What is next for [freespace]?

The future of [freespace] remains uncertain, but the spark that [freespace] has ignited will not be put out with the closure of 1131 Mission Street. The movement has begun, and what comes of it is up to everyone. As the month comes to a close, everyone is wondering what is next?

Over the course of the past few months, a community driven, inclusive, dynamic makerspace has been created in San Francisco yet the movement is one of global capacity. [freespace] would like to see similar spaces all over the world, and is well on its way of doing so.

[freespace] is part of an intentional movement to make mutli-use spaces accessible to all everyone and to create community where it once did not exist. [freespace] was created out of a desire to create a space that has open ended possibilities and requires no money. The unique approach to the combination of money, structure and community engagement that [freespace] takes is essential to the creation of similar spaces worldwide.

The social civic experiment was originally set to end at the end of June, but due to an immense amount of support it was extended by one month. At the end of July, when [freespace] was set to close, the organizers took a moment to reflect on the success of the project thus far and to decide how to proceed. The leaders of [freespace] had to decide whether to ride this wave of momentum and support or stop and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Everyone was curious about what the future held for [freespace].

While the physical space was not open in August and September, activity was still buzzing in the [freespace] community. The projects that had been started over the summer were still going strong. While the building was closed, [freespace] took a few months to breath, process and plan for the future. Should [freespace] remain as a physical, permanent space in San Francisco, or should [freespace] assist in the creation of a global movement of makerspaces? Both of course.

When [freespace] opened again at the beginning of the month, the immense community support was still there. Some of the original people that were fundamental to the success in the beginning had moved on to other projects and careers were due to, at least in part, to their participation and work with [freespace]. One of the many beautiful aspects of [freespace] are the opportunities that have arose for [freespacers] as a direct result of their participation. There were also many fresh faces, eager to participate in any way the could.

[freespace] has open-sourced their codes to make creating a [freespace] as accessible as possible. [freespace] web guru Jaki Levy has created a how-to guide (with a simple 7 step process to create your own [freespace] website), wordpress theme and a badging and presence system that has been posted on github repo so anyone from anywhere in the world will be able to utilize the tools that [freespace] has created in creating their own [freespace] website. Anyone can use it as is, or modify it to more closely align with their specific [freespace]. [freespace] will be able to track the changes and iterations of the tools.

The website is not the only aspect of [freespace] that is open-sourced. Co-founder Hunter Franks created a toolkit that explains in detail the key ingredients necessary to the creation of a successful [freespace]. Locating a physical space can be the hardest part, but the toolkit has helpful suggestions for the best way to go about locating a space. The toolkit also explains how bring the community together in this shared space, the importance of harnessing the amazing energy of volunteers. Of course, what kind of impact you want to have on your community depends on the projects and programming of the community itself.

One goal is to get a [freespace] on every continent for the World Cup in 2014. Like the original [freespace], the goal is to bring the community together in a space open to everyone. In 2014, the World Cup falls just two weeks after the National Day of Civic Hacking which will be the one year anniversary of the day that inspired the birth of [freespace].

There are already a few places lined up, and many more are expected to pop up closer to the event. The set up could be simple; all that is needed is some way to show the world cup games. All over the world people will come together in these shared spaces and have a uniting experience of watching a game that people all over the world are watching at the same time therefore broadening the [freespace] community to a global scale.

[freespaces] are already popping up all over the world. [freespace]s in Bristol, Bogota and Paris are already underway. Chole Faith discovered [freespace] while travel around the US. She was very inspired by what she saw and changed her travel plans to spend more time in San Francisco at [freespace]. “It was the people that inspired me, lots of bright eyed souls who were open and interesting, interested, alive and adventurous and full of potential and possibility,” says Faith,” It was too the variety in what the space offered, the fun of the parties and events, the garden and murals- the beautifying of the space was very inspiring and the spontaneity that emerged.”

While the Bristol [freespace] has not officially opened yet, there have been many meetings and discussion as to how to metamorphosize [freespace] in the UK. A space has been offered to them and they are working on finalizing the details.

This is the conclusion of a successful first experiment, however it is by no means the end of [freespace], both as a movement and as a physical space in San Francisco. [freespace] has had such a great impact on the community and the energy that was created will be kept alive the. According to co founder Ilana Lipsett, “We are exploring a few options in spaces we’ve been offered, and want to do what will have the most impact – both on the neighborhood we choose and on the [freespace] community that was created.”

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