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There are 1182 FabLabs globally networked: from Colombia to Canada, Namibia to the Netherlands. Deriving from a model pioneered by the Centre for Bits and Atoms at MIT, FabLabs are digital fabrication workshops open to local communities, and with access to open source design and manufacturing resources. They enable people to make whatever they want, turning consumers into producers. Advocates see them as democratizing production and consumption (Gershenfeld 2005, Troxler 2010).

Relevance for TRANSIT

A FabLab is an example of a social innovation because these community-based workshops are spaces where anyone can learn about and use digital fabrication technologies to make almost anything. These workshops might potentially turn consumers into producers, democratising production and consumption.


Social Innovation Initiatives in the Critical Turning Points-database 

FabLab 1 (not publicly available)

FabLab 2 (Southern England)

FabLab 3 (North-East England)

FabLab 4 (East England)


Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth

FabLab Amersfoort (Netherlands) 

FabLab Argentina 



Smith, A.; Hielscher, S. and Fressoli, M. (2015) Transformative social innovation narrative : Fablabs. TRANSIT: EU SHH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169

Hielscher, S., Smith, A., Fressoli, M. (2015) WP4 Case Study Report: FabLabs, Report for the TRANSIT FP7 Project, SPRU, University of Sussex, Brighton, TRANSIT: EU SHH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169


Research Coordination: SPRU – Sabine HielscherAdrian Smith and Georgina Voss 

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