Our Work

The neighborhood

Cuyahoga County, where Glenville is located has had over 100,000 mortgage foreclosures since 2006. Foreclosures that have disproportionately impacted African American communities. The Glenville neighborhood is among the lowest, recovering by only 20-30% of the peak median home price it once experienced.

Located on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, there are approximately 20,000 residents in Glenville. Over 89% identify as African-American.  In the Glenville neighborhood, 25% of residents 16 years & older are unemployed, only 12% have education beyond high school, 83% of school-age students live 185% below the federal poverty line, and a significant number of them are in low performing schools.  

Before the disruption of COVID-19, Cleveland’s renaissance had not emerged in Glenville, and there is a great need to bring resources to the heart of the neighborhood right now.

Glenville is also home to a number of historic events, assets and is the birthplace of a number of history makers and leaders. In 1967 Dr. Martin L. King Jr. gave a speech at Glenville high school and told students,

it was Victor Hugo who said that there is nothing more powerful in all the world than an idea whose time has come.

Our idea is a repurposed home in the Glenville neighborhood using technology and global expertise to bridge the opportunity divide.

Fab House is asking what’s possible when there is access to advanced manufacturing tools in a neighborhood where the median income is $24,000?

With only about a dozen makerspaces located in institutions across Cuyahoga county where there are approximately 1M people

This project will bring advanced technology and human capital support for users to one of Cleveland’s most disenfranchised neighborhoods. Benefiting first, the residents by providing them with new technological skills that can be used for education, entrepreneurship, and service to the community. Additionally, placing this platform in a home will increase access to technology to people in the neighborhood while modeling alternative use for vacant housing stock that offers a magnitude of community benefits. Check out the Glenville Existing Conditions Report from the CDC

The opportunity

The idea behind the Fab House is to bring a digital fabrication lab in the heart of the neighborhood.

The residents will be able to explore and use digital fabrication tools like electronics and 3D printers to address their community and personal needs with the assistance of experts from around the world.  

Through our expert-in-residence program, Fab House can be an accessible neighbor, with experts living in the Fab House for weeks at a time-one to help residents gain knowledge and skills in real-time for real-time solutions.  

Ongoing workshops and open hours in the makerspace will also help to develop a cadre of resident experts. These resident ambassadors will be able to use their technological knowledge and experience for school, work, their own personal endeavors, and to help other neighbors.

The backstory

Fab House was founded by Sonya Pryor-Jones, an experienced educator and leader at the Fab Foundation and in the Fab Lab Network. She also grew up in Glenville, a neighborhood that has faced significant adversity and is home to Fab House.

Sonya seeing the firsthand benefits of Fab Labs decided to add this asset to the neighborhood. In partnerships with experts and residents, Fab House will bring technology and digital fabrication skills to the neighborhood.

As a first step, Sonya donated her family home to serve as the neighborhood location of the innovative Fab House.