In a Fab City, digital tools and networks (such as Fab Labs, Makerspaces, etc.) are used to support citizen empowerment, so people can have an active role in making key decisions related to the development of their city, increase their resilience and improve urban sustainability
Today, cities are the largest consumers in the world. Rapid urbanisation, accelerated industrial development and disproportionate consumption are causing the deterioration of our ecosystems and have a strong social impact. The idea of rethinking the way we live, work and relate to our environment was born with these issues in mind.
Fab City is a global movement of cities that aims to develop a new urban model based on local production and global connectivity to encourage cities to become self-sufficient.
Fab City' started in 2011 at the Fab7 international conference, as a partnership between IAAC Fab Lab Barcelona, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, the Fab Foundation and Barcelona City Council. In 2014, the project was officially launched at Fab10 and the the city of Barcelona accepted the 40 year challenge and created the first network of public Fab Labs in the city, to support the initiative. In 2015 Fab City became a global initiative, with cities such as Boston, Ekurhuleni, Cambridge, Shenzhen, Somerville, the state of Kerala in India and the country of Georgia joining the project. The following year, Amsterdam, Detroit, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Bhutan, Occitanie, Sacramento, Toulouse also join the initiative and consolidate the project as a global movement.
Fab City’s main strategy is to create a sustainable ecosystem of production and knowledge transfer by facilitating collaboration between urban spaces and encouraging them to visualize a more promising future for the following generations.
With citizen leadership is at the core of the Fab City approach, the project focuses on the following areas:
- Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem
- Distributed Energy Production
- Cryptocurrencies for a New Value Chain
- Food Production and Urban Permaculture
- Circular Economy
- Education and Collaboration with Local Governments.
Fab City’s impact and reach is impressive. From a project to a global movement, with a network of cities that continues to grow, the project is a great example of how local initiatives that are connected globally can shift some of the paradigms that govern the world today.
While changing the established ways governments work and citizens think is a complex and lengthy process, following the example of these pioneering cities is a step forward towards reaching sustainability at a global level.
In the future, Fab City hope to convince more cities to join the challenge and by 2054, they are hoping that cities will produce everything they consume, share a global repository of open source solutions for cities, and source their material locally through recycling and digital manufacturing.
Fab City is currently running in Barcelona, Boston, Ekurhuleni, Cambridge, Shenzhen, Somerville, Kerala state in India, Georgia, Amsterdam, Detroit, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Bhutan, Occitanie, Sacramento, Toulouse, Brest and Curitiba.
Case study date: June 2018
Main Image: IAAC
More case studies
Seoul Innovation Bureau
SIB aims to transform the the way local government works, making it participatory, agile and innovative.