Thinking about a Maker Conference Center

Maker News
Thinking about a Maker Conference Center

Makers are passionate about sharing ideas, and yet the conference centers people go to these days are poorly designed for the maximum sharing of ideas. What would a conference center look like that was designed by makers?  Here are a few ideas I share in the following screencast. After the screencast are a few more ideas and some other possible locations for such a maker conference center. Share your own ideas and your own suggested locations in the comments.  Note – there are no current plans to build a maker conference center, but the sharing of ideas is a useful first step towards having one or more of these maker conference centers come to life.

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Another possible locations for a Maker Conference Center might be Asheville, North Carolina. It’s a city with a strong arts, crafts and creative tradition. Folk music legend Pete Seeger learned to play the banjo near Asheville. In my books, that’s good enough reason to give that city a conference center.

South of Syracuse, New York, are four orchards.  It makes sense to locate a Maker Conference Center in the general vicinity of orchards. I consider upstate New York, including Ithaca and Rochester, a very creatively fertile part of our country.

Adams County, Colorado, near Denver and home of the Anythink Libraries would be another good venue for a Maker Conference Center. When a community decides to reinvent its own future, it makes sense for the rest of us to go along for the ride.

I’d love to see a Maker Conference Center located equidistant between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Open source culture thrives in Chattanooga and Atlanta has its fare share of bold thinkers.

Of course, it would be delightful to invent our own forms of transportation to get people to and from a maker conference center at the lowest possible cost. Perhaps a series of “green buses” that are partially solar-powered, partially pedal powered and partially biodiesel powered. Where would the biodiesel come from? From leftover food scraps and cooking oil from the Maker Conference Center.  Let’s get Ethan Schlussler, the bicycle-elevator guy, working on designing green buses. Ethan himself could raise $1 million quite easily via a Kickstarter campaign to start work on that.

And yes, we’ll be making homemade apple cider using a hydraulic press at the Maker Conference Center, or maybe bicycle-pressing the cider.  The apple pulp from all that apple cider? Use it to make more biodiesel.







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Phil Shapiro is a maker and media maker in the Washingon DC area. He loves open sourcedigital storytelling and fixing up donated computers to deliver to people who need them. He can be reached at and on Twitter @philshapiro.

View more articles by Phil Shapiro


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