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FabLabs originated out of the MIT Interdisciplinary Centre for Bits and Atoms course entitled ‘How to Make (almost) Anything’ and therefore are conceptually embedded in a common set of requirements and technologies - outlined in the FabLab charter.  FabLab users have created a global network, supported by the FabLab Foundation and the Fab Academy training programme. An annual Fab Forum brings practitioners together. 

There are 440 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, and 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 

FL 1

FL2 (Southern England)

FL3 (North-East England)

FL4 (East England)


Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth

FabLab Amersfoort (the Netherlands) 

FabLab Argentina 


Summary & Case study report (excluding CTP-database)

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


Research Coordination: SPRU – Sabine Hielscher and Adrian Smith 

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