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Publication date: 2014
Keywords: collaborative production, digital fabrication, grassroots, Hacking, Open Source

Hackerspaces are membership workshops typically equipped with both digital fabrication technologies - CAD, 3D printers, laser cutters, routers – as well as traditional machines and tools including lathes, drills, sewing machines, and welding equipment. Emerging from the free software and free culture movements, community workshops have moved into hardware hacking, using tools that allow their members to modify, personalize, and manufacture anything from toys and vehicles to wind turbines and home energy systems.

Relevance for TRANSIT

A Hackerspace is an example of a social innovation because the collection of self-governed physical spaces and associated networks empower members to engage in digital and hand tools to achieve social goals and in the process draw attention to political and ideological debates. 


Social Innovation Initiatives in the Critical Turning Points-database 

Hackerspace 1 (North of England, UK)

Hackerspace 2 (North-West of England, UK)

Hackerspace 3 (Southern England, UK)

Hackerspace 4 (South-Central England, UK)


Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth

Build Brighton (UK)

HackLab Barracas (Argentina)


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

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

Research CoordinationSPRU – Sabine Hielscher and Adrian Smith

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