Making and Sustainability

At an event at the Machines Room in London on 26 October, we discussed the roles that maker communities and the places where they interact can play in sustainable development.

Update (13 June 2017): Adrian Smith and Ann Light have written an article arising from their learning from this event (see below).

The event was entitled “How can makerspaces, fablabs and hackerspaces help cultivate sustainable developments?”

Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too.

Introductory blog posts

STEPS Centre member Adrian Smith, the event’s main organiser, has written two linked pieces exploring the questions around the event:

Blog 1: Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

Blog 2: Moving beyond products to material culture

Reflections after the event

COP vs POC: innovation under the radar of climate talks Anita Makri (SciDev.Net website)

Sustainable and equitable maker and fixer communities (Restart Project website)

Reflections on #sustmake Jean Carletta (HeatHack website)

Making new worlds together Nathan Oxley (STEPS Centre blog)

Journal article

Cultivating sustainable developments with makerspaces by Adrian Smith and Ann Light in Liinc em revista, v.13 n.1, 2017 (Special issue on citizen science and citizen labs)

About the event

The event is hosted by the Centre for Innovation and Energy Demand, together with the STEPS Centre.

Further reading

Grassroots Innovations: a website bringing together various research projects on community-led solutions for sustainability

Grassroots innovation: historical and comparative perspectives: a STEPS Centre project looking at examples from different times and spaces which shed light on current questions

Float like a Fab Lab, sting like a Honey Bee: a STEPS digital story on innovations in Latin America, India and the UK, past and present