Haven’t we all a huge pile of very handy but hardly used things in our house that fill our closets and make us need even more space than we already occupy? Swiss initiative Pumpipumpe wants to encourage urbanites to share all these occasionally used items with a handy set of stickers. The Pumpipume stickers, that can be stuck to front doors or mailboxes, allow urbanites to easily indicate which items they are willing to loan to neighbors.
Throughout history people have been sharing stuff with their neighbors. Recently, however, many households have become social fortresses that can only be reached through the online gate. People spend less of the their time outside in their neighborhood and feel an increasing barrier to ask their neighbors for help of any kind. New item-sharing services such as Peerby and NeighborGoods focus, rather ironically, on an online platform to revitalize a good ol’ sense of community. Pumpipumpe is different. It doesn’t come with a fancy web platform — it’s just a set of stickers. The initiative’s aim is to stimulate socially cohesive neighborhoods, less material waste and more space in our closets.
On Pumpipumpe’s website sticker packs can be ordered for free in Switzerland and Germany, people in other countries pay €4 shipping costs. All of the stickers feature iconic illustrations of the objects that one offers for loan, such as a drill, a pasta machine, a projector or a table tennis. Also services like Wi-Fi or the daily newspaper can be shared through Pumpipumpe’s sticker system, that once started as a bicycle pump sharing platform.
Whether or not this idea will work and really strengthen the social ties in neighborhoods is still a question. Pumpipumpe has not yet been introduced at large-scale and the system will only come into full effect when many people participate or at least understand what those stickers on people’s mailboxes stand for. In buildings with plenty of mailboxes, such as a residential tower, Pumpipumpe could be a practical way to help each other out, but in search for a drill or tent most people wouldn’t roam the streets checking everyone’s stickers…