budapest, hungary: mindspace/lumen
Throughout all of my travels, whenever I reach out to people in the social impact space out of the blue, they are always incredibly helpful and responsive. Upon writing Adam at Mindspace and Aron at Aurora (next blog) from Vienna pre-Budapest, both responded within minutes! It made me feel so welcome and grateful that they were willing to take the time to meet.
Adam is a co-owner of Lumen (cafe) and Mindspace (non-profit focused on social innovation). Mindspace is essentially a think-tank that consults on projects in the community in order to implement and scale them in a fun way. Mindspace has a full-time team and also volunteers who help work on the projects. The team often meets at Lumen (a cozy, trendy cafe/bar with outdoor seating and garden) to brainstorm and ideate. Perfect place to do so!
I visited Lumen twice, once to meet with Adam and learn more about his experiences, and the next day to meet with members of his team. We spoke outside at the garden, which is so fitting to Budapest's fun, chill and welcoming vibe. I loved it!
The team shared with me some of the amazing projects they are working on. To name a few... Shared Cities is a movement to improve sustainability and livelihood across 11 cities in Europe. The goal is to creatively design spaces to transform urban living. Another project is Your City in 100 Words. This idea came from Chile and encourages the community to write down their thoughts on their city in 100 words. The team especially works to engage youth with this to help with their development. The top entries were then transformed into art pieces! Lastly (but not all), Danube Calling engages people with the natural water of the city. My favorite activity they told me about was painting on the river of the river! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the combination of creativity and sustainability via Mindspace. Learn more here! http://mindspace.hu/en/connection
In addition to learning about the projects, the conversations were incredibly eye-opening. I love meeting with people in each city because you truly gain a local perspective. The team taught me so much. Budapest has been booming over the past few years, which is incredible, however, this creates growing pains via gentrification when people and businesses are being pushed out. Social impact and sustainability are also quite new to Budapest so it requires a lot of word of mouth and awareness to get people involved. Also, given the economy, it is at times difficult for people to make financial investments. Lastly, given the complexities of the government and lack of prioritization of social impact initiatives, governance support proves to be a challenge.
With all of this being said, I was so inspired by the team and the incredibly amazing work they are doing. They are truly paving the way and making a space for people to improve livelihoods and the environment in Budapest. Their constant drive, passion and energy makes this a prime example of the power a grassroots movement can have and the impact they can make.
Thank you to Adam & team for your openness and generosity during my visit!