In 2020 started an interesting project in Portugal supported by the founder of Make Praha.
He decided to leave Cz.Republic for a new challenge : Creating a makerspace in an abandonned village including 5 houses for hosting Makers in Residency!
Location contact : Henk Dukester
CasaBranca is a village created in the 1860s, due also to its good water reserves, to support the railroad lines in Alentejo. It became the main train line junction, from Lisbon (the capital) to either Beja and Évora – two major settlements in Portugal’s mid-region. With a once booming population of 600, it has since been reduced to a population of 80 individuals, mirroring what happened in many inner villages in Portugal. This left a significant real estate complex in the hands of the railroad company and of the portuguese public infrastructure company, IP. Most of this infrastructure is now abandoned and ready for the takeover of a major makers movement vision and project.
« It became the main train line junction, from Lisbon (the capital) to either Beja and Évora, Most of this infrastructure is now abandoned and ready for the takeover of a major makers movement vision and project. «
Building a Makers project which starts with the physical reconstruction of the buildings that will grow into an openly accessible, multi-faceted makers community. This includes workspaces and education possibilities to combine digital and analog knowledge, processes and capabilities, in concert with piloting a local revitalization project. The project aspires to highlight the power and projection of the makers movement in reinventing and building up the sustainable communities of the future, in ways that are replicable and open sourced.
Within the setting of this unique existing infrastructure setting (which is begging for revitalization), to host the site of a comprehensive makers community that can support a sustainable and in-transition social and economic ecosystem. It has the ultimate goal to launch and settle a makers community of reference in Portugal, to facilitate and provide an enabling environment for the current and next generation of makers.
Very supportive and behind the development of this project (cultural and infrastructural wise);
Some festivals were already organized there and the issue has been introduced, debated and embraced by the local population;
There will be a small festival this September 2020 (Retoma), where many of the stands, a stage and other outdoor physical support will be built in-loco through the prototype of the makers workshop that is to settle definitively in CasaBranca.
– 2000m2 of existing and available space for makers facilities
– 500m2 built square meters for social and cultural impact
– 600m2+ existing infrastructure for long and short term residencies
– 2000m2 for in-situ community gardens that can sustain permaculture projects and others
Tools and equipment that were operating DIY Praha will be brought on site to launch this project:
These include a fully functional wood-shop and metal-shop, textile workshop, and soft crafts.
We also look forward to remake our digital space with a variety CNC equipment including routers, laser cutters, milling equipment, etc (either through direct purchase and or providing the workshop to build them)
Direct train line to Lisbon (1h), Évora (20mins) and Beja (1h)
Crossed by EN2, Portugal’s “route 66”
15 mins by car from Montemor-o-Novo (which offers strong local transportation, including bus lines to Lisbon, Beja and others)
30 mins from Évora, UNESCO World Heritage and major interior hub in Portugal;
The project is jointly-led by several local and national partners, in a list that keeps expanding. These include
- Henk Dukester Lda (DIY Portugal, formerly DIY Praha s.r.o.)
- Oficinas do Convento
- Cooperativa Minga
- Aula do Risco
- Projecto Ruínas
- Pé de Xumbo
- Alma d’Arame
- MILL – Makers in Little Lisbon
- FEM – Feministas em Movimento
- Plano Local de Habitação de Évora
- Cooperativa Coopérnico
- O Espaço do Tempo
- Fundação Pulido Valente
- Vulca European Program
There is a large makerspace, boosting tools and knowledge that attract makers – both aspirational and accomplished. The community is alive and well established, having integrated with the local cultural roots and grown with it and its population. Many organizations emerged and settled in CasaBranca, including a low-tech university and an international observatory/research center on commons and makers in Europe, producing open knowledge and actively spreading it throughout the continent.
CasaBranca is now a beautiful and renewed settlement, recognised internationally as a major transition pilot and a sustainable community. It emerged as a pivotal force for the transition and resilience building of the upper-Alentejo region of Portugal, has been replicated in other places around Portugal and Europe, and continues to both capacitate people and servicing clients with high-quality knowledge, skills and staff.
« In 20 years Casa Branca became a well established and vibrant community with a makerspace at the heart of it, fulfilling its potential for several hundred permanent residents. It offers residencies for hundreds of makers, artists and artisans around the year. »
- Admin and communications’ support for the project
- Support in access funding for the project
- Connect with schools and Universities around Europe to secure internships and staff (“hands on deck”)