FabCity – Decentralised digital production for urban value creation

The city where you can make (almost) everything yourself.


The alienation of people from value-creating activities and their dependence on gainful employment as a result of specialisation, centralisation and mass production cause heteronomous and reduced social participation in the shaping of socio-economic and technological development processes. This results in low individual awareness of the ecological impacts of mass production, a corresponding consumer mentality and increasing vulnerability to ecological, economic and social crises (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic).

As part of the interdisciplinary research project FabCity, a new type of urban value creation is being established in the Hamburg metropolitan region by means of decentralised and open production workshops (so-called OpenLabs). OpenLabs are technology laboratories with open-source and digital manufacturing machines (e.g. 3D printers, CNC milling machines) that are freely and publicly accessible to private individuals, companies (e.g. craftsmen) and start-ups (e.g. drone construction). The use of open source technologies (so-called open source hardware with product data available online for local production) offers the great advantage here that every user of a product has the right and the possibility to modify, build and sell it as they see fit. In this respect, the use of open source hardware promotes innovation, supports urban production, independence from global supply chains, and encourages the development of technological literacy, reversing the current trend of human alienation from value-adding activities. On the other hand, the embedding of local activities in the global infrastructure of the FabCity network, which is a network of international cities with the same goal, is ensured and in this way the global exchange of knowledge regarding process, machine and product development is implemented.

The related issues are the subject of various research fields (including engineering, economics, law, social and educational sciences, logistics and blockchain, urban planning). In the research project, an interdisciplinary research team will therefore develop new theoretical foundations of decentralised digital and networked urban value creation. The findings derived from this will offer society the possibility of global product development and local manufacturing combined with new, individualised and sustainable innovation, production and education formats in the future.

Project start/term: 01.01.2021 / 4 years

Project management

Dr.-Ing. Tobias Redlich
Helmut-Schmidt-Universität |

University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg
Manufacturing Technology Laboratory (LaFT)
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Tel.: +49 40 6541-3827
E-Mail: tobias.redlich@hsu-hh.de

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens P. Wulfsberg
Helmut-Schmidt-Universität |

University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg
Manufacturing Technology Laboratory (LaFT)
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Tel.: +49 40 6541-2720
E-Mail: jens.wulfsberg@hsu-hh.de

All HSU projects can be found at the following link: https://dtecbw.de/home/hsu-unibw-h/hsu

More information on the WG Value Creation Systems and the FabCity research project: http://www.openproduction.info/

The following link leads to the website of the Fab City Hamburg association: https://fabcity.hamburg/


Letzte Änderung: 21. July 2021