Thomas S.J. Smith | Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space
This paper examines the economic practices of maker spaces – open workshops that have increased in number over recent years and that aim to provide access to tools, materials and skills for small-scale manufacturing and repair. Scholarly interest in such spaces has been increasing across the social sciences more broadly, parallel to a growing interest in craft and making in economic geography. However, to rectify the ‘capitalocentrism’ of much existing work, the paper examines the case of a workshop in Edinburgh, Scotland, through the dual theoretical lens of diverse economies and social practice theory. This conceptual approach sees the space as a novel form of economic ‘being-in-common’, providing diverse and contradictory opportunities for post-capitalist practice. The paper draws conclusions regarding the limits and potential of such spaces for sowing the prefigurative seeds for a more inclusive, sustainable and democratic urbanism.