My economic development idea is...

Brisbane Maker Space

Maker Spaces are facilities which host tools and workshop space for the community. These spaces are an outgrowth of the larger Maker Movement - perhaps the best known aspect of which is the annual Maker Faire held annually in San Mateo (and across the nation).

What makes the Maker Movement important is that at its heart, it is a force for giving people the confidence and skills to create - whatever. It is the embodiment of "Do it Yourself" (DIY) or even better "Do it Together" (DIT) culture.

Makers make to learn, create, and have fun all for their own sakes. Like shop class without a grade. Or rather, the grade is "did your idea work or not?" And even if it didn't, you still probably learned something incredibly valuable.

There are many examples of Maker Spaces all around us. They come in all shapes and sizes. Tech Shop for example, is a for profit model not unlike a gym membership. Noisebridge in San Francisco, is a non-profit that depends on volunteers. Tinkering School, also in San Francisco, is amazing. The Berkeley Adventure playground is also a sort of Maker Space. If Brisbane copied this model, I have no doubt it would attract a strong following throughout the Peninsula.

My belief is that a small scale Maker Space, ideally in downtown, hopefully in the former Teen Center, would be a very cheap investment in the future of Brisbane's children, its broader citizenry, and the town itself.

Here are some reasons:

1. A Maker Space would fill in large gaps in our educational system.

College costs have risen 500% since 1985, and employment rates among college graduates (25 and under), are abysmal. "Knowledge worker" jobs, once considered the saving opportunity for middle class aspiration, are increasingly sent offshore, or automated. We could have the best schools around, and they would still over-emphasize performing well on tests, not solving real-world problems.

2. A Maker Space provides a forum for building community

They are a rallying point for exchanging ideas and bringing them to life. The bigger the better. Nothing brings people together like an old fashioned "barn raising" event. Think about how valuable this could be, especially for teens with idle hands. Maker Spaces literally teach "hands on" learning. But since its rare for any of us to have all the tools and knowledge to build something novel, we must seek to fill in these gaps directly from our immediate community. That's what the Maker Space is for.

Consider our annual derby. A Maker Space would be a perfect resource for bringing together families to help make their carts. Tools could be shared. Ideas exchanged. Parts re-used. Pride in workmanship taught. People getting out from behind their computers and isolated garages, and coming together.

In conclusion, I hope you consider this idea. A Maker Space can be scaled to the resources available. We can start small, with a simple tool lending library, and/or a small space, and some folks will to share what they know about building anything from houses, to robots. Brisbane seems to have an abundant number of people like these.


David Fraser

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  • Tony Verreos commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    All of us can dream up great "what if" ideas. We do it all the time. The difference makers decide to not only share their ideas, but give them birth by making them happen. We've seen a good amount of that in Brisbane, and all around us in the S.F. Bay Area. Ultimately, unless there is a groundswell of support or demand that the City needs to fund this for the community, it will only happen when someone decides to make it their business for profit or non-profit and bring it to town.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    great idea! not sure how its funded or staffed but would love to see it or help make it happen! thank you

  • Michael Schumann commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As discussed no the city Facebook page, one idea would be to host a maker space at the library. Our library already hosts some maker programs and the city has even provided the library with a 3D printer to support these efforts.

    Some resources related to libraries and Maker spaces can be found at and

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