At the start of this project, the first step was the establishment of the repair platform Maakbaar Leuven. We started discussions with organisations that wanted to engage in the platform, and wrote a charter that was signed by all partners. Maakbaar Leuven is an online and offline sharing platform of knowledge, expertise and materials for repairing (re)usable items in a smart and circular city.
Later, we worked on the start-up and further development of the MAAKbar. This unique concept originated from the fusion of the project coordinator's years of experience with repair cafes in Leuven and the input of volunteers resulting from a participative citizenship project.
The MAAKbar is a sustainable meeting place where reuse, sharing and repair are central. In doing so, we find it important to make the circular economy a participative and inclusive story.
Centrum voor Economische Ongehoorzaamheid (CEO)
PartnersGreen Office van de KU Leuven, KU Leuven Dienst Duurzaamheid
We founded the sharing platform Maakbaar Leuven, a partnership of over 40 different organisations that all signed a charter for more circular economy.
We created the sustainable MAAKbar, a vibrant meeting place in Leuven with space for workshops, a plant shelter,repair cafes and a tool library. Reuse, sharing and repair are central here.
The MAAKbar is a bottom-up story, where volunteers take initiative and literally and figuratively hold the key to it. At our last mouth mask project, about 1000 citizens were actively involved!
In the MAAKbar, circular economy is accessible and has a high fun factor. We insist on reaching a diverse group of participants: expats, students, local residents, newcomers, disadvantaged groups ... Everyone has a reason to visit us and to participate.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Communication is very important. The crowdfunding at the start of the project was a first, important marketing tool to make our new concept known. By updating our social media almost daily, our followers remained closely involved.
We need to leave room for organic growth. During this project, we knew our objective, but we allowed ourselves to take an unknown side-path, still within the theme of circular economy of course, because there was a need for it at that moment.
Volunteers provide invaluable input. We always sounded out our visitors for their interests and talents and motivated them to participate. In this way, we were able to encourage many people to get involved.
Opting for an inclusive and participatory approach has great added value. By cooperating with organisations where people from disadvantaged groups get the opportunity to speak, we reached a broad audience. Thanks to the UiTPAS, the financial threshold is also eliminated.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Together with various partners, we want to establish a new, central circular place. We are thinking of developing a 'circular concept store' in a large building in the centre of Leuven. We want to give our project more space and will cooperate with additional partners, including entrepreneurs.
Another concept for the future is the MAAKbar Mobiel: an electric carrier bicycle that makes tool transport and lending easier and more accessible. With this, we also want to cooperate with organisations that specifically focus on disadvantaged groups, such as De Ruimtevaart.
The cargo bike will also be a shared bike that people can borrow to transport other things. By the time of the launch, we will also have worked out a financial model with a subscription system.
We also want to launch the concept of 'repair and share streets' in cooperation with the city of Leuven, where neighbourhoods and districts set up their own MAAKbar points.