boost your destination’s future? Contact our design thinking expert, Wyb de Boer.