Unfolding the Potential and Pitfalls of Fab Cities: A Comprehensive and Sustainable Alternative to the Traditional Productive Model

Asger Nørregård Rasmussen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The world is experiencing fundamental challenges in the scope of global warming, accumulation of plastics in the oceans, a growing economic and social insecurity and inequality, right-wing nationalistic tendencies as a response to globalization, refugee flows, and an unsustainable idea of infinite growth in a world with finite resources. The Fab movement is responding to these challenges, by presenting an alternative to the traditional productive model that has been dominating since the industrial revolution. However, as Karl Polanyi suggested in 1944 in his book The Great Transformation, the traditional formalist understanding of economics is challenged as it separates the market with social relations. A more substantive understanding of economy suggests that the market and social relations are intertwined, and therefore a more human understanding of economics is flourishing. Polanyi’s theory – though criticised in its present – is now more relevant than ever, and have been modernized by various authors and scholars. Due to the radical and fundamental challenges the world experiences, Polanyi’s idea of the double movement is relevant, as we experience a growing number of alternative movements, or counter movements. This thesis seeks to analyse and critically discuss the Fab City strategies, and the Fab movement, through an explorative qualitative research that is based on two semi-structured qualitative interviews. The thesis is a discussion on the actual benefits and potential of the Fab movement, and explores the role of Fab Cities as pushing a more sustainable productive agenda, and how the traditional productive model is becoming growingly sustainable. Therefore, the ideal model that is presented by the Fab movement is discussed in relation to this, and the role of Fab Cities is therefore contested, since it is discussed whether Fab Labs can actually provide the infrastructure needed in a world with a rapidly growing population and urbanization challenge. The Fab City alternative pins down large structural and societal change, which therefore faces reluctance, because the Fab movement can be perceived as radical and ideological driven. However, with a foundation in circular economy the Fab City initiative builds upon already accepted structures and models, which will accelerate and push a more sustainable agenda in the productive model and society.

UddannelserMaster i Socialt Entreprenørskab og Management (SEM), (Masteruddannelse) Kandidat
Antal sider85
VejledereChristine Revsbech Jensen


  • Fab City
  • Circular Economy
  • Solidarity Economy
  • Counter Movements
  • The Human Economy
  • Fab Labs
  • Fab Movement
  • Karl Polanyi
  • Global Commons
  • Degrowth
  • Local Production