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A sharespace would be a physical space for the sharing of resources and/or ideas between eligible individuals.

A sharespace would be similar to a hackerspace - the primary difference being an emphasis on sharing, mutual aid, and an aspiration for human potential to flourish outside a monetary or commercial framework. Some hackerspaces may indeed embrace an ethos of mutual aid and sharing already, but they are not inherent in either the term or the culture - hence the distinction.

A sharespace is intended to be only a small part of a much larger social framework - a framework which depends on trust and indirect reciprocity, rather than money or exchange.

Scope & function

For eligible members, a sharespace is:

  • a storage space - an area where tools, equipment, materials and components can be stored
  • a resource library - from which tools and equipment may be temporarily taken from the space for a period (for jobs/tasks which can not be carried out in the space itself)
  • a work area
  • a forum in which to explore ways of consolidating these and similar non-commercial ventures.

Non-members may benefit from some of these facilities - but not all. Alternatively, it may be that they have to pay to use tools, etc..

Ideally, each member would have their own set of keys, and would be able to access the space 24 hours a day. It is realized that this may not be feasible in all cases however.

Membership criteria

Membership is not necessarily based on payment of fees. It is, more likely, to be based on character assessment and the suitability of the individual - e.g. the extent to which they actually aspire to sharing and mutual aid. In certain cases, in attempting to discern suitability, inquiries may be made in to applicants' past activities and associations.

Given the potential value of the resources which may be stored in these spaces, and given the level of time, energy and investment which people would be investing in such projects, it would be careless and irresponsible to grant people access without prior examination of their character and trustworthiness. Thus, reasonably stringent criteria may be necessary.


No such spaces which already exist are known by the author(s). There are, however, similar projects run by state organisations.

Similar projects

The Berkeley Tool Lending Library in California, US - although somewhat different to what is proposed here in that it is state-controlled and has quite different membership criteria - more-or-less implements some of these ideas.

The Santa Rosa Tool Library is very similar to the one in Berkeley (and also nearby).

Further ideas

An online inventory could be maintained - similar to those maintained at, etc.. This could perhaps even be designed to indicate which member is currently in possession of a particular tool, when it is due back at the space, etc.. This would enable people to check the availability of tools and equipment even when they are away from the space - and could make the operation considerably more efficient.

In a wider context

Sharespaces aren't intended to be stand-alone projects. By themselves, they would never be nearly enough to bring about a genuine gift economy. Obviously, people still need a place to sleep, food to eat, etc.. So, they should be seen as complementary to projects such as nomad bases, permanent bases, and any effort towards a sharing society.

External links