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City envy: we want a crowd-built pub like Manchester

Written by
Flo Wales Bonner

How to bring a real sense of community to a new housing complex? The developers of NOMA in Manchester arrived at a logically British answer: booze. But they went about this mission in a genius way: by creating the world’s first crowd-built pub.

The Pilcrow has been constructed by a team of local volunteers, craftspeople and designers, who learned new skills including beekeeping, robotics and brewing, and then put those skills to use making everything from the pub’s furniture to aprons for staff. Ben Young, the brains behind the project, says that crowd-building creates warm, fuzzy neighbourhood vibes: ‘People become invested in the space and, if they’ve made a bar tile or a bar tap or a stool, they get a bit of ownership over that.’ And the prospect of getting tipsy at the end probably helps too.

In other awesome ideas, Geneva now has an inflatable nightclub.

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