On 5/27/11 4:16 PM, MauiMaker wrote:
> As for rural populations supporting spaces, I too wonder. Adirondack
> Park area is bigger than Maui with about the same population. We have
> lots of tourists and their biz. You get some, with people coming in
> for camping etc. Either way, visitors wont be prime market. Its hard
> to get locals to travel to meetings and I find many of the makers with
> space (farmers, contractors, etc) dont see a need for community
> workshops. "Why should I share my lathe, mill, welder?" On the other
> hand, there are those who are willing to share and locals who want to
> learn making skills. Teaching welding, metal shaping, wood turning,
> etc might be good workshops for local kids of all ages. And you might
> get people coming out of the cities for some time in country learning
> "quaint" old skills. Before I moved, I took a weekend class at
> TinManTech near Grass Valley CA. Learned about shaping and welding
Thanks for the other comments. Sure, people might come from the cities,
but I don't think they are going to do that looking for learning about
MakerBots or CNC. The might come for weaving perhaps, or stuff about horses?
I can wonder if rural non-town areas just have their own dynamics that
make it harder to have a collective effort. People in cities or towns
are more used to having some collective infrastructure. Often people
choose rural areas because they are more independent people in various
ways (and often more private and less outgoing). So, that is going to
lead to different social dynamics, with good and bad points. Our town
does not even have a book library, for example.
Also, I should be clear that rural towns are different from rural
non-towns. When I used the word "town" just there, I meant more like
local jurisdiction, as it is called a "town" but there is now town
center. Several miles away is a real "town" with sidewalks. The social
dynamics of the two areas are completely different. That town has a
library, and a church-run youth center, and probably could support some
kind of hackerspace (likely in a church basement?). The two places are
also at complete ends of the privacy spectrum as well. So, I guess I
should be clear I am talking about rural non-town areas (even if they
are called "towns" officially. :-)
While not easily available, this book goes into the details between
rural towns vs. rural non-towns:
"Life After the City: A Harrowsmith Guide to Rural Living" by
Rural non-town areas, with residents who may still have farming roots,
are to some degree the last bastion of people with decades of many
hands-on skills and can-do making attitude to make and repair stuff with
welders, operating heavy equipment, having home lathes, and so on. But
rural areas also may have trouble networking as well as city areas?
I can wonder if a sad consequence may actually be that rural areas will
fail to pass on those skills? Short of some big government program of
the type rural people usually vote against? :-) It may well be up to the
towns and cities to relearn that attitude on their own. Rugged
individualism has its good and bad points.
Still, many rural people are more than happy to share their skills
one-on-one. It is just a different social dynamic. And I can think about
what it might take to make the most of that. It is true that clubs are
still important here. For example, there is a woodworking club that
meets in a school (but 45 minutes from me, and I have not been to it).
So, I think, in the case of rural areas, hackerspace clubs that meet
regularly (once a month, or more frequently) as face-to-face events
might be important in building the social connections needed for that
later one-on-one "hey, come over and I'll show you how to weld in my
shop" kind of stuff. And to a less event, there are annual festivals and
fairs, which taken together across a hour or so driving range can be
happening every couple of weeks during some parts of the year, at least
where I am.
And here is a chart that may well prove me wrong perhaps, :-) showing
rural areas have been much quicker to pick up internet technologies than
"Farming & Rural Life in the 1970s to Today"
"One of the central stories of the last quarter of the 20th century was
the quickening of the pace of agricultural innovation. As you can see in
the following interactive chart, consumers in the first part of century
slowly adopted most of the new technologies that were offered to them.
Generally, rural residents took even longer. Electricity, telephones,
cars, trucks and tractors all show gentle adoption slopes. The
exceptions were new communication technologies like radio and
television. And by the end of the century, both urban and rural
residents rapidly adopted computers and the Internet."
So, I can wonder if a rural non-town hackerspaces initiatives (as well
as a homeschooling aspect) should just feel different than an urban/town
one somehow? And perhaps focus more on the monthly club aspect and less
on the shared facility aspect?
The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies
of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity.