Entrepreneurs Spur Retail Resurgence By Taking Over Vacant Storefronts [My Ideal City]

Entrepreneurs Spur Retail Resurgence By Taking Over Vacant Storefronts [My Ideal City]

Popuphood helps entrepreneurs rent free storefronts as part of derelict revival movement.

  • 28 april 2013

Popuphood in Oakland, San Francisco is an urban initiative offering free retail space in unused buildings to local entrepreneurs. Launched by two local entrepreneurs to encourage urban renewal in Oakland where retail is struggling, the projects allows local artists, designers, and retailers the opportunity to open their own stores in previously vacant storefronts for six months, rent free.

Across the world, many developers are running projects aimed at counteracting urban decay. As cities struggle to find available land for new development projects, there is a counter-movement that is reinvigorating existing urban infrastructure and buildings that in many cases have been neglected and fallen into disuse.

pop up hood sticks and stones

The Popuphood project’s main focus is to provide the local community with a vibrant shopping area, and has lead to five new retail shops, including a jeweler and art gallery. The project represents a movement to re-imagine previously neglected areas as opportunities to promote commerce and exchange. You can check out the video below to see how popuphood and local entrepreneurs are striving to revitalize downtown Oakland:

Gary Hack, a celebrated urban planner with experience directing large-scale revitalization projects like NYC’s West Side highway and Rockefeller Park at Battery Park City in lower Manhattan, has most recently lent his expertise to a crowdsourced plan in Bogota, Colombia called MyIdealCity. He believes that the future of urban planning is in derelict revival:

We see vacant buildings and sites, covered with graffiti as signs of decay. We need to reverse this and see them as opportunities for experimentation, both temporary and long term. Seeing the city as a canvas for residents’ creativity will open new possibilities.

Linked to this trend of derelict revival is the FOUNDation Project in the Netherlands where collected garbage is used to build a pop-up places, such as a cafe or bar. Furthermore, the foundation for these compact stores is actually a trash container often found at garbage tips.


The re-imagination and rehabilitation, or ‘derelict revival’, of decaying urban environments enhances existing structures and makes them suitable for public use, while retaining notes pointing to the original character of the past. There modern hybrids can serve as burgeoning civic centers, bringing new opportunities for commerce and cultural exchange.

Q. What abandoned spaces in your city or neighborhood would you revitalize and turn into recreational or sport areas?

Submit your answer now at the MyIdealCity site – or tweet your suggestion using #MyIdealCity and #UrbanCanvas


Over the next 6 months, PSFK will be covering urban trends that are changing the cities we live in at Contribute your ideas at the MyIdealCity site.


Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Syndicated Today

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Retail Today

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Today

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Europe Today

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Technology Today

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Today

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own

Technology Today

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Advertising Today

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Retail Today

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

Fitness & Sport Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Design & Architecture Today

Kodak’s Smartphone Is Inspired By A Retro Camera

Ektra is an Android phone with a powerful lens aimed at photographers

Sustainability Today

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

Retail Today

Retail Concept Offers Food Hall Inspired Space For Online Brands

The store will offer a lower cost way for internet entrepreneurs to try physical retailing

Advertising Today

Disney Retells Beauty And The Beast On Snapchat

In a partnership with LACMA, the entertainment platform drew from over 130,000 works in the museum's collection

No search results found.