Public Dialogue

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A worldwide network is working out the concept of locally productive and globally connected cities: a Fab City. Fab City is a new urban model for self-sufficient cities in which citizens are empowered. Amsterdam will join this network too. To become a Fab City requires having a more precise knowledge of the way cities work. Which steps should be taken now to make our cities more resilient to future challenges?


The Fab City is a global project to develop locally productive, self-sufficient and globally connected cities. The city of Barcelona was the first to endorse the Fab City principles during last year’s 10th Fab Lab Conference. The idea of a Fab City originates from the worldwide network of Fab Labs; local fabrication laboratories that use digital technologies to “make almost anything”. The Fab City network comprises an international think tank of civic leaders, fab lab champions, makers, urbanists and innovators who are collectively working on the same goal; changing the persistent paradigm of the current industrial economy, where the city operates on a linear model of importing products and producing waste, to an urban model of the self-sufficient city. Tonight’s public dialogue follows an expert meeting of the International Fab City network. Many of these participants will also join the discussion; how can we make a Fab City?

Neil Gershenfeld

Neil Gershenfeld works as a professor at the prestigious MIT Boston, where he is also the director of MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms. Gershenfeld works at the borders of physical science and computer science; breaking down boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. He is the originator of the growing global network of field fab labs, that provide widespread access to prototype tools for personal fabrication. He also directs the Fab Academy. Tonight Gershenfeld elaborates on the topic; how to move from fab labs to fab cities?

Tomas Diez

Tomas Diez is an Urbanist and a Fab City Laboratory leader, who specializes in digital fabrication and its implications in the future of cities. He is the director of the Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). Tonight Diez outlines the Fab City vision; what does it exactly entail? How can we utilize its potential in the short and long term? And how can we collaborate internationally?

Vicente Guallart

Vicente Guallart, also joining us from Spain, is the former Chief Architect of the City Council of Barcelona and co-founder of the IAAC. He is also the author of ‘The Self-Sufficient City’. Tonight Guallart reflects on Barcelona’s recent Fab City endorsement; how to move from here? What can other cities learn from Barcelona or vice versa? 

About FabCity Amsterdam

Between 11 April and until 26 June a temporary, freely accessible campus will be built at the head of Amsterdam’s Java Island in the city’s Eastern Harbour District. Conceived as a green, self-sustaining city, FabCity comprise some 50 innovative pavilions, installations and prototypes. Students, professionals, artists and creatives will develop the site into a sustainable urban area, where they will work, create, explore solutions to current urban issues.

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