The Neighborhood Vending Machine is a community and environmental project. It is actually an automatic vending machine that contains various useful products and tools that most people occasionally need but do not use regularly. At any hour of the day, each resident in the neighborhood, who wants to use tools such as drills, projectors, pumps for bicycles, etc., can easily access the vending machine and borrow them for periods of time ranging between one hour and three days, and return them back to the machine. Just like borrowing a book from a library. The service itself is subsidized by the local authority together with the community, and works through a dedicated app.
The main goal is to allow residents of the neighborhood to share expensive appliances and tools and thus reduce consumption and curb spending. This is a community project that promotes a circular economy and an environmental approach. Beyond the positive effect that a project of this kind can promote, the intention is also to make this machine a kind of community and neighborhood center for the residents. It is important to note that the machine is intended only for the residents of the specific neighborhood, with the intention that the residents will take responsibility for the machine and treat it with respect unlike the way they might treat any generic machine.
The idea for the project came when I moved to Brussels two years ago. I arrived in a new city and I did not know many people. As part of the arrangements I made in my new apartment I needed different tools, and I did not want to purchase tools only for single use. At that moment I realized that if I had a place in the neighborhood where I could rent or borrow different appliances and tools it would make my life easier, cheaper and much more environmental.
As part of the development of the project I found this striking statistic: “The average power drill is used for somewhere between 6 and 20 minutes in its entire lifetime. And yet supposedly almost half of all American households own one”. The ambition is that this project will change the way we share useful tools. This venture has the ability to make a big difference in the way communities in cities live and cooperate, allowing environmental responsibility to be taken and most importantly to reduce our ecological footprint. This project encourages a circular economy, environmental thinking and a sense of community among the residents of the neighborhood.
Amnon Direktor is an architect, journalist and urban researcher originally from Tel Aviv. He has a master degree in architecture from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He is currently studying for a master's degree in urban studies at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium. In recent years he has worked in architectural offices and landscape architecture offices, such as Bar-Orian architecture office, Moria-Sekely landscape office and the Parisian architectural office Chartier-Dalix. In the last year, and as part of his studies, he did an internship at Humankind - an agency for urban change based in Rotterdam. In addition, Amnon’s articles about various issues in architecture, urbanism, and the environment have been published regularly in several magazines, blogs and journals.