A hackerspace, for me, is part of a broader personal effort to create and explore 'outstitutions,' alternatives to traditional ways of socializing and learning; to pursue insight and creative expression in a context that respects my ideals of freedom, self-mastery and decentralization; ways of living devoted to beauty and insight, autonomous zones and intentional microcultures. I believe institutions can and should be made to nurture free people; so take possession of them, with all playfulness and seriousness, and create tiny alternatives where the human spirit can be free.
Some ideal characteristics for a hackerspace:
Based in the local community and local in scope
Designed to accomodate both long-term goals & projects, and short-term goals & projects
Non-hierarchically structured; consensus/democratic decision-making
Brings together a diverse pool of talents and interests