Join the Elevator Works conversation

We all need each other

Elevator Works is successful in direct proportion to our extended community. Whether you're curious, actively working on a project that you need help with, need a space to meet your peers, have ideas or resources to contribute, we want to be connected with you, and for all of you to be connected to each other. You know who you are - we see you!

Get in the mix...

Don't miss out on upcoming Elevator Works news and events.  Join and support Elevator Works on social media:


We need to go deeper!

If you want to get involved and contribute to Fab City or other Elevator Works conversations:


We'll see you there.

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.

What's an ADU? and why should I care?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an emerging category of residential construction. What we used to call an 'in-law' built inside or next to an existing home has promise to solve several problems of today's city.

Retention, Anti-Displacement

ADU regulations allow existing homeowners to build on their existing property, by making it easier for those homeowners to get permits which can expand a single-family dwelling by adding one or more small dwelling units. The framework keeps the size of these units small, which tends to keep construction costs low.

The way that units like this have tended to be built is for 'flippers', or small residential developers, to buy homes from homeowners, invest in permits and buildout of these structures, and resell or rent the now-more-valuable property.

When working properly, ADUs can allow homeowners to unlock the value of the land their homes sit on, and let them stay in our city.

Increased Housing Stock

Our cities need a significant increase in the number of residential units - homes, apartments, cottages, and others - to meet the demand of our growing population. Housing development has lagged population growth for years, and it will take some time to catch up.

Large-scale apartment/condo/townhouse developments are one part of the solution, but augmenting these strategies with thousands or tens of thousands of homeowners who can build individual units means an uptick in the number of project drivers - we are less dependent on large, risky, high cost, long-term development ventures to build our housing stock. Distributed risk and distributed benefit result from ADUs at significant scale.

Increased Density in Low-Rise Neighborhoods

Many residential neighborhoods in our city prefer buildings and homes to stay low to the ground - five story and taller buildings might be welcome (or at least accepted) in high-traffic commercial corridors, but on our residential streets, we're still a one- and two-story city. ADUs increase infill construction, bringing higher neighborhood density, which helps with all sorts of other problems. Busier streets are safer streets. Denser neighborhoods can support retail services, keeping dollars circulating within them. Transit functions better when riders use it. Tax revenues increase. Schools are busier and better funded.


Check out the infographic below for more on ADUs - via our friends at blink!Lab, and @letsgoADU.

Micro-Manufacturing Peer Support Group - Friday Aug 17


Oakland is a Fab City!

You are the emerging manufacturers who will create new systems, new ways of working, new products, new materials, and generally new ideas. In order to achieve long term goals of increasing local production and sustainability, we need to find ways to help each other. 

Come join us, meet each other, and enjoy a snack and a beverage before you start your weekend. We promise - it's worth your time.

5pm, Fri Aug 18, at Elevator Works


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

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 3.26.03 PM.png

Join us for our monthly Micro-Manufacturing Peer Support Group - Friday July 20th

Last month was a hit! Thanks to everyone who came out. I hope you'll all come back and bring a friend this Friday!

Since we last met Elevator Works has hosted the digital fabrication shop for Red Bull Creation, traveled to Paris for the Fab City conference, and won a CNC Router! (this is a good story - there's definitely a blog post in it & we'll tell you all about it on Friday).  Looking forward to hearing what you've been up to and, as always, how Elevator Works can help your projects and your business and your all-around well being (that last one might be easy, might be hard, but hey, we're in this together).

And if you don't know:

West Oakland is the place where a modern manufacturing economy is emerging. We are in a time of rapid change and disruption of traditional design and production. We are in a city full of smart, resourceful, creative people who are working in various ways with materials. Traditional manufacturers need to learn new ways of working. Innovators and inventors need access to resources, and to each other. We all need to learn to make the most of expensive real estate, scarce workers, and shifting customer expectations.

We do this by connecting to each other. Join us for our second monthly Micro-Manufacturing Peer Support Group, with great people, and also snacks.

All before dinnertime, every Third Friday

Register Here

Now you know.