'It's free real estate' is a quote which has become a meme from the sketch by Tim & Eric – an American comedy duo. In this skit, they offer a completely free house for, what seems, no reason to Jim Boonie (a fictional character). This sketch is silly, crazy, but also true. In Japan alone, there are around 8 million houses which can be acquired for free (or almost for free). In Lithuania situation is similar – there are certain regions where it is possible to get apartments at no cost. These properties are free because they lost their previous value. This is the consequence of the shrinking population. But this does not mean that the game is over for these places – we just need to create values at no cost and use the shrinking population to spark innovation. Is there such a way?
Andrius Ropolas is an architect, architecture critic from Lithuania and a partner at the 'Office De Architectura
'. For more than ten years he has been running an architectural blog and contributing to the biggest news websites and cultural magazines in Lithuania. In 2018 he has been an assistant curator for the Lithuanian pavilion at the Biennale Architettura di Venezia. Andrius has worked on a wide range of projects and countries including Denmark, Belgium, Japan, United Kingdom and Lithuania.
*Organized with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Ukraine