Yes, there are a lot of names for DIY community spaces so I’ll use my own term avoiding possible misunderstandings.
Most DIY community spaces are quite amazing, at least the ones I have the chance to see online. I never actually had the time or the wish to visit the ones in Lisbon so I don’t know the ”vibe” or the community.
Some of you will ask why I don’t have the wish to visit the ones in Lisbon, I’ll explain or at least try to give an idea why I don’t feel curious about those spaces.
The best DIY space in Lisbon asks for more than 1000€ yearly, sure you got access to all tools but you still need to pay to use some equipment like 3D printers and you can’t use your own filament, now for that price I’ll buy a 3D printer and work at home.
Don’t get me wrong I understand why they don’t let you use your own filament and I also understand the machines needs maintenance but in my opinion something is a bit off with the idea behind a community space that seems to run with a “for profit” business model in mind at least looking at the price tables.
Sadly the idea behind most DIY community spaces is to make money from makers.
Sure I understand who runs the space needs to make at least some profit to pay rent, insurance, bills, and any staff that the place needs but looking at the membership prices it just feels wrong. In the US asking for $150 monthly is just fine because the wage is a bit different from the Portuguese one.
Asking for 100€ monthly in a Portuguese space will not attract young makers at all, unless the business model only wants freelance professionals, but in that case the space should have another name, like a community small business hub or something similar.
The only way those DIY community spaces can truly succeed is to bring new blood to the community, the prices should reflect the members income or lack of it.
Sure this doesn’t apply (thankfully) to all DIY community spaces, specially the ones build around electronics and coding.
I understand all space founders need to have an income and pay the bills but profit isn’t usually the spirit of the maker community. A good DIY community space should improve the life of all users, if there was indeed some profit it should be channeled to better gear and services of space, not channeled to the pockets of the founders.
I know there are many ideas of what is community work so the opinion above is just one of them.
As for me, I was lucky to have a father that had a place to build stuff, it wasn’t a community but it was fun for a 9 year old kid.