Bike Kitchens – Spaces for convivial tools
Article by Bradley, Karin
There is currently a marked interest in do-it-yourself culture and sharing of skills, tools and spaces, manifesting in maker spaces, tool libraries and open workshops for remaking furniture, electronics, bicycles or clothing. This paper explores the phenomenon of ‘Bike Kitchens’, do-it-yourself bicycle repair studios run on a non-profit basis. The Bike Kitchen in Malmö, Sweden, is used as a case study involving interviews with key persons and users of that Bicycle Kitchen and on-site observations. The exploration of the Bike Kitchen is situated in a wider theoretical discussion around technology in relation to degrowth. Two theoretical perspectives are used, firstly, Illich’s (1973) notion of tools for conviviality, meaning tools that enable citizens to reconquer practical knowledge for autonomy and creativity rather than being confined to commercial relations, and secondly, forms of non-capitalist relations. It is argued that the Bike Kitchen is an example of democratisation of technology in practice – a social innovation to make low-cost technology, tools and know-how easily available to anyone. The concept of the Bike Kitchen is a way to develop and cultivate conviviality, i.e. a social and spatial infrastructure – a space for convivial tools.
Title of Journal / Edit Volume, incl. names of editors:
Journal of Cleaner Production
URL to website/presentation:
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