A neighborhood bench project as part of the Campus Fab City Montréal meets the Americas, stemming from the Remix ta chaise initiative, the circular economy and distributed manufacturing between several stakeholders in the Central District.
échofab, Communautique’s multidisciplinary workshop located in the heart of the Central District, a digital manufacturing laboratory (Fab Lab) which brings together the driving forces of several sectors (digital manufacturing, education in scientific and technical skills, sustainable development, support players to businesses) which together articulate an innovative offer to stimulate the emergence of innovative entrepreneurial projects in the green and digital economy.
The project aims to raise awareness within the community about environmental issues, encourage sustainable behaviors, and promote community involvement in environmental preservation.
The project enables the recovery of materials from industrial symbiosis and explores the use of recycled plastic for 3D-printed urban furniture.
By reducing waste at the source, it contributes to the preservation of natural resources. Using recycled materials instead of new raw materials in bench manufacturing reduces pressure on natural ecosystems. Recovering recycled materials prevents them from ending up in landfills and generally requires less energy than creating new materials from scratch. Less energy usage means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which can help slow down climate change, a factor that can impact biodiversity.
When recycled materials are used to create public benches or other objects, it can contribute to environmental awareness. Communities may be more inclined to preserve natural habitats when their creative use is positively highlighted.
The creation of public benches from recycled materials can serve as an example and inspiration for other construction and design projects.
Under the impetus of this initiative, several businesses in the Montréal District Central were invited to participate in a collaboration circle focused on the theme of resource sharing as part of the Fab City Campus event (June 2023). The aim was to establish connections and explore opportunities related to pooling their respective resources and strengths within the neighborhood.
Discussions covered what resource sharing represents, its challenges, deployment methods, as well as the potential offered by the concept of micro-factories in the context of Fab Labs.
Resource sharing involves multifaceted exchange in which the concepts of mutual support and community play a vital role. This creates an ecosystem where various stakeholders continuously interact over time. Such collaboration allows leveraging each other’s strengths to collectively achieve more. Throughout this process, it becomes possible to generate added value that benefits a larger number of participants.
The next steps in this endeavor will involve the development of a resource-sharing charter encompassing the shared values and objectives pursued by this initiative, as well as the establishment of principles defining the collaborative structure.
Furthermore, the creation of a directory for products, tools, services, and human resources precedes the adoption of a digital platform. The Fab City Hamburg platform is under consideration.
All phases of this project are carried out in open source mode. They are documented and shared on various platforms, and the design and production files are made available.
Distributed manufacturing in open source mode encourages collaboration, cost reduction, accessibility, transparency, and efficiency, which can be particularly advantageous for companies seeking to innovate while maximizing the use of their resources and promoting a robust collaborative ecosystem.
The project is widely shared within the network of Fab Labs and Fab Cities.
The project involves various stakeholders, including neighborhood residents, businesses, makers, and artists.
Furthermore, on a broader scale, our organization is at the forefront of advocating for the importance of digital inclusion and the need to bridge the digital divide to combat poverty. We are aware of the impact of digitization on seniors, the necessity to enhance digital skills, and the importance of equitable and affordable access to technology. We emphasize the significance of ongoing education to enable individuals to adapt to the rapid and constant changes in the digital world.
Our organization is also accredited as a Living Lab and develops its initiatives with a co-design approach, including the growth of Fab City Montréal.
The project, throughout all its phases, involved over 130 organizations and citizens who participated at various stages of ideation, decision-making, and implementation. According to the received testimonials, it brings a sense of empowerment.
The project adopted a participatory approach that enabled the inclusion of a broad range of stakeholders to ensure that decisions and actions meet the community’s needs. By involving a large number of organizations and citizens, the project gained access to a variety of expertise, resources, and skills, enriching both the process and the outcomes. The active involvement of citizens and organizations strengthened community bonds, promoting a sense of belonging and cooperation.
Chair, bench, stool, utility, or symbol of power, with various models and materials, the project’s vision has led us to imagine that each community, city, or territory has a relationship with this object that allows for adaptation to its customs and traditions.
The project promotes sharing through its open documentation and model sharing. When community manufacturing projects are shared globally, different communities have the opportunity to adapt designs and solutions to local needs and cultures. The sharing of experiences and successes in community bench manufacturing can lead to collaborative innovations. Cities and territories can enhance and customize initial designs by leveraging shared knowledge.
Beyond being a symbolic object, the project is above all a collective process of distributed manufacturing and a sustainable manufacturing awareness project.
By engaging communities in the manufacturing of public benches using locally available resources, it optimizes the use of materials that might otherwise go to waste, contributing to a more efficient resource allocation. The project encourages community collaboration in the design and production of benches, making the most of the skills and talents available locally. This shared approach fosters a sense of ownership and collective responsibility. Through its focus on sustainability, the project aligns with regenerative economy principles by reducing waste and promoting the reuse of materials. This approach contributes to building a city and territory that is ecologically sustainable. As a community-driven initiative, it can stimulate local economic activity by supporting local artisans, makers, and businesses involved in the manufacturing process, thereby contributing to a more vibrant local economy. The project recognizes the cultural significance of public seating and encourages customization to fit local customs and preferences, creating a city and territory that reflects its unique cultural identity. By sharing its open documentation and models, the project facilitates knowledge sharing among different communities globally, allowing them to adapt and replicate successful approaches, thus contributing to a regenerative economy on a larger scale.
The project places communities and individuals at the center of its initiatives, focusing on their needs, preferences, and cultural significance. It prioritizes human and community well-being over technological advancement. Through its commitment to sustainability and the use of locally available resources, the project demonstrates an ecological approach that prioritizes the well-being of the Earth and its ecosystems. It reduces waste, promotes resource efficiency, and contributes to a healthier environment. By involving communities in the design and manufacturing of public benches, the project enhances community resilience. It fosters collaboration, strengthens social ties, and encourages shared responsibility, which are vital aspects of resilient ecosystems. While it incorporates technology to some extent (e.g., 3D printing), the project’s primary focus is on human-centered innovation, ensuring that technology serves the well-being of individuals and communities rather than dominating or overshadowing their needs.
The project emphasizes sustainability by promoting the use of locally available resources and reducing waste. This contributes to a more sustainable urban environment by optimizing resource utilization. hrough community collaboration and the creation of shared public spaces, the project enhances community resilience. It fosters social connections and collective responsibility, which are crucial aspects of building resilient cities. By involving citizens, businesses, makers, and artists in the project, it promotes inclusivity and ensures that diverse perspectives and talents are considered in the design and manufacturing process. This inclusivity contributes to more inclusive cities and territories. he project involves various stakeholders, including citizens and organizations, reflecting an interdisciplinary approach to urban problem-solving. This holistic perspective addresses urban issues from various dimensions and interdependencies. Through open documentation and knowledge sharing, the project enables other cities and territories to learn from its experiences and adapt successful practices, contributing to the development of sustainable and inclusive urban environments on a broader scale.