Oakland Fab City - what, why and how?

It’s 2019 in Oakland. We’ve joined a global community working toward the year 2054, when we make all we need. We’re wrapping our heads around all that needs to shift to create this new reality, and what problems need immediate attention. Some of our immediate problems can benefit from framing them in this long-term context, and this is a great place to start.

Check out the piece I recently published on the global Fab City Blog. It’s the first in a series that will be published throughout the year. We have so much to share!

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- sal

Fab Lab partners working to provide emergency homeless shelters in Rochester, NY

Bill Young, engineer at ShopBot, has co-created an open source design for a temporary flat-pack building design. It’s called Shelter 2.0, and has so far been fabricated by several dozen partners around the world. Bill is iterating on the design, and is currently working to find ways to make the Shelter in sites without expensive tooling, and finding partners who can make use of the structure to help solve problems. He hopes to see the Shelter help solve transitional housing needs of homeless in US cities, and is working with House of Mercy, a shelter in Rochester NY, to encourage them to adopt the structure to help with their growing local client population.

We’re in early days of a conversation here in Oakland about how this sort of project and other resources of the global Fab Lab network can help with problems we have here, today.

Join the conversation at @goElevatorWorks - we’d love to hear your thoughts.


This Friday - Manufacturing Day in San Leandro

Courtesy of the City of San Leandro - see details below:

San Leandro’s long history of making and manufacturing continues to thrive with our participation in this year’s Manufacturing Day, October 5th 2018. Some of the events scheduled for this day:

  • Scandic Springs Tour from 8am to noon (register here)

  • Urban Bloc Tours at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30am (transforming shipping containers? Cool! Register here)

  • General Foundry Service Tour at 10am (If you’ve never been in a foundry, this is a must see. Register here, and note that you’ll need closed toe shoes)

  • Halus Power Systems Tour from 1:00 – 2:00pm (remanufacturing 100kw wind turbines. Register here)

  • 21st Amendment Brewery Tours at 1:00pm and 3:00pm (register here)

  • Manufacturer’s Appreciation Event at Drake’s First Friday – 4:30pm – 6:30pm (learn more and RSVP here)

Here’s a map of these events for ease of navigating, and more information about this fascinating day.

Fri Sep 21 - Emerging Manufacturer Support Road Show at Laney College

We're hitting the road, to identify and connect resources throughout the area for the benefit of Elevator Works and Oakland's Fab City activities!


We'll be hosting events every Third Friday, at different locations throughout the city. Let us know if you'd like to host an upcoming Peer Support Group session!

You: entrepreneur, marketer, investor, inventor, maker, hustler, creator, or just interested in all this.

We: a group of your peers looking for ways to help each other succeed - to get products to market, to help companies grow, to connect partners with each other, to find new solutions to the problems we face every day. We want your help, and to share our resources with you!

Wanna know more about Fab City? Check out our Fab City resource center.

Fab Cities – Coming to You Soon (-ish)

By 2054 all cities will be self-sustaining... or at least the cool ones. 

The Fab City Global Initiative launched in 2011 by the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, the same place that introduced Fab Labs to the world. Building upon the concept of the Fab Lab, bit by bit and atom by atom, a Fab City will be growing it’s own food, manufacturing it’s own goods, and powering itself in an efficient net zero loop.

Fab Lab grew from the intriguingly titled and wildly popular course at MIT called, How To Make (Almost) Anything. The class which was started in 2001 used advanced manufacturing tools such as 3D printers, CBC Routers, Laser Cutters, electronics benches as well as traditional hand tools to make, as advertised (almost) anything.  Today there are almost 1300 Fab Labs around the world and the Fab Lab model will support the Fab City movement, but much more will be needed to make the shift to self-sustaining cities - it’s not just a technological shift, we’ll also need a deep cultural shift in how we think about and relate to cities.

Thomas Diez who launched the Fab City project in Barcelona said, “Fab Labs are not about technology, however, they are about the culture around technology. And they are spreading fast….I can design something in Barcelona, and without using fossil fuel, create the identical product in Cape Town, Wellington or Tokyo.”  In terms of how the Fab Labs contribute to the landscape of a Fab City, Diez says, “A fab city is not a city full of fab labs. It’s ecosystem that is varied, coherent and connected.”

Today there are roughly 30 member cities representing each continent (except for Antarctica – which surprisingly doesn’t have a Fab Lab yet) including about 10 new cities which announced their intentions to join the initiative a few weeks ago at the Fab City Summit in Paris.  The theme of this summit was Fabricating Resilience.

Think for a moment what a resilient, self-sustaining city looks like.  It will be interconnected with all other member cities through open-sourced technology and processes. It will be adaptable, nimble, and, in theory equitable.

...Only 36 years to go

Be sure to check out upcoming posts about Fab Cities:

  • Utilities

  • Tech

  • Food and Beverage

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Industry

  • Workforce

  • Equity

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