Hackerspace Architect: What is a Hackerspace?
Recently I’ve had a few people ask me, what is a hackerspace? This is of course a work in progress, not a finished stone tablet that’s come down from a mountain…
A hackerspace is a local place, ideally within walking distance of your home or work place, where you can go to make things. It is a place where workspace and tools are shared. Access to the space is affordable and there are very few rules about when you can use it and for what. The space is setup primarily for self-led or pear-learning formal teaching is not a day-to-day part of the space. In a hackerspace you can work alone, or with friends or collaborate with other users of the space. There is a strong social aspect to the space, though it is secondary to the provision of tools and workspace. A hackerspace might include a tool library for the lending of tools to be used off site, a rapid prototyping space, wood and metal working areas, bicycle or car repair facilities, pro-level kitchen spaces, textiles workspaces, assembly areas, welding, electronics labs, photography & videography facilities, recording studios and a co-working area. Some may have rentable desks, workbenches and workshop spaces adjacent to the shared areas. The atmosphere is permissive and one of mutual support.
Some hackerspaces are small collectives of people who have chosen to work together on projects, others spaces are larger public spaces like similar to a modern library. Each has a very slightly different flavour. Hackerspaces look to form networks between different spaces offer a broader range of facilities across a city or region.
The primary aim of a hackerspace is to allow democratised access to small scale manufacturing tools and workspace to allow for everyone to learn hands on skills, test ideas and even bring a product to market. A hackerspace also provides are “3rd space”, it is social infrastructure and aims to spread innovation and good ideas that will generally benefit society. It is a place to concentrate, to be inspired, to share skills and to meet people with a similar world view.
Tooday’s thumbnail is spray paints in a cabinet at Cass Art Supplies in Manchester.