It’s no coincidence that most of these pop-ups are coming from mid-sized cities and regions trying to re-invent themselves. Smaller cities are facing increasing challenges to compete against global centers for talent and business. As the pressures of neoliberalism and the transient workforce increase, cities are seeking new outlets for attracting young creatives.
The German cities of Bremen and Oldenburg have recently teamed up with the city of Groningen to open Ambassade Bremen-Oldenburg, a pop-up store in de Brugstraat in Groningen. The space will be open for six weeks and is intended to give residents and visitors of Groningen the chance to “enter a part of Germany”. The pop-up shop features aspects of daily life in Germany through the best of culture and science in the two cities. Exhibitions, music, food, and footage of local activities will all be displayed in this creative pop-up environment.
Similarly, winner of the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge, the Urban Consulate has recently launched in the cities of Detroit, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Like an “embassy for cities”, the Consulate seeks to connect urban-minded people across cities and to spread the best ideas shaping urban life in the 21st century. The Consulate has created a series of pop-up parlors throughout the three cities to foster relationships between city dwellers and travelers and promote cross-city exchange.
This year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas featured numerous pop-up destination event spaces trying to promote themselves to America’s trendiest innovation leaders. One of the largest spaces this year was Nordic Lighthouse, a compilation of companies and people across Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway. Concerts from Nordic musicians took place throughout the festival as well as creative talks and Nordic film screenings. Similar events took place throughout thefestival in regional-centered spaces such as Japan House, Os!o Lounge, Casa Mexico, and the Great Britain House.