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Community boxes let city residents share anything

Telecommunications

Boîtes d’Échange Entre Voisins — or Neighborhood Exchange Boxes — is a network of brightly-decorated repositories where residents can leave unwanted goods they'd like to give to the community.

While startups such as Boxbee aim to turn customers self storage assets into a shareable library of goods among friends, a new project in Switzerland is taking a similar concept into the public sphere. Boîtes d’Échange Entre Voisins — or Neighborhood Exchange Boxes — are a network of brightly-decorated repositories where residents can leave books, toys or other items they’d like to give to the community.

The idea, which was conceived by public art organization Tako in collaboration with the City of Geneva, is a fairly simple one — boxes big enough to hold objects such as books, DVDs, games and household items are installed in public locations. The boxes can be identified by their often artistic decorations bearing the name of the project. Any member of the public can then leave unwanted goods in the boxes for anyone else to take. The idea takes inspiration from schemes such as Bookcrossing and Little Free Library, which both focus more narrowly on book sharing. However, there is no restriction to what can be left in the project’s boxes, so long as it fits — users have even seen one generous neighbor leave an unwanted Apple TV.

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?

Website: www.tako.ch

Contact: www.tako.ch/box/geneve/contact

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