Alter Places 2023 - 2025



Over the last 20 years, Alternative Cultural Places (ACPs) have emerged across Europe through the actions of creative workers. The covid-19 crisis highlighted the role of ACPs in our local ecosystems as laboratories of sustainable practices. However, the unique value of these places remains unclear. 

ALTER-PLACES explores the value and contribution of sustainable practices implemented by ACPs in the development of green, fair, diverse urban ecosystems. Taking as starting point a holistic view of sustainability (social, economic and environmental) this cooperative project has 4 objectives:

1. Explore the innovative sustainable practices developed by ACPs and evaluate their role in urban resilience

2. Identify & assess obstacles and tensions that ACPs face in developing sustainable strategies

3. Build the capacity of ACPs to implement and monitor durable projects through exchange of best practices

4. Raise public authorities’ awareness regarding the role and value of ACPs in fair urban renewal.

ALTER-PLACES has been conceived with a pluri-disciplinary, participatory and mixed methods approach. 

The project design is composed of 4 phases: project set up, surveying & mapping, co-constructing, prototyping & testing, disseminating & evaluating. Our target groups include creative workers in ACPs, ACPs’ stakeholders, and local, national and European networks. These groups will benefit from a mapping of innovative practices developed by ACPs across Europe, 4 prototypes to evaluate sustainability approaches among ACPs, to implement relevant methods, to mutualize resources and to improve audiences’ experience. Finally, the project will generate critical data about the state of sustainability considerations within and among ACPs and communities, and explore implications of different political contexts (Ukrainian, European and Canada). Our intent is to trigger and enhance the capacity of ACPs as key drivers of sustain-ABLE practices in urban ecosystems and the cultural sector.

Through a number of case-studies of ACPs facing important urban regeneration challenge and innovative methodologies, ALTER-PLACES seeks to contextualize and understand the tensions involved in the implementation of inclusive and sustainable models and evaluate their impact in relation to several layers.


MU / La Station - Gare des Mines (Paris - France) - lead partner


Place run by Collectif MU (NGO) since 2016 which welcomes a plural artistic scene to develop activities: concerts, club nights, exhibitions, workshops, projections and a restaurant, a day-care centre, and a webradio. La Station is both a festive and convivial place and an art laboratory dedicated to emerging scenes.

LabEx ICCA (Paris - France)


ICCA is an interdisciplinary research laboratory focusing on the arts, culture and digital markets and their practices. Founded in 2011, ICCA aims to analyse new economic and regulatory models and to study new uses, emerging markets and changing legal frameworks, in both traditional sectors and the digital world.

Trans Europe Halles (Lund - Sweden)


TEH is one of the oldest and most dynamic cultural networks in Europe. They have been at the forefront of repurposing abandoned buildings for arts, culture and activism since 1983. They are based in Sweden and have 140 members in 40 different countries across Europe – from Spain to Georgia.

CDA (Zagreb - Croatia)


Place run by CDA (NGO) with a diverse program including concerts, exhibits, plays, literature, film and workshops. CDA’s mission is to encourage the creation of various artistic programs and the development and visibility of alternative and non-institutional culture, to actively involve young people in cultural and civil initiatives and to develop new models of cultural activity outside the existing institutions.

NGBG (Malmo - Sweden)


Since 2016, NGBG has run a yearly street festival on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö with 24 stages which attracted 14 500 visitors. They also run pop-up concerts, flash mobs, art exhibitions, a bicycle parade and a virtual recreation of the neighbourhood on a Minecraft server. They opened a place in 2022 in order to expand their activities in an old park and farmhouse.

Urban Spree (Berlin - Germany)


Urban Spree is a 1700 m2 artistic space in Berlin-Friedrichshain dedicated to urban cultures through exhibitions, artist residencies, DIY workshops, concerts, an art store and a large Biergarten. The gallery curates independent art shows on a monthly basis, which most likely include the painting of the whole compound and its flagship “Artist Wall“, one of the busiest arteries of Berlin.

Izolyatsia (Ukraine)


IZOLYATSIA is a NGO for contemporary culture founded in 2010 in a former insulation materials factory in Donetsk. In 2014, the territory was seized by the militia of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’.Since then, IZOLYATSIA has relocated to a shipyard in Kyiv before being interrupted by the war that began in February 2022. The organisation has three intertwined areas of activity: art, education and projects geared towards activating Ukraine’s creative sector.

DIY Space Project - Long Winter (Toronto - Canada)


Long Winter launched its DIY Space Project as part of an international festival and conference in 2021, in response to issues of space scarcity in Toronto. Locally focused, internationally informed, the Space Project is a direct intervention in support of the preservation and stimulation of self-organized, alternative culture.