Airbnb rallied the community and its resources to support Old Kent Road Studios and Livesey Exchange, a community-led regeneration project aimed at converting unused garages into a community workspace. Airbnb believes a community of hosts and guests can come together to enhance and support the local community.
To date, Airbnb has pledged £20,000 to the crowdfunding campaign to support the construction project, organised a London-wide meetup to introduce the host community to crowdfunding and the City Hall regeneration programme, and organised a separate meetup to introduce the Southwark host community to Old Kent Road Studios and solicit skills for the project.
Nicholas Okwulu of the non-profit organisation Pempeople (People Empowering People) and architect Ulrike Steven, co-founder and director of what if: projects were instrumental in pulling the Livesey Exchange project together and expressed how central community was to undertaking Old Kent Road Studios. Nicholas said:
“The 60+ garages have so much potential and local residents were really open to the idea of breathing new life into the space. We wanted a space that supported the community but that was very much part of the community and the garages on the Old Kent Road were both.”
Moving forward, Airbnb will continue to promote OKR to London hosts and Londoners to encourage these individuals to lend their skills and volunteer their time in support of the project. Those interested in donating skills to the project can indicate their interest here. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Old Kent Road, as part of the London Festival of Architecture in June, you can participate in a number of free exhibitions, walks and tours, including: