[hackerspaces] distributed space?

Shirley Hicks shirley at velochicdesign.com
Tue Jul 8 13:15:42 CEST 2014

Time, money and quality - pick any two.

Sink in some time, get prepared (your quality factor) and you'll be ready when some affordable space becomes available. 

As rents are expensive, I'd focus on getting organized (and active) as a group so that you are ready to snag an affordable space when it comes up. It will, eventually - but will most likely be through another non-profit or organization/patron who wants to ensure that your efforts bear some mutually beneficial fruit. Such as when they are moving to a new space themselves, and need to hand off an existing (relatively affordable) lease, or when they 
are leaving their beat-up, well used quarters for more newer, more appropriate digs. (For-profit corporations can get a tax write-off for doing so). If you organize as a non-profit (and get connected with your local government and charitable organizations) you should have a shot at getting some affordable space when it becomes available. Very often, municipalities (and other charitable, and for-profit organizations) have space in real estate that they aren't actively using, but don't want to sell as they anticipate bringing it back into use at a future date. It's rarely advertised (if ever). Having another local non-profit community group in using the space (and paying the rent that allows for maintenance) allows them to get at least recover the costs of holding the property while remaining in compliance with their charter or terms of incorporation. 

Coding and software development activities are portable, and therefore, would probably be the most appropriate as your organizing start point. You don't have to be actually renting space at the time you incorporate as a non-profit. You will, however, need to be a formally organized group at the time you sign a lease and obtain insurance.

-- Shirley Hicks, who started off in a high-rent city (Toronto, ON), and is now living in a lower-rent one (Birmingham, AL) 

On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 11:50 AM, Brett Dikeman <brett.dikeman at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I live in a neighborhood in Boston where there's about zero space
> available. Problems: many rentable spaces are ludicrously expensive to
> the point where the financial models don't work, or they're way too
> large to launch without it being a really big, expensive gamble. There
> is very little non-retail commercial space; even less industrial
> space.
> Also, as noted in other discussions, a lot of potential uses aren't
> compatible without good isolation from each other (metalworking,
> woodworking, electronics, coding, etc.)
> It occurred to me that there could be different spaces around the
> neighborhood that are all part of the same organization/community.
> Only for the sake of clarification of the larger concept (I don't want
> to get bogged down in nitpicking around these specific examples):
> maybe someone has a detached garage that they're OK with people doing
> metalworking in, we're able to find a one-room office good for
> electronics/coding/administration, the local craft shop wouldn't mind
> donating or sub-leasing a back office or some space in their basement
> for textile work, etc.
> Are there any groups who have tried this, successfully or not? My
> immediate thought it is that there's need to be a strong focus on
> community building to make up for the lack of one common room/space
> (such as providing tools for people to share/see what others in the
> group are working on, rotating a regular community meeting through the
> different spaces, encouraging each space's users to host "open house"
> sessions, etc.)
> Thanks for your thoughts!
> Brett
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