• 26 September / 07 October 2016
  • Barcelona, Spain
Workshop Email


Fab Labs and advanced manufacturing infrastructure are making accessible for any citizen to make anything anywhere, while sharing it with global networks of knowledge, which allows to accelerate design, development and deployment processes for new products to be born. Traditional planning and urbanism are being disrupted by the acceleration of technology and the dynamic transformation of society during the last half century; it is important to rethink how we make things and why, and generate active and practical conversations through projects and prototypes that become manifests itself.

The Concept

A Fab City is a new urban model for locally productive and globally connected self-sufficient cities. It is a new urban model of transforming and shaping cities that shifts how they source and use materials from ‘Products in Trash Out’ (PITO) to ‘Data in Data Out’ (DIDO). This means that more production occurs inside the city, along with recycling materials and meeting local needs through local inventiveness. A city’s imports and exports would mostly be found in the form of data (information, knowledge, design, code).In this way, the citizens and the city are empowered to be the masters of their own destiny, their resilience is increased and a more ecological system is developed because the movements of materials and the associated energy consumption and carbon emissions typical of the current economy are drastically reduced. In order for this to be possible, the city must be locally productive and globally connected to knowledge, economic and social networks, making cooperation between cities, citizens and knowledge centers the basis of the scientific knowledge.

The Fab City has been initiated by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and the Fab Foundation; it operates within the Fab Lab network, using it as a global infrastructure and knowledge source for the radical transformation on how we work, live and play in cities.

Main Topics

This initiative aims at developing new approaches and technological solutions, including:

  • Manufacturing locally, and creating global impact: A global network of cities that share knowledge and best practices on urban solutions emerging from citizens, companies, educational institutions, and governments. Local networks of Fab Labs and production centers connected to the larger global network of supply chains, sharing knowledge, best practices and projects.
  • Distributed energy production: With the advent of domestic batteries and efficiency improvements in solar and other means of clean power generation, energy distribution itself will face enormous changes. Distributed grids will change the role of households and businesses in power, water and resources distribution.
  • Cryptocurrency for a new economy: Cities creating their own trade markets connected to a global economy, using a multicurrency and value system based on the block chain and similar technologies.
  • Food production and urban permaculture: Urban farming will scale up from experimental practice to large scale infrastructure. Local production of foods at domestic, neighborhood and city scales, will create a closed loop system for food production and harvesting.
  • Educating for the future: incorporate a stronger emphasis on learning by doing in education systems and curricula, and engage all levels of education in finding solutions for local needs, through digital fabrication technologies, and sharing them with global networks.
  • Building the future circular [spiral] economy: Reduce the amount of imported goods, food and resources like water or energy. Increase the use of recycled raw materials for the production of objects in cities.
  • Collaboration between governments and the civil society: local government and civic organizations, startups, universities, and other organizations must work together in order to make a cultural shift that promotes the empowerment of the cities and their citizens.

All these initiatives will be supported by technologies such as digital manufacturing, energy rehabilitation of buildings and neighborhoods, smart energy networks, electrical mobility, urban permaculture, intelligent infrastructure, and related policy and regulatory approaches, among other solutions to be shared globally between cities.

Projects as Manifests

The workshop aims to build a body of knowledge between urbanists, designers, economists and architects, which could not only envision, but propose and develop projects together with professionals and experts in computation, big data, digital fabrication and other disciplines related with cutting edge tools and technologies. The projects of the Summer School can be either products, services or product service systems; participants are encouraged to use digital fabrication technologies for the projects or for making interactive exhibitions of them.

The Fab City Design Strategies workshop will try to address big questions related with the future vision of cities, based on three main approaches:

  1. Urban Information: Computers and Internet are powering our contemporary life. After 20 years of Internet and another 30 of having computers in our lives, digital information and interactions are constructing new social, economic, and urban dynamics. We need to understand how data is produced, who owns it, how can be used, and when it becomes a new urban space (both physical and digital). Self-quantification, sensorization, big data sets from companies and governments, and the extreme socialisation of our private life is producing vast amounts of data that can be used to predict and define planning strategies for cities, but is it enough?
  2. Urban Strategies: Urban design strategies cannot be focus on static maps, renders or physical models anymore, as they did in the past. We need to approach to new methods to persuade, manipulate and engage our different publics with ideas and strategies to transform urban dynamics, and reshape how urbanism is practiced. Using design fiction, critical design and design research strategies we will imagine the short and long future of cities identifying the core tech tendencies that are affecting, and will potentially affect, human life in cities and we will manipulate audiences to translate this ideas into desired scenarios. We believe in the design of small interventions with an urban strategy.
  3. Urban Models: We have seen how the [linear, garden, green, sustainable] city models have been studied and proposed by scholars and practitioners in the past. However, human life is changing in a speed that never did before. New technologies are affecting the way we live, and how we interact with other humans and our physical space. Even Moore’s Law in how processor speed doubles every 18 months might change with the introduction of new materials in the production of electronics. How can we define the current city model? Is it the smart city enough? Do we really need a single model to define a city?
  1. An exhibition will show all the process of the Fab City Design Strategies workshop. The exhibition will be organized by the planners of the workshop in collaboration with the partner institutions. Some Keynote Speakers will take part to the closing event and will talk about the theme urban transformation through distributed and open technologies.
How to Apply?

To apply in the summer school please send us us your CV and Portofolio in addition to the following:

– Forename (As in passport) .
– Surname (As in passport) .
– Date of Birth .
– Nationality .
– Passport Number .
– Passport-Date of Expiry .
– University .
– Program of study .
– Level of study (year) .
– GPA .
– Country of residence .
– Home Address .
– Contact number (Mobile/ Landline) .
– Email address .
– Emergency Contact number .

Location and Venue

Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Fab Lab Barcelona

Pujades 102, 08005

1700$  includes:
  • 60 hours of Education
  • Access to a full fab lab to develop hands-on projects
  • Access to expert training for digital fabrication
  • Workshop Materials
Participation Fees $1700
Refund Policy
Please notice that we will endeavor to assist you in obtaining a visa (if needed), by sending an invitation letter, but the responsibility is yours and the decision rests solely with the appropriate Embassy.

Delegates in any event (conference, workshop, summer school, or any others activities) who cancel their registration due to special circumstances or due to visa rejection for any reason and they do not have a paper published in the proceedings will receive a complete refund minus a €100 administration charges, and the bank commissions. If the proceedings book has already been published or any of the events, where a refund is requested, has started, the fees cannot be refunded.