UBC Graduate Research

University-Community Makerspaces : Best Practice Review for the UBC Stadium Neighbourhood Planning Through the Lens of Eight Case Studies Huang, Emily


Campus and Community Planning staff (C+CP) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is undergoing a planning process for the university’s new residential community – Stadium Neighbourhood (SN). Located at the south of campus, the proposal for the 22 acre site comprises a built area of 1.5 million square feet. The program includes a rebuilt Thunderbird Stadium, residential housing, and public spaces, with supportive commercial and community uses. From internal staff discussion and community engagement feedback, there were interest in a flexible/makerspace for innovation, creativity, and community building. As a response, staff is exploring to dedicate a portion of the 60,000 square feet of academic and educational space in SN for a makerspace. The purpose of this research seeks to identify best practices and successful precedents for integrating a makerspace into residential communities. C+CP staff acknowledged that there is currently a lack of case study precedents to guide this vision and describe what a self-sustaining makerspace could look like in SN. As a result, this research is guided by literature review, case studies, and semi-informal interviews. The goal of the future makerspace is to provide space primarily for area residents, but also be accessible to UBC students, faculty, and staff to exchange skills, knowledge, and establish an environment for community, learning, and innovation. The emergence of the maker movement has created a catalyst for the makers culture, from hobbyists creating passion projects to start-up companies prototyping their products in makerspaces. This is especially important as cities aspire towards innovation and creativity, while the fostering of this culture spurs local economic development. Through research, makerspaces regardless of size and type, are generally made up of three ingredients: tools, education, and community. Interviews with founders and staff of makerspaces revealed six strategies that are key for a sustainable makerspace: 1. Business models help self-sustaining makerspaces; 2. Staff in responsible and management positions are key for operations; 3. Membership fees and institutional budgets allocation are the primary funding streams; 4. Cross-sectoral synergy is essential for planning process and marketing; 5. Community oriented and low barrier space create opportunities for informal learning and innovation; and 6. The space should be physically accessible and flexible to changes. With a vision of establishing a SN makerspace for residents, strategic preliminary planning and governance are essential to the makerspace’s sustainability. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.” “Professional Capstone Report”

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