How Fab Labs Address Environmental Issues
Citizens are increasingly involved in the design and production of their own products. Forerunner groups are exploring new ways of doing things with digital fabrication tools, a phenomenon known as the maker movement. Especially communities who work together in dedicated spaces, makerspaces, are rapidly proliferating. They are of research interest, as they are now experimenting with new practices and organizations that indicate the possible impacts of a digitalizing society. They carry potential to do away with the negative environmental impacts associated with mass production and consumption (and decouple them from socio-economic prosperity), but there may also be new, unforeseen environmental consequences of such prosumption.
This dissertation reviews the environmental issues in the maker movement, and it examines how environmental sustainability is taken up in Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories) or remains invisible and unaddressed, based on longitudinal analysis. The thesis sheds light on our possible futures, as these niche activities move towards the mainstream. It clearly demonstrates how communities attempt to enact ideology: how we shape technologies and technologies shape us.