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  1.  (6080.1)
    So I've been out traversing the country and building stuff in shops and organizing people. Haven't had nearly enough time to converse with you all, though catching up on discussion has been a joy.

    Update out in the Seattle corner of the world:
    We've had a bunch of meetings for SEA H+. Nearly all the audio is now being hosted on, along with notes and the like. Still flogging iTunes into submission for changing the feed URL to an FTP server.
    People have been stepping up to lead discussion, which has been phenomenal. Has allowed me to do research on my next presenation (taking place the 19th of this month) on Future Cities and Urban Living and how it's awesome and way more sustainable. Facebook invite is here. Building up rather than out is great for the planet, living so close means less of a footprint, etc etc. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

    Also working on a potential maker space. It doesn't have a name yet, but details on what we've been doing are here. Because actually doing stuff is powerful and gains momentum and connects you to amazing people and we all invent more, do more, and are just all around happier.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009
    What do you mean by 'Maker Space'? DIY?

    My sister teaches a class in Stanford's d school "Designing for Sustainable Abundance" I could ask for her notes if that's something you'd be interested in.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009
    Erg, Future Cities and Urban Living sounds like an awesome topic that I will miss. Must remind self to investigate the audioness.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009

    DIY. Can mean shared or rented tools, work spaces, storage areas. Sometimes classes.

    There's a business, Techshop, in the Bay Area and now Portland that does this.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009
    Something has just popped into my head, especially concerning the fun but scattershot nature of my presentation. Our mouths do lots of moving but our hands are idle. Given, its hard to be concrete while talking about esoterica like nanotechnology or cryogenics, but the majority of our topics are amenable to action. The question we keep butting against is 'how'?

    We're talking about sustainable urban living, and the majority of us who attend these things are urbanites of the young techie variety (except for yours truly, of the filthy street urchin genus). I'd like to see everyone who comes to this one bring a DIY project they can show-- wastewater recycling, solar water heating, efficient insulation, etc. and so on.

    I've recently read how to increase the efficiency of showers using thirty dollars of caulk and plexiglass. I'm sure if we all put our ample heads together, we can figure out a way to use the ambient heat to say, keep tropical plants. I don't know. I don't have half the brainpower some of those gents and ladies (and Willow) has.

    Lets do things, dammit!
  2.  (6080.6)
    Common space as a concept is anathema to many Americans. Mainly the ones who think that "anathema" is that Russian girl on "The Sopranos". But it's such a sound concept. Chicago is dying for more of it. We have places like Galaxie for artists and The Old Town School for Folk Music for musicians, but the rentals on art/make space are idiotic. The condo bust-out could be a boom for this though. You haver hundreds, if not thousands of newish structures with new wiring and plumbing built on the grandiose scale that the yuppies demanded for ages sitting empty. A smart landlord would start pushing those as creative spaces, small business shops, fabricators and the like. Instead of a three-flat with six empty apartments you could have 6 businesses paying rent and contributing to the tax base.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009
    What these things really need is someone with a fat wad of start up capital to get a space up and running. Barring that fairy godmother scenario, getting money is the key ingredient. In pretty any american city, if you build it and get a CNC machine, they will come.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009
    Any guesses & estimates on the critical mass for planting something like this? A city of 500 000 or one of 5 000 000? A town of 5000? Startup costs?
  3.  (6080.9)
    I'm of the "teach a man to fish" mindset. What I'd like to see is a sort of learning annex for trade skills. Boutique education has been the luxury of the upper-middle class for too long. I'd love to see book-binders/wood-workers/gardeners/cooks/crafters/electricians/techies sharing a common space and running short, focused classes. Learn how to bind a book, or plant a garden, or can food or set-up a home wireless network or install linux or set-up solar on the cheap. Nothing too expensive, 20 bucks a head for a class, enough to make it a going little concern. A reusable/adaptable space is really what you need.
    • CommentAuthorbraak
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009

    That's interesting; I was just thinking the other day about the viability of a common kitchen space--some kind of...I don't know, exactly. Like a club that you could join, where you'd agree to cook a certain number of meals for a certain number of people. You get to benefit from some free meals, storage space for your food, access to better kitchen arrangements. Simultaneously, it starts making living spaces that don't have included kitchens a little more viable. Could probably run classes out of it to.

    Actually, I should check around; maybe the School of Culinary Arts or the Learning Annex or something already does that.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009
    Outmoded, undersized schools that would otherwise be scrapped would make good Maker Spaces. Lots of separate rooms with big windows. Cafeteria kitchen for cooking classes. Auditoriums and other meeting spaces. Playgrounds and/or playing fields for gardens or explosions.
  4.  (6080.12)
    @StefanJ great idea. Yes.

    @Jon please post the Bring-A-Project-Idea to the FB event if you haven't already. I wholeheartedly approve

    @Orwells a school is definitely a part of the end goal. We want to teach, because it brings self-sufficiency, but also aides in community.

    @Telecart yes please to notes! I'm at willow.bl00@g

    @Nygaard I think it has more to do with passionate parties than number of people in an area. You can have a small town of amazing people who already do this, or a huge city of disinterested folks and it will never happen. I'm blessed to be surrounded by people who are willing to act.

    @braak There will definitely be kitchen space. Also for feeding people, because if you're so poor you can't eat, how are you supposed to be worried about building a better Future?

    To everyone: we're basically open-sourcing this project. I don't want to detract from WC, and want to continue conversing about this on here, but if you want to see what we're up to, look at the wiki and forum. There are audio files for these meetings as well as for H+
  5.  (6080.13)
    One thing about common space is common tools. I'm a book-binder on the side and while most of my tools were not too pricey, it would be kind of insane for me to lay out a few grand to cut my own text blocks . But a common space can stock more expensive and exotic tools by spreading the cost across members.
  6.  (6080.14)
    Then you also have to worry about who has access to the space, and who contibuted the most to it, who knows how to use it, etc.

    For instance: at a hacker space I participate at, there is a milling machine. It will break your arm or cut off your hand if you don't know how to use it (no shit). So it's only allowed to be in use if someone who is known to be competant on it is supervising. That requires someone closely associated with the space to know who's up to task. Which means questions of staffing, access, etc.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009
    Example of a maker space spotted on
    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2009
    Oh. Oh!

    Putting this on the planning stage slow burner foe now. But in the future - I/we need one of those spaces, even if I have to make it myself.