Small-scale Production Sites as Part of Urban Resilience Infrastructure: The Intersections of Urban Planning and the Fab City

Tatum, Kimberly and Knieling, Jörg (2024) Small-scale Production Sites as Part of Urban Resilience Infrastructure: The Intersections of Urban Planning and the Fab City. KEEP ON PLANNING FOR THE REAL WORLD. Climate Change calls for Nature-based Solutions and Smart Technologies. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2024, 29th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 469-479. ISSN 2521-3938

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Research in the wake of recent international crises points to the potential of urban production, particularly small-scale, accessible, digital production sites such as Fab Labs and makerspaces, to strengthen cities’ resilience by contributing to faster response times in the development and creation of innovative products and to knowledge-sharing and skills development for local communities (HILDEBRANDT et al. 2022). This has been recognized by a growing group of cities who have joined the Fab City Global Initiative, which now includes 52 members (FAB CITY FOUNDATION). The Initiative envisions a future of almost completely local and circular production, as part of a globally connected and mutually collaborative distributed production network (DIEZ 2016). At the same time, cities are facing an overall long-term trend in which productive uses are disappearing from the inner-city and being pushed to the peripheries (BENKE 2021; DE BOECK/RYCKEWAERT 2020; HATUKA/BEN-JOSEPH 2022; JURASCHEK 2022; NOVY 2022). This is continuing despite – and, in some cases, even driven by – cities’ strategies to encourage sustainable urban development and the adoption of guiding principles for urban planning such as mixed-use zoning, the 15-minute City, etc. (BRANDT et al. 2018; LIBBE/WAGNER-ENDRES 2019; RYCKEWAERT et al 2021; SCHROCK/WOLF-POWERS 2019). The current number and scale of small, accessible, digital production sites like Fab Labs is still inadequate to meet the needs of the Fab City vision and to fulfill the potential for significant impact on cities’ resilience (HILDEBRANDT et al. 2022). Expansion of these sites is made more difficult by the high competition with other uses for exactly the type of central and accessible spaces that small production sites need (DE BOECK/RYCKEWAERT 2020; LIBBE/WAGNER-ENDRES 2019). A product of the project “Fab City: Decentral, digital production for value creation” (funded by, NextGenerationEU), this paper links these challenges with the role of urban planning in the integration of small production sites in the existing urban fabric. Drawing on the literature and discourse on urban production, as well as interviews and observations of OpenLabs set up in Hamburg in the Fab City project and case reports on other small digital production sites, we elaborate a set of factors of urban integration for these sites. We then propose key areas in which further research is needed in order to develop or adapt planning instruments and policies to support the incorporation of these forms of production as part of the resilience infrastructure of urban neighborhoods.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fab Lab, Fab City, planning, urban production, urban resilience
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2024 08:09
Last Modified: 10 May 2024 09:17

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