Phygital: Assessing the practices, innovation and sustainability potential of “design global, manufacture local” model

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Note: We use “phygital” as digitally enhanced physical reality and production, to show how the influx of shared knowledge changes and improves production.

Summary: The goal of this multiphase, pilot-driven project is to explore the contours of an emerging mode of production that builds on the confluence of the digital commons of knowledge, software, and design with local manufacturing technologies (e.g. from 3D printing and CNC machines to low-tech tools and crafts).  This convergence could play a key role in designing sustainable models of production, such as the “design global, manufacture local” model. The latter seems to form economies of scope that promote sustainability and open innovation while celebrating new forms of human collaboration. However, such claims currently rest on thin conceptual and empirical foundations. Through the lens of selected case studies and participatory action research, this project seeks to understand relevant organizational models, their evolution, and their broader political economy and policy implications.

The following list includes projects that either are explicitly taking place under the umbrella of Phygital or are linked to it:

  1. Digital commons, local manufacturing and sustainability (published)
  2. The emergence of urban makerspaces (published)
  3. Think global, print local (published)
  4. A new model of production for a new economy (published)
  5. Peer to peer: The commons manifesto (ongoing)
  6. Evaluating open hardware from a sustainability perspective (ongoing)
  7. A prosperous way down: The degrowth hypothesis (ongoing)
  8. Open source technology in agricultural production (ongoing)
  9. “Open Design and Manufacturing” Erasmus+ project (ongoing)
  10. “Phygital” Interreg project (soon)

Coordinator: Vasilis Kostakis & Vasilis Niaros.