[hackerspaces] Hackerspaces away from the city

Jerry Isdale isdale at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 05:51:16 CEST 2011

It does make a difference. I've been involved with starting two spaces - CrashSpace in metro Los Angeles, and Maui Makers in middle of pacific ocean.

Crashspace quickly accumulated a critical mass of people to cover rent, etc and have interesting events.

The island (Maui) is fair sized with a total local population of about 120,000 (whole bunch more visitors too), that is fairly well dispersed. It takes about a half hour to get from my home to what passes for city here.  We are fortunate to have some high tech biz here including a supercomputer center. Finding a space that was convenient to enough people was problematic. There are a couple population areas that are geographically isolated with 1+hr drive (Hana is 4hrs away on a good day).  I have settled (for now) on an equally inconvenient location thats about 15-30min from most people. It is also rent-free, which greatly helps keeping membership rates where people will consider it.

Its been slow building up membership, given the small community. There are not that many hacker/makers around.  Many of the Makers that are here already have their own decent workshops (some pretty dang awesome ones!).   These folks while kindred spirits, are not interested in community workshop.  They might come by and talkstory sometimes.  We are only just beginning to get our space settled in. Our initial 40' container has filled up with work benches and a little storage. We dont have enough space for people to sit and talk comfortably anymore.

I also helped kickstart the Honolulu hackerspace (Hi-Capacity). They have benefit of a big city with lots of high tech. Once I got them started meeting up for dinner, etc they took off quickly. They dont have a permanent space yet, but do have a fair number of people who show up regularly to events.

What sort of public/community spaces exist in your village at present? Is there a library, youth/adult/community center?  How many hacker/makers do you think are within a 40minute drive? 
If you can identify 4-5 people quickly, with another 5-10 possibles, you might be able to get something going.  Try getting them together for a techie dinner.  

Jerry Isdale

On Jul 20, 2011, at 5:25 PM, Ryan McCoskrie wrote:

> Since I can't drive and live no where near a hackerspace I've been trying to 
> start one in the Village I live in[1]. The thing is though that everything I 
> have seen on hackerspaces via the net so far has been very city centric[2]. 
> Has there been any well established hacker spaces in small towns or rural 
> areas before? Would this make a great difference?
> [1]Amberley, New Zealand. It's the main village of Hurunui district, big 
> enough to have an actual high street (including a computer store) but half an 
> hour from the nearest bus stop. 
> [2]This isn't entirely true. There is a blog about a hypothetical hacking 
> orientated farming commune but that's a little extreme for me.
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