Funded by the The Metcalf Foundation, this project is a response to the Foundation’s Green Prosperity Challenge, aiming to support creative, practical activities that reduce pressure on the natural environment in southern Ontario while also fostering economic and social well-being.
Metcalf believes there is a pressing need to identify ways in which we can address environmental challenges, in tandem with creating economic and social benefits. Green prosperity will only be possible if we begin to redefine growth and re-imagine economic progress. With this in mind, this project explores the possible relevance of community-based fabrication to a post-consumer society.
Our idea is that the habit of actually making things may challenge logic of passive consumption whilst engendering a new kind of community-based economy. Although there is a compelling case for low/no growth economics (e.g. Jackson 2009; Victor 2008), this vision has not been demonstrated ‘on the ground’. The convergence of
(i) new communication and organizational [open source, P2P] technologies associated with the Internet, with
(ii) emerging micro fabrication technologies (e.g. 3d printing)
is creating as yet untapped possibilities for small-scale, community-based economy which combines artisanal craftsmanship with both technical innovation and a much more integrated recycling, reuse and repair of material objects. This project tests the capacity of community-based hacking spaces and Maker projects to engage ordinary people, unpick the psycho-cultural attractions of consumerism, change behaviour and transform local economies.