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Fab City Global Initiative is a distributed community of civic leaders, makers, urbanists and innovators working on shifting he industrial urban paradigm to one that better supports life on Earth.

Our global Context

In an ever-changing world innovation is not an option, it is a necessity. Climate change and social exclusion require us to reinvent the fundamental systems which we depend upon, a task which requires courage, coherence and long-term thinking. The rate at which humans consume planetary resources is putting the systems of our planet and ourselves at risk. In order to revert the consequences of rapid urbanization, we need a deep transformation of how we organize production and consumption in cities.

The rise of the maker

The power of making is not limited to industry anymore, neither the power of innovating. Access to tools is widespread today, through the expansion of Fab Labs, Hacker Spaces and Maker Spaces around the world. Fab City recognizes this global trend and looks to scale up the potential of digital fabrication tools in Fab Labs and makerspaces to design, develop, create, and deploy the technologies that will reconfigure the relationship between consumption and production in cities.

Fab City builds upon the thousands of spaces, and communities around them, that are democratizing disciplines such as engineering, biology, computation, arts and fabrication to enable the global movement of knowledge around how we make things, and how our cities function.


Fab City inspires and calls to action those with the intuition or the certainty that things need to be different in their locality for change to occur on a planetary scale. In each Fab City, citizens are empowered to be the masters of their own future. Civic space becomes a ecology of opportunity, by offering citizens new knowledge, skills, materials and ways to collaborate.

Through access to open source digital designs found in global networks, consumers become ‘prosumers’, responsible for the customisation and fabrication of products to suit their needs. With the assumption of such productive power also comes an increased sense of ownership, identity and belonging and citizens are more willing to reinvest in the social and cultural fabric of their city.

From Product-In → Trash Out, to Data-In → Data-Out

Fab City rethinks the boundaries of the city, advocating for ‘Products In Trash Out’ (PITO) to ‘Data In Data Out’ (DIDO). This means that production occurs inside the city, along with the circulation of materials. The city’s imports and exports would mostly be found in the form of data: information, knowledge, design, code.

Cities are where most of the world’s population now live. They offer the best opportunity to effect practical change at scale, and in a context to which people can relate. In recognition of this, Fab City works to connect a global network of cities, each working to create local change. As a distributed community, the success of each actor contributes to the success of the network as a whole, establishing a framework for beneficial exchange.

Fab City acts at the convergence of these global trends within a full-stack framework to empower citizens and actors from the local to global level.

Full Stack Framework

  • F.

    People, communities, spaces (Fab Labs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces), machines, tools.

  • E.

    Adoption of new skills, learning by doing, lifelong learning. The Academy of Almost Anything (Fab Academy, Bio Academy, Fabricademy), STEAM education and professional training.

  • D.

    Project repositories for urban transformation., a Design Market Platform, Fab products.

  • C.

    Global programs for urban transformation in food, energy, water, information, or other production systems.

  • B.

    Implementation and deployment strategies by the Fab City Collective. Fab City Prototypes.

  • A.

    Policy making and regulation of new urban models. Shared metrics to evaluate progress towards self-sufficiency.

Our Roadmap

A long term challenge based on short term actions.

2011   Fab7 International Conference

The Fab City project is launched by the Institut d’Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, the Fab Foundation and the Barcelona City Council.

2014   Fab10 International Conference "From Fablabs to Fab Cities"

Barcelona launches officially the FAB City project / Mayor Trias commit to the 40 year challenge / The first public network of Fab Labs in a city is launched

2015   Fab11 International Fab Lab Conference

The Fab City becomes a global initiative / The cities of Boston, Ekurhuleni, Cambridge, Shenzhen, Somerville join / The state of Kerala (India) joins / The country of Georgia joins

2015   Amsterdam Fab City Campus

Europe by People: The Netherlands host the presidency of the European Union / The first Fab City experts summit in Amsterdam / The City of Amsterdam commits to the Fab City global initiative-

2016   Shenzhen: The silicon valley of Hardware

12th International Fab Lab Conference / Cities joining the Fab City global initiative: Detroit, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Bhutan, Occitanie, Sacramento, Toulouse.

2017   Chile. Fab13: Fabricating Society

13th International Fab Lab Conference: Fab13: Fabricating Society / Fab City Campus Santiago de Chile / Fab City Summit Copenhagen

2018   France. Fab14: Fabricating Resilience

14th International Fab Lab Conference: Fab14: Fabricating Resilience / Fab City Campus Parc de La Villete / Fab City Summit Paris

Our Roadmap is unique. Launched in 2011 by the City of Barcelona, it is now in constant development thanks to the distributed network of cities, individual advocates, NGOs, academics and industry partners. We employ a collective approach of ‘learning-by-doing’ to constantly prototype, experiment, succeed and fail in our quest to produce everything we consume by 2054. Join the Fab City roadmap and shift the paradigm in your city.


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