I've been hanging around Tangleball lately. And while I still have a huge amount of pride around the project I wonder if it was the right approach.
By now, readers of this blog probably have some idea of my ... social engineering. I have ideas that I think would make things better and I want to implement them in some way. I think these ideas will have brilliant effects on ... well ... everyone.
Starting in a high income area has the advantage that it's more forgiving - if you get something wrong, the project doesn't just collapse. Someone (or people) just end up spending a little more money. It doesn't look like a project JUST for the poor - rather, the ideas can go on down towards the poor.
When people say "I have to eat", I want it to mean that they're going to spend time at home gardening. If people like to drink, then drinking should have other aspects in it. Not just socialising, but also an appreciation for the alcohol - showing each other different ways of accomplishing different tastes (I'm determined my first batch will be a pilsner with a honey after taste).
So Tangleball fits into that whole ethos. I want people to make things themselves or learn how to repair things or re-use things to make different things. A hair dryer would probably make a decent pop corn maker.
But I wonder if the approach needs to be more sustainable. I wrote about the idea of a brewers club. What if it expanded? What if you could do varying activities in garages all through your neighbourhood? That garage is for brewing your own alcohols. That place has a greenhouse for your seedlings. The one has a sleepout for working wood. That one has things for working with metal and that one has a big room full of computers etc.
What would this accomplish? If you're using spaces around the neighbourhood that someone is already paying for, regardless of this idea, then rent is less of a problem - making it more sustainable. The places could be a lot more focused. For example, having a place to actually drink the alcohol that isn't a workshop has got to be a win (and who knows - the money paid could go towards things like pool tables). A woodworking shop might have an open place to finish the work (airy space to stain and seal) etc.
But of course, there's a great big giant problem here. How do you get the different spaces socialising with each other? Collaboration can be quite difficult to manage. What happens if your project requires a few different disciplines? Could this still happen using this model? Help needed....