Rákóczi Square Revitalization: Fall-Winter Recap

With a little rest after Rákóczi Vakáczió we continued some of our already existing project and started planning for the new ones for the second half of the year. The fall-winter season was almost as busy and exciting as the summer. We worked with young interns and local organizations, had another Rákóczi Squaring and also a Christmas Market for small businesses from around the neighbourhood.

Continuing well proven projects

We continued publishing our local magazine 8oldal, produced as a double issue for September-October with 800 copies. The latest issues also had extra pages in English due to high demand from tourists and local foreigners.

The successful Rákóczi Market Hall Breakfasts continued throughout the fall. The biggest change was relocation of the setting, after Eldorádó cafe opened a coffee shop at the old location. The new table layout is now closer to Vásár utca entrance. As usual participants purchased the goods from around the market and had breakfast with live music playing in the background.

September also saw the  opening of the exhibition “Nagy Szexi” by Juhász Norbert at BRFK Gallery, a member of Rákóczi Cartel. The gallery also hosted another photography exhibition called “The VII District after 8 PM” (Budai+Kuslits - VIII. este 8 után).

Rákóczi Squaring and new events

In October we organized the third Rákóczi Squaring in the market hall where locals and friends of Mindspace, collaborators, artists, musicians, urban experts and all curious people were invited to join. This event was also a kick-off opportunity for many of our new projects.

We tested out a community office event for two days. Taking place at the breakfast area, Mindspace offered free wifi, electricity, tea and coffee to those who would rather escape their usual desks and cubicles to work and take advantage of the nice weather.

During the Rákóczi Squaring, Mindspace temporarily re-opened a tiny store in the market’s corner and named it ABCD Gallery. The team brought back life in the abandoned space and set up an exhibition on gentrification, urban development and Mindspace. It included pictures, texts and films emphasizing both good and bad aspects of gentrification. A glass “blackboard” was also on display where passerby could draw their vision of a perfect city.

We worked together with local pubs and cafés having animal-names. During the Rákóczi Jumanji minifestival these places hosted concerts and parties on Friday night.

Saturday night we invited people for a Pecha Kucha Night to the Market Hall. The presentations showed innovative urban projects from Hungary and neighboring countries bringing new methods and tools to city development.

The weekly plant fair named Rákóczi Oasis launched mid-October. People were invited to exchange, sell and donate their plants. A fair with a specific theme can give locals the opportunity to earn extra money and participate in social sharing. As it turned out some locals were so proud of their plants they put them out only for display as an exhibition.

During the fall months Criminologue Tamás Bezsenyi continued his popular Rákóczi Criminal Walks both in Hungarian and English. The guided tours around the neighbourhood were free and they introduced participants to several criminal cases around the Rákóczi square during the interwar period and socialist era.

On December 15, a Artisanal Christmas Market and Fair was organized at the market hall. Local vendors, artists and craftsmen sold their items. With pop-up charity events the local retirement home could raise some money selling their handmade goods. We could also collect toys, clothes and other useful items for the kids living in the children’s home in Alföldi street.

Collaborations with local organizations and interns

In the second half of the year we looked for local organizations to discuss collaborations and to exchange knowledge. In September, we had interns joining the team. Some of them were Erasmus+ internship and exchange students, while others were participants of the Pioneers into Practice programme. They explored the area and interviewed locals at the market. They also took a field trip to Bratislava to visit the Old Market Hall (Stará Tržnica) returning with useful lessons and project ideas about community building and smart city concepts.

Part of the Mindspace team met with Food Not Bombs Budapest, a volunteer-based organization, to learn more about the organization and opportunities for cooperation.

In November, Mindspace - as a member of Visegrad Fund project - participated in an event in Warsaw, where Ádam Kobrizsa presented our projects in the Market Hall. He also represented Mindspace at the Shared Cities event in Prague about the influence of Rakoczi Cartel and Market hall revitalization.

For the remaining days of December, Mindspace made surveys and interviews with vendors around the market to review the year’s work and set new goals for 2019.

2019.02.25.

Text: Réka Major