The United Kingdom’s signature red phone booths are still in demand, but not just for calls anymore. In response to resident requests, British telecommunications began selling the booths for £1 in 2008. Now, more than 2,500 have been adopted.
Last year, two London School of Economic’s innovators, fashioned one into a free cell phone charging station on Tottenham Court-road. The success of the solar-powered stall, visited about 80 times a day, lead to funding for 10 more in the city centre, and the founders often receive queries from those around the globe who want to follow suit.
But technology isn’t the only way these phone booths reconnect with locals. Some have transformed into art galleries, coffee shops, defibrillator stations, and many libraries that operate on a take one, leave one policy and hold as many as 300 books. Gloucester company English Phone boxes can even fulfil customer requests, which include everything from mini-offices to pint-size bars.