CoLab: Manufacturing Hubs
Designing supportive spaces for small manufacturers.
With a vacancy rate of 1.2% on commercial spaces in Vancouver, increased commercial rents (which are not capped in the same way as residential rents), and the burdens of property taxes, building maintenance, commercial utility costs, to restrictive zoning and policy provisions, small manufacturers and businesses are facing overwhelming obstacles to staying afloat. These conditions are leaving little room for them to continue to thrive locally and over the last few years we’ve seen more and more beloved businesses shut their doors.
Shared spaces like artist studios, co-working facilities and commissary kitchens exist as more affordable options for businesses. By approaching things creatively, would it be possible to shift to a new model that would reduce or remove the financial stressors local manufacturers are facing? Might collaborations between businesses support circular economies, shared space and stronger, more vibrant communities? What design ideas and approaches could foster these relationships?
In this special collaboration with Callister Brewing, at the brewery, panelists Diana Mckenzie and Chris Lay from Callister, Meg O'Shea from the Vancouver Economic Commision, and Keving King from BOP Architects discussed the challenges and constraints small manufacturers are facing, their importance for fostering vibrant and sustainable cities, and opportunities for supporting these businesses as seen elsewhere in the world. Then, five breakout groups co-designed manufacturing hubs in different types of spaces - a transit hub (Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal), suburban residential area (Burnaby Heights), industrial area (East of Kent Street in Vancouver), mixed-use area (Commercial Drive), and a university campus (Langara College). A common thread among ideas was the need for flexible zoning that allows for collaborative relationships between (and across) producers and industries to be built and thrive long-term.
Callister was the first co-working, collaborative brewery of its kind in Canada, opening their doors in 2015 and supporting talented independent brewers to start their business by creating accessibility to equipment, commercial facilities, and keen local customers. Over five years, they invited 10 different brewing teams to brew and sell their own beers with them and learn what it takes behind the scenes.
Guest Speakers: Diana Mckenzie & Chris Lay (Callister Brewing) | Meg O'Shea (Vancouver Economic Commission) | Kevin King (BOP Architects)
Illustrators: Kristen Elkow | Neda Roohnia | Olusha Milley | Helena Behnam | Aarushi Chadha | Anna Mariya Lukose
Facilitators: Oliver Hayden | Surabhi Shakkawar | Kevin King | Mariya Chugay | Meg O'Shea