Facilitating an Urban Repair Centre (URC) in the city
A URC or Urban Repair Centre is a physical space or a combination of spaces to facilitate repair in cities.
Interested in starting a URC in your city? Check our tips and tools below!
What is a URC?
Urban Repair Centres are physical centres that help facilitate repair in urban areas, through direct repair, education, communication or raising awareness-raising among citizens.
The scope of a URC includes, but is not limited to the following aspects:
- Education, communication and awareness raising amongst citizens, businesses and organisations on the topic of repair.
- Encouraging the social economy (including the collaborative economy) and social cohesion.
- Act as an incubator / collaborator with local companies to develop sustainable and circular business models.
- Encourage and enable more repair and reuse.
The term is derived from the concept ‘Urban Resource Centre’, presented by the European Urban Agenda.
Urban Resource Centres are physical centres that help facilitate sustainable consumption, waste prevention, re-use, repair and recycling in urban areas.
How to set up a URC in your city?
Define the main outlines for an Urban Repair Center
Is your URC more about repairing as many items as possible? Do you want to raise awareness about repair or help citizens or professional repairers to repair more? Will the URC be used to train low-skilled workers?
Use our business model template to define the outlines for a URC in your city. It will help you define your mission, proposition value, users and context. The Business Model Template, will also allow you to establish a financial plan but must, of course, be adapted to your reality.
The Sharepair feasibility study for 4 potential URC models
Within the project, we conducted a feasability study for a URC. We developed detailed business models for 4 types of centres:
- Repair service (Classical enterprise or Social integration enterprise)
- Mobile Repair Service
- Fun & Education Repair Center
- Training Repair Center
Questions to answer before you start
There are choices to be made according to your objectives and financial capabilities:
- Are you focussing on repair of EEE or planning to include repair of bicycles, clothing, furniture, .. as well?
- Are you targeting all types of EEE or just one category? Identify which repair services are already happening in the area. Most likely, repair services for large appliances and electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, computers) will be present. The business model will depend on the chosen categories:
- for electronic devices: the price for a new device in often high and so many citizens are willing to pay for repair;
- for large appliances: citizens are willing to pay for repair (for the same reason as mentioned above) but, because of the size, they expect the repair to be done at home;
- What resources could be used for other activities? E.g.: technical and administrative staff, premises, tools, ...
- Do you want to provide a free repair service or would citizens have to pay for the repairs?
Think about safety & equipment
It is important to think about the safety and well-being in the URC and make sure to create a warm and well ventilated working environment.
- The workstations should be equipped with 10mA differentials.
- For safety reasons, some appliances or devices can only be repaired by specialised repairers.
- Provide gloves and cleaning material in the URC (tip: about 30 % of the repairs only require a deep cleaning).
- Provide basic and decent repair tools for the repairers.
Some good practices
- Partnerships are essential! The different partners can come with various contributions: sharing of premises, furniture, working or administrative staff, specialization in raising awareness among citizens...
- Combine a repair service with a second hand shop. This way, if a device is not repairable, the customer can leave with a solution without having to buy a new device.
- Good to know : about 30 % of the repairs only require a deep cleaning but you should not underestimate the time that it can take.