In the process of creating the FAB FEST'18 edition and brainstorming possible themes for it we had a chance to do a lot of research into trending phenomenons regarding fabrication and Fab Lab initiatives from around the world. We've come across some great ideas and we decided it is important to share them with our audience.
One of the most interesting ones- FAB CITY - emerged from MIT' centre for Bits and Atoms, Fab Foundation and Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. A FAB CITY is a new urban model for locally productive and globally connected self sufficient cities. In a Fab City, citizens are empowered to be the masters of their own destiny, their resilience is increased and a more ecological system is developed because movement of materials and energy consumption is drastically reduced. It operates within the Fab Lab network, using it as a global infrastructure and knowledge source for the radical transformation on how we work, live and play in cities.
Every year, hundreds of creators and innovators gather to talk and share wins and discoveries to the global network of Fab Lab'ers with strong aims to transform cities through initiatives like circular economy, Zero-km, or self sufficiency. Moreover, these talks and workshops are getting more and more recognition by city authorities and mayor's offices around the world what creates a great climate for creators and change makers to improve the quality of rapidly growing populations of urbanised areas. Up to now there are 18 cities that have committed to transforming their city into a FAB CITY (Next summit will happen in Paris this summer, straight after FAB FEST'18, here is more information https://summit.fabcity.paris/).
These ideas do not travel so far away from the FAB FEST. From the very start of the festival in early 2016 we have been developing strategies for fabrication of the festival that in the global picture could be scaled up and developed in to a real life strategy. The nature of the festival is to enable participants to design, fabricate and build life size, habitable pavilions that would fit into the cultural, social or even economic context of a city.
The key of proving self-sufficiency nature of this project was to have all the elements of the process under one roof. Design teams use dedicated creative spaces of the Fab Lab and the University of Westminster to design prototypes and proposals. They use the Fabrication Lab, that is situated in the same building, to first test their proposals, then later to fabricate all the components needed for the assembly. The building process also happens in the same building, few floors down, in an old construction testing facility. This strategy has been proven to successfully work in this scale over past few years. We are constantly trying to find new ways to improve these processes and contribute to the Fab City initiative.
Moreover, all the international teams have to design their proposals remotely and send the fabrication drawings to the FAB FEST team (data in). This process is then cross-tested using help of the liaison programme, where experienced Lab Assistants from the Fabrication Lab test designs and fabrication strategies using the Fab Lab equipment and oficial materials. After that, liaisons give feedback (data out) to the designers from all around the world. This process helps to reduce factor of failure, saving materials and leaving smaller carbon footprint. This process also makes sure that design proposals are going to be buildable. This process strongly contributes to the 'DIDO' model described in the diagram above.
If you have ideas how we could improve the experience and contribute to making cities a better place to live through FAB FEST, do not hesitate to ask us out for lunch at the park or a drink at the pub so we can continue this conversation. Or just simply send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts.
Here is a nice documentary about FAB CITY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyMl_Qedd7c
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