Today is the official launch of a project that we’ve been watching very carefully at OpenIDEO. miLES is a great example of what can, just sometimes, emerge from creative collaboration on platforms like OpenIDEO.

This inspiring social venture started life in the OpenIDEO urban revitalisation challenge, which focussed on places that are depopulating – like Detroit for instance. This challenge was sponsored by Steelcase & CEO Jim Hackett. Eric Ho, of Architecture Commons in New York wasn’t participating in the challenge actively, but was monitoring it and saw three ideas that he thought could be combined to help revitalise places nearer to home, such as the Lower East Side of New York. He contacted us to help facilitate a virtual collaboration between these three ideas. He got a great response from Matt & Matt, Chloe and Sarah – active users from our community. They formed a team, created a plan, and applied for funding. They didn’t give up when they were turned down in their first attempts and last year they won the architectural One Prize 2012. With this encouragement and prize funds, they’ve been taking their human-centered approach to place-making and today have launched their first live prototype – a partnership with Fourth Arts Block to open the first miLES storefront at FABWORKS starting April 1, 2013 for a three-month period.
If you’re in New York at all over the coming months, FABWORKS is located at 75 E 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Ave near many subway stations including 6, N, R, B, D, F, V. They will be hosting an array of programs in their storefront, including co-working on weekdays, classes and events on weeknights, and pop-up shops on the weekend. You can even apply as a miLES Co-Working Member to share the workspace or j
oin miLES as a free miLES Basic Member to host classes, events, or pop-up shops.

Join the movement Help spread the word! See more details here.

See the newsletter of their announcement here.

It’s really amazing to see this kind of impact, from people who would otherwise never have met. We’re excited to see how collaborative communities like ours can come together to create a dent in some of the social issues we face.

Would love to hear what you think,

Nathan