We need ALL our citizens to participate in the Fab City economy

Restoring Our Communities (ROC) is a support organization on Laney College campus, which serves Laney students who are recently returning from incarceration. ROC helps students find work, apply for jobs, and navigate the community college system. ROC also provides a supportive environment for students on campus, and as it helps students, it gets increasingly effective at doing so.

The East Bay Express took notice of one of ROC’s recent efforts - working with the Laney College and Peralta College District (of which Laney is part) to make hriing processes less prejudicial toward applicants with criminal records. At the state Community College district, the Chancellor has also recently issued new guidelines which span the entire system.

ROC is a Fab City partner, and we’ll be working with them on a couple upcoming projects - stay tuned for details. In the meantime, check out the Express’s piece below.

Laney Student Alejandro Landrin, applying for a position at the College - Photo by Meg Shutzer

Laney Student Alejandro Landrin, applying for a position at the College - Photo by Meg Shutzer

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

Remixing - Good or Bad for Innovation?


Our Fab City partners at Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab (SZOIL), published this piece about shanzhai culture. They compare it to the remix culture of hiphop, which borrows liberally from existing material to create wildly new things.

Shenzhen manufactures 91% of the world’s consumer electronics. This has happened over the course of just 30 years or so. There is a tremendously productive and tightly woven ecosystem of small and larger businesses who have evolved symbiotically over three short decades. That economy is powerful, and hard to compete against. But it shows clearly how in a relatively short time, this sort of modular industry can emerge and change how our world works. See this piece by David Li for more on this history.

We sometimes forget that the world we live in has been changing so quickly. When we think about this in the context of a 40-year Fab City movement, it gives us confidence that it will change again, and that we can shape that change by applying the right effort in the right place, at the right time.

We need to consider the role of intellectual property, and its protection, in our systems of innovation. Are we better off when inventors can maintain more control, or when they can riff immediately on each others’ creations? What role does open source play? How does capital change this answer?

Judge for yourself…you can start right here:

Preparing Students for Tomorrow's Workforce


From Bill Mueller, CEO of Valley Vision - a Sacramento-Stockton organization working regionally on forward-looking strategies. We love what Bill has to say about the changing need for effective education to create better workers for the changing economy.

Some highlights:

Manufacturing…is undergoing a renaissance due to technology and the advantages of local suppliers and the need for quality control.

[F]ocus on skills, not titles.  Job titles are in flux.  They don’t predict what an employee will be doing [Build] a solid base of skills and fluency applicable to many occupations.  Generalist[s] eager to learn are more hire-able than specialists in most cases.

See his full post for more.

Fab City Book - Read it online, or get a printed copy of your own!

The Barcelona Fab City team has made their new book available to view online, and a print-to-order version is also available. The book - Fab City: The Mass Distribution of (Almost) Anything, is overflowing with case studies from around the world, and essays written by thought leaders in the Fab City movement.

Read it below, or click on the button to order printed copies.

November 8 is Manufacturing Day for Oakland High School Students

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November 8 is Oakland Manufacturing Day. 200 local students and other community partners will visit several Oakland manufucturers, and tour the skilled trade training programs at Laney College. 14 Oakland public high schools will be represented, representing communities throughout the city.

Local manufacturers are facing a critical shortage of workers, and inspiring our young people to pursue professional work in this sector is an important part of Fab City efforts.

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.