ToolSpace is a community workspace equipped with tools & machines for different DIY & handcraft projects. Target group is everyone interested in DIY culture of any kind, and wants to acquire new and/or share existing knowledge and skills. Participants are challenged to work together as equal members - everyone has something to share so “each one teach one” principle applies. Thru teamwork and cooperation, non-directly, the experience of social inclusion and community is created.
Zagreb’s city suburb Travno, a big residential area that is poor in community/social activities.
The project addresses the lack of community spaces in suburbia that offer activities following a structured schedule and foster social inclusion. In the suburb area of Travno there are residents with very diverse social backgrounds - huge residential blocks housing families of all types, immigration centre “Porin” (biggest one in Zagreb), special housing for elders. All of them cohabit in an area of a 2-km radius, within 30 min walking distance. Segregation is visible between immigrants and local citizens, as well as by age (the exclusion of elderly members of the community who tend to keep to themselves) or youth drop-outs.
The project ToolSpace aims at the bottom-up approach to the community and its neighborhood.
The idea behind the ToolSpace is strongly based on empowering the local communities in suburbia. Everyone has something to teach, knowledge or story to share. At ToolSpace people could see how ideas are transformed from imagination to reality with the help of others. It is going to foster social cohesion by bringing people together to work on projects of shared joint interest. The working processes will be maintained between the participants through small diverse teams working together, at the same time helping them to get to know each other with games and facilitated discussions. The goal is to let the participants find out that they can work with people that are different, and that different ideas sometimes drive the project forward. ToolSpace empowers people to become solution makers.
The target group are individuals, citizens and marginalized groups interested in DIY culture of any kind. The local community is very socially diverse. The project will focus on intergenerational cohesion with elderly people (lots of knowledge/skills to share), immigrants (vicinity of the immigration centre Porin, need for social inclusion and acceptance), youth (non-formal development of social skills is crucial for any kind of social involvement later in life, school drop-outs) and empowering women as the Toolspace is focused on hand making, tools and DIY culture. By finding specific niches of knowledge where participants can contribute, share and/or learn. ToolSpace will interconnect these different social groups applying the policies of diversity between vulnerable groups.
The project team is structured for covering every aspect of ToolSpace - program coordination, facilitation (education and inclusion processes), project management, administration, accounting, inventory, legal issues, fundraising, PR, web, marketing (storytelling), design and tech support. Since the team is experienced, there is a pool of diverse practice based methodologies for setting-up the first ToolSpace. The project will network and collaborate with similar international Libraries of Tools, RepairShops, local organisations and citizen initiatives. After finding and setting-up a space with modular units and tools, the team will be maintaining the program and building a network of educators, social workers, psychologists, innovators; starting regular activities driven by the community.
The Toolspace has its number of regular members and participants. Some of the participants are volunteers at ToolSpace and have responsibility over everyday tasks - renting equipment, schedule of space usage, new members, tool maintenance. Regular weekly sharing of knowledge by participants is followed by voting for the next week’s topic. Collaboration with elderly housing, immigration center and local schools is steady, there are many diverse and mixed teams working on different projects of shared interest. The space is already internationally networked with similar projects from across the globe, and presented in many EU publications. ToolSpace is more than just a shared space. It has a certain energy, a team spirit, a belief that they can be a part of the solution.
Through the visibility of the project in the media, its mindful presence inside the core of the local community, people may feel empowered to start something similar in their own neighborhood and local urban/rural areas for diverse reasons - the lack of hands-on skills, the necessity to combine social inclusion/cohesion and circular economy. The ToolSpace will be giving support to such initiatives in every possible way. Through applying for international Erasmus+, ESC, ESF and similar, ToolSpace will be visible on international and European level. And most important, contributions to the Library of Tools will come directly from the participants, who will share the idea in their circle of friends and promote it in different aspects of their lives, creating a vibrant ecosystem.
ToolSpace’s core beliefs are sharing, cooperation and interdependence. These ideas have been left behind in recent community development, and now, more than ever, it is time to re-introduce these values back. Humanity is facing the results of wrong decision making during the Anthropocene Epoch, especially taking into perspective Post-Covid time, showing us that having more hands-on skills could be very valuable and that developing the definition of empathy is crucial for our communities. ToolSpace won’t change the world, but maybe it can make a difference in one small part of it. ToolSpace will be developed and maintained as a healthy and sustainable platform to radiate these ideas and to be the root system for an organism which will grow into the future.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Space rent/costs: 8.000EUR
Tools/machines/equipment: 10.000 EUR
Personnel costs: 25.000EUR
PR / web / design: 4.000EUR
Material expenses: 3.000EUR
Comments are always welcomed. Please let us know any parts that are not understood well. We need help in tackling the challenge of creating sustainability within one year. Any ideas and inputs from existing makerspaces, toolspaces, libraries of tools are more than welcome.