Fab Labs: Improving Urban Resilience with Digital Fabrication
Fab Labs empower people and communities to make almost anything in order to satisfy almost any need in almost any circumstance
This is a wheel barrow, made in a Fab Lab, from a single sheet of plywood. This is just one example of a tool or device which could be made by a person or a group to satisfy their needs in an urban or humanitarian setting. Aid workers or local individuals can meet emerging needs, in real time, by designing custom to solutions which solve problems they identify.
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
The problem being solved is related to the connection between local challenges, technology, and logistics in urban aid scenarios. Ideally, victims of disasters brought about by climate change could rapidly and effectively deploy tools to save lives, or improve their living conditions. For many reasons, however, the tools available to aid organizations and cities often fail to empower victims to do this. Victims can languish, even when they are capable of helping themselves.
Fab Labs, however, offer communities the tools necessary to make almost anything, almost anywhere to meet almost any need. Fab Labs contain tools and equipment for design and fabrication which allow individuals to create solutions which solve emerging challenges in a disaster or which meeting everyday needs. With over 500 Fab Labs globally, people all over the world since 2001 have been empowered to do this: to make almost anything.
Fab Labs could be deployed in urban areas and "hardened" to be resistant to disasters. Having these facilities and tools available, along with stockpiled raw materials, would empower communities to respond immediately to help themselves or even other communities. In non-disaster scenarios then the labs could be used to provide educational or economic development opportunities.
Background is available at www.fabfoundation.org.
Fab Labs benefit a range of individuals and communities who have a desire to design solutions to solve their local problems. Since 2001, Fab Labs have been deployed in developed and developing countries, in urban and rural areas; and they are so useful because they are completely adaptable to local circumstances. Time and again, individual and community creative efforts have produced tools and products that have improved lives and added joy to everyday life.
HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?
Fab Labs offer a twist on social outreach and municipal services with a focus on design and fabrication as social forces in urban slums in the face of climate change. This new twist offers opportunities for NGO's, communities and state entities which were previously unavailable...opportunities for community collaboration through access to technology, design and fabrication tools which produce real products that make a real impact on people's lives. Fab Labs are a resource for communities, organizations and governments to meet overwhelming challenges; urban poverty and natural disasters chiefly among them. They are also a crossroads where they interact with each other in ways that they might not otherwise interact.
The design principles are core to the functioning of a Fab Lab. They operate in ordinary circumstances, as well as extraordinary, offering possibilities for relief of a community's chronic and acute conditions through educational, social, and economic development. Fab Labs are at the heart of human centered systems which empower people to focus on human centered design for their own lives. Fab Labs are flexible, and capable of using a variety of materials in a variety of circumstance; and flexible enough to be used by men, women, children and adults. A Fab Lab's users and uses are as unique as the challenges and designs they encounter.
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I have been affiliated with the Fab Lab movement since 2008, having founded one of the largest and best organized labs in the world. I have an interest in the intersection between humanitarian relief and technology and was recently able express it through a recent connection to FieldReady.org.