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Addressing vacant space in Zagreb

Pop-up Ilica

Addressing vacant space


What’s the problem?

Ilica is the main road that runs through the city centre of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. In certain locations, the street has many vacant (commercial and government owned) spaces, which contribute to a desolate and unpleasant look of the city.


What’s the solution?

Pop-up Ilica set up an independent, experimental consortium as a matchmaking mechanism between owners of commercial spaces on Ilica and potential space users who offer creative content and products on a pop-up basis. This way, these areas can turn into vibrant, lively places where creative professionals and community members can create, produce, connect, share and showcase their work.



  • Platform & community
  • Matchmaking service
  • Creative & commercial projects/events



  • Urban revitalisation
  • Cultural & creative industry
  • Private-public partnership
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Community action



  • Residents of Ilica & surrounding neighbourhoods
  • Owners of commercial spaces
  • Creative & commercial professional
  • (Social) entrepreneurs
  •  City officials & urban planners



  • Act as a catalyst for incubation and testing of new cultural, artistic and creative projects, services and products in empty commercial spaces
  • Examine the reasons for empty spaces not being revitalised. What are the main obstacles to establish mutually beneficial partnerships?
  • Experiment with pop-up creative and commercial models which could ensure sustainable management, production, and sales in spaces with added social value to the community, development of the cultural sector and economic prosperity for young professional creatives


How is the solution innovative within the local context?

The solution is innovative because it matches the needs, issues and resources that all stakeholders can provide and allows space for constructive dialogue in the city. The Pop-up Ilica model could be a first step towards urban revitalisation in Zagreb, which could later serve as a best practice example to motivate and provide direction to local and national authorities that deal with unused and abandoned public spaces.



The solution is not yet in the implementation phase. However, being a part of the Ready Made Ilica initiative means it can receive subsidy as a pilot project from the Croatian Cluster for Culture and Creative Industries.


Stage of development

  • Developed under the umbrella of Ready Made Ilica initiative and festival
  • Continuing further development in the form of continuous experimental workshops to make the initiative ready to pilot

This innovation was developed during a co-creation process facilitated by Social Innovation Lab and supported by the Social Innovation Community.