“Boost trade, alleviate urban anonymity,” is the goal of the new community art project that has recently been set up in Geneva called Boîtes d’Échange Entre Voisins, or in English, the Neighborhood Exchange Boxes.
Created by the Tako organization, the new project of brightly-decorated repositories, aim to encourage residents to leave items that they no longer use in their local box, in exchange for other items already left by their neighbors in the same box.
By swapping personal belongings such as books, CDs, DVDs, and games, it is hoped that residents will not only enjoy the element of surprise and anticipation surrounding the discovery of a box and its contents, but they will also come away with a better understanding of their neighbors, and what interests them.
Previously used as newspaper stands, the 10 boxes used in this initial test phase of the project were decorated by local artists during a special weekend workshop, held just before the project was launched in January.
The trend may seem primitive, yet these days our trading roots are on the rise again. Instead of throwing something away, we can get rid of a stereo while getting a pair of skis in return, find free Spanish courses or just a couple of new books.
Also, the barter and trade (21st century style) trend is great from a sustainability perspective as it allows people to reuse and recycle items rather than landfilling them (similar to the Hyper Local Market) and it also builds a sense of community.
There are currently around 20 Boîtes d’Échange Entre Voisins across Switzerland, and anyone can join in by setting up a box for their own neighborhood. Could this work in your part of the world?