Le Camion d'Échange

How might we use mass catering to create new relationships and local economies?

Mass catering is what you might call a “complete social phenomenon”. Removed from the family domain and the private sphere, it raises questions about our lifestyles, our relationships with one another and society. Mass catering is often perceived as being of inferior quality than restaurant dining, but it is more of a service rendered than a commercial exchange; it is about feeding those who are unable to feed themselves. It is a global challenge that affects the whole world and a local intervention could open the door for a systemic change.

Le Camion d'Échange supports the idea that communities can be built and sustained by designing with people and creating space for their voices to shape the future. Our proposal brings together citizens of the Lille Métropole area who are interested in food and company and who wish to learn more about the people that share their community.

Roles: Design Strategist, Design Researcher, Service Designer, Visual Designer.

Methods: Design-led Research, Service Design Tools, Social Innovation Strategies, Scenario Making.

Collaborators: Ashley Graham and Estefania Acosta.

Partners: Design for Change in collaboration with Lille Métropole, France.




The challenge: This project started as a collaboration with Design for Change (France) which places citizens at the heart of the city as contributors to urban development. We were challenged to propose  innovative solutions to improve the quality of life of local residents through mass catering systems.


1. Kick-off conference at Lille Métropole, France

Design for change  is a collaborative design conference co-sponsored by the French government and private companies. Their stated mission is “to inspire, promote and develop innovation in the reflection and creation of new forms of relationships between individuals, society and their environment.” Experts, designers and partners were invited to discuss each topic and debrief important elements of each challenge.


2. Framing the Challenge


After a various of on-site trips, data gathering and interviews we questioned: As Lille Métropole (Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing) experiences unemployment and unfamiliarity between longtime residents and new coming families, we asked ourselves, How might we use mass catering to create new relationships and local economies, by using food traditions as a point of exchange to foster new relationships and economies around eating?


3. The Proposal

This project proposes cooperation between Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing through the planning and execution of dinner events in alternating locations. Le Camion d’échange aims to be the facilitator between producers and members of the communities that make up the Lille Metropole urban area. The purpose of this facilitation is to create an intimate connection, one that could foster loyalty to local businesses and strengthen ties between newcomers and local residents.

By learning from other communities, they will have a more open mind about people who are different. This is particularly important when there are conflicts around the world that are rooted in a lack of empathy. Through activities like the proposed dinner event, people who feel left out are given the chance to feel welcome and people who have closed their community are given the chance to learn about different communities, traditions, and food in a familiar environment.

4. How it works? (service journey map)

5. How it looks like? (scenario making)

6. Who are the actors envolved? (persona making)

About Lille Métropole, France

  • Tourcoing

The art scene is something in Tourcoing is very proud of, they constantly try to use art to begin discussion around topics such as religion, industry, creation and production.

  • Roubaix

Roubaix is trying to fight against the difficulties tied to deindustrialization from 1970-1980 by creating new economic industries, its cultural political emphasis (La Piscine Museum, Condition publique, Colisée, Nation-al Archives of the World of Work) and a strong student presence (EDHEC Business School, ENSAIT). Nevertheless, unemployment remains high and 75% of the city is classified as sensitive urban zone (ZUS).

  • Lille

This commune is the host of the Braderie de Lille every first Sunday of September. This flea market gathers people from all around as it is the largest such event in the area. Businesses have the opportunity to promote and sell their products in this market, which dates back to the 12th Century.