Editor's Note: I had dreamed this space up for the lower Bay Area and there! Someone is already doing it in Santa Rosa! We should have one in every town, perhaps every neighborhood. I think shared physical space is more important than shared virtual space when it comes to relocalization.
The ShareExchange is a vibrant, "community-owned business" where people come to experience the cutting edge of local culture, cooperation and economic revitalization. The ShareExchange is home to a range of inter-relating activities. The diverse components of the business could stand on their own, but thrive when co-located.
The ShareExchange will be a significant contributor to growing the new local green economy. This includes incubating neighborhood-scale micro enterprises, new economic tools and green job information and training. It is envisioned that the ShareExchange will also be THE central place to get information on businesses and non-profits working on any element of sustainability and social equity.
ShareExchange Kiosk Open House on Prezi
Who will the ShareExchange Serve?
The ShareExchange is likely to first appeal to the growing "do-it-yourself" (DIY) creative community and people interested in sustainable living practices. As the ShareExchange grows in recognition, it will become frequently used by under-served families and neighborhoods who directly benefit from the sharing culture and saving money. Geographically, the Exchange will be the closest place in the urban core to get food essentials, fresh produce and hardware. It will also be the only visitor-serving business along Santa Rosa Creek and the Prince Memorial Bike Path. Residents and visitors will enjoy the goods and services in such an attractive and convenient location.
Our development team will be soliciting existing businesses to expanding their enterprise with a "business outpost" at the ShareExchange. These will be our Major Tenants. Businesses who are GoLocal members will have first priority. Businesses with documented triple bottom line accounting practices will also have high priority. This goes for the major tenant slots as well as kiosk rental and sponsorship.
We have a lack of public gathering places focused on community well being. We believe that creating a vibrant place for people to gather, learn and experience will have an accelerating affect on the Sustainability Movement in Sonoma County. We hope to play a small role in a positive future -- and place matters.
What will it look like?
*An organized place to share things (tools, toys, sporting goods, household items, bikes & vehicles)
*Walking or biking to a central neighborhood place for daily goods and services
*Fixing & fabricating things with a major focus on materials reuse
*Neighborhood-scale micro enterprise incubation - things like backyard food gardens, repair businesses, recycling & reuse businesses
*Celebrating local arts & culture with an element fun and entertainment
*Healthy food market with a focus on "EAT LOCAL" and "DRINK LOCAL" featuring GoLocal members
*Local economy tools: The Sonoma County Time Bank, chore/services exchange, GoLocal Rewards headquarters and a future community reinvestment program
*Enriching classes that promote healthy living and community cooperation
*Job and skill training with a focus on the new local, green economy
Communities across the country are in need of a new type of economic revitalization -- a type that is based on relocalization of basic needs and essential goods. Localizing food production, bringing back local manufacturing and reintroducing cooperatives are all pieces of this puzzle. The ShareExchange model is a central location where these things happen under one roof. It is a hub for sustainable living and incubating a vibrant local economy.
While some of the services offered in the ShareExchange would work in a virtual setting, many of the services would not work online and require a physical place. The sharing of goods in one example where physical space is required to store the goods and provide a place for pick up and drop off. The social aspect of a physical gathering place should also not be underestimated. According to the Project for Public Spaces, gathering places provide opportunities for many things including:
*Health and activity within a community
*Improved social interaction
*Increased cultural exchange & understanding
Benefits of the ShareExchange
*People save money by sharing and being part of the cooperative.
*We reduce unnecessary consumption, therefore reducing many environmental impacts.
*Uses art, sustainability and localization as the drivers for economic development.
*Is a source of green job experience and education.
*Promotes and markets micro-enterprise incubation.
*Offers expansion opportunities for existing local businesses.
*It is a community gathering place in the urban core for residents and visitors.
*Enhances and highlights our local bohemian culture.
Projected Open Date: September 1, 2010
Space: 8,400 s.f. plus outdoor space
Location: 420 First Street, Downtown Santa Rosa, CA
Zoning: CD-7 - mixed use, downtown core.
The site is located within the Santa Rosa Gateways Redevelopment Project Area