Productive City

Intructor: Jason Hilgefort,David li

Time:Sep 12- 18, 2016 


Background Intro


There is much discussion on the ‘return’ of production to the contemporary city. In most global cities the industries have fled or been chased out of the city and now new models of production are being invited and emerging in urban areas. This separation of living and making has to a severe in jobs, knowledge, and awareness of cultural production. The movement manifested into Fab City initiative with 16 cities pledge to support and the number is growing rapidly.

Most of the cities on the Fab City initiatives are at the initial stage of building up the infrastructures of productions in the cities. Shenzhen has not yet undergone this full removal of productions in the cities. And simultaneously, the tech, maker, and bottom up creative industries are thriving in the city. Shenzhen can serve as a live experimenting ground for these contemporary notions of urban production.

Further, in some of the initial experiments conducted by the sites such as Maker Mile with Machine Room and Barcelona with Fablab Barcelona has shown that the installation of such space help to spur the creative industrial around the spaces and develop the neighborhoods into a lively communities for creative and innovative startups. The urban village is in many ways already have the infrastructures and it creates the ideal situation to examine how to spur these new forms of innovation communities at the villages. Where silicon valley used its garages and Europe used its old factories, Shenzhen can rethink its urban villages. These cheap, flexible, mixed use places are already being used by many both international and local as startup communities to live and work.




From MakerSpaces to MakerVillages to forming the MakerCity

The workshop would research 3 potential communities for testing: Shuiwei, Baishizhou, and Nantou. The research would seek to understand the local community resources: small scale factories, 3d printers, cnc machines, designers, etc; as well as its links to the greater production and selling networks of Shenzhen and digital. And how this infrastructure would apply connect to global initiative such as Fab City.

With these networked systems and interactive maps, this will allow for a longer term engagement, and investment in a community. With the next step being to ‘insert’ a maker space in a vacant space in an urban village. This will act as a catalyst within the community. The urban village already contains many productive companies and people. This will give them a common space as well as provide a space that encourages children, elderly, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, etc to join in. The space is about making objects for the community, creating jobs/business opportunities, and about fostering community linkages.

This will lead up to an event/engagement for UABB 2017, which is set in urban villages.

Silicon Valley’s innovations/economies started in garages, Shenzhen’s next wave of innovation will start in the urban villages. We start this research by understanding the existing communities, taking action to set up a space immediately, and engage the citizens and global community in the process.



Nantou project presentation


Shawei Project presentation