New social uses for unused newsstands

A pilot scheme is under way to find new uses for ten newsstands in the city. The project will be conducted via a cooperative made up of people with functional diversity, at the same time enabling labour inclusion for people with disabilities.

03/12/2018 18:25 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

Twenty five people will get training and advice for six months to turn them into future members of the cooperative project led by the Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities. The cooperative will be set up as a company for labour insertion, employing a minimum of 30% of personnel at risk of exclusion.

The intention is for the new cooperative’s newsstands to be able to provide other services besides newspapers and magazines, helping them to become points of reference for local residents. Potential services include book exchange points, wi-fi and phone charging points, an information point on municipal services and activities organised by social entities, an order distribution point, lottery sales and more.

The initiative comes after months of work to identify newsstands which are out of use and which can be maintained in the streets to create job opportunities for people with disabilities.

New points for cultural, environmental and social services

The selection of the ten newsstands was made after a study of these types of sales points analysed their locations and their interaction with the surrounding areas to assess alternative future uses which ensure their operability.

The city has 338 newsstands, of which 285 are currently operating. The majority make a profit, although the results vary depending on location, the most efficient being those in the city centre. All the current licences end in September 2030.

The model is at risk though. The economic performance of the stands is too dependent on income from publicity, as new consumer habits and technological changes have meant a considerable drop in the sale of newspapers and magazines.

New uses planned to reactivate the newsstands would make them:

  • Points for activities linked to the alternative and circular economy, collection points for food and nearly new goods, storage and pick-up of goods ordered online, left luggage facility for tourists, concierge services for local residents etc.
  • Facilities providing cultural services, hosting exhibitions by local residents, points for historical memory and spaces for intercultural dialogue.
  • Points for environmental services, information, storage and repair of bicycles, seed distribution for urban agriculture and electric recharging facilities.
  • Points offering social services such as soup kitchens, self-managing loan of books and board games, medical support at night and school support and insertion.

The Observatory for Urban Planning at the Autonomous University of Barcelona took part in the study. The results will now be shared with the press sales sector to get them involved in defining the model for the newsstand of the future.


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