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: This pilot-driven project will document, analyze, test, evaluate, and create awareness about a new mode of value creation, based on the conjunction of the digital commons (e.g. open knowledge, software and design) with desktop manufacturing and automation 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. The potential of digital commons to spur technological advance [link]
  2. Evaluating open hardware from an ecological economics perspective [link]
  3. The emergence of urban makerspaces [link]
  4. Digital commons, local manufacturing and sustainability [link]
  5. Value, open cooperativism and open value networks [link]
  6. Think global, print local [link]
  7. P2P: A manifesto for commons transition [link]
  8. Open source technology in agricultural production [link]
  9. Towards a commons-based sustainable food system [link]

Research Coordinator: Vasilis Kostakis.