Categories
Environment Production Projects & Ideas

Open Source Ecology

Open Source Ecology is a movement dedicated to collaboratively build open source tools for communities who want to be independent of global supply chains, human exploitation, and environmental degradation, creating infrastructure for local technological agricultural self sufficiency.

We are farmer scientists – working to develop a world class research center for decentralization technologies using open source permaculture and technology to work together for providing basic needs and self replicating the entire operation at the cost of scrap metal. We seek societal transformation through interconnected self-sufficient villages and homes. This is a stepping stone to transcending survival and evolving to freedom.

For three years they have been taking their theory into practice in the Factor e Farm, in the fields of Missouri.

Take a look at their blog and their wiki for more info, and find out how you can support them.

Categories
Unrest

Sourcemap

Cartography has been always one of the prime tools for control and domination, because of his apparent truthfulness, like media. Those who make a map also decide where the borders lay, what is the name of everything, how to represent other countries, or their own (bigger, greenier), etc.

For this very same reason, cartography has also been used as an activist tool, way before Google Maps was invented, but the recent trend in mapping and data visualization has meant an increment in the use of cartography as a mean to represent reality from a radical stance.

Surveillance camera maps and other countless mashups of economic and geographic data are now joined by Sourcemap. The project taps into the local consumption angle and sustainability that we have covered here before, and wants to show in a map the supply chain for a given product, calculating the carbon footprint of producing and delivering that product.

Sourcemap is a platform that enables users to contribute to and share ideas about sustainability. Whether you are inviting people to an event, buying ingredients for a recipe, or designing a product, your choices have a significant impact. Some decisions have impacts that stretch across the world, whereas others are entirely regional. Understanding the reach of our actions and facilitating positive change is fundamental to improving economic, social, and environmental conditions.

Sourcemap, sponsored by the MIT Medialab is looking for volunteers.

Categories
Intellectual Property Politics Projects & Ideas

Our Data

Governments and publicly funded initiatives generate a lot of data. That is our data, we paid for it, but most of the time it’s poorly distributed, hidden in government sites. Our Data is a project that aims to reveal that information and collect examples of use.

This site is building an overview of European initiatives and activities around Open Government Data. While working on Open Gov Data it became clear to us that there are lots of European initiatives, data sets and examples that are hard to find outside their own language area. Therefore this site aims to be a collection of pointers.

On a country by country basis we will collect and share pointers to three types of content:

  • Data sets, pointers with short descriptions of what’s available;
  • Initiatives, pointers to policy initiatives, competitions, barcamps. Also as examples of what you can do in your own country;
  • Mashups, example applications based on open government data.

See how you can help.

Categories
Politics Projects & Ideas

We Rebuild

We Rebuild defines itself is a cluster of net activists. Their main focus of attention seems to be to keep internet free of surveillance from governments and corporations, and to fight net neutrality threats.

These issues span over many subjects and areas, which are reflected in a breadth of competences and opinions. There are no leaders, nor members. We Rebuild is simply an international chaotic event, and our actions can not be predicted in detail.

Who are we? There really is no “we”, because we are also you. When acting as We Rebuild, we put all personal or political views aside, focusing on our target – rebuilding the world and saving the internets.

See a FAQ here.

Categories
Production Projects & Ideas

Local Food Systems

There has been a lot of debate lately on the issue of regenerating local economies and production, instead of relying on globalized, delocalized products. This has even spawned new social consuming trends, like the localvores, people committed to consume only locally produced food. Farmers also are eager to revitalize local production, consumption and networks, to strengthen their economy, reduce their carbon-footprint and depend on less mediators to reach consumers.

Local Food Systems is one of this networks, located mainly in the american states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They state:

  1. We have the people, land and climate needed to produce fresh, affordable, and healthy food.
  2. Our growing community of producers and consumers can create strong local food systems, reduce use of fossil fuels, and create businesses and jobs.
  3. Vibrant local and regional agriculture generates wealth in communities, establishes healthy environments for families, and enhances quality of life for all.
Categories
Economy Projects & Ideas

Coop57, ethical financial services

Coop57 is, as its name says, a cooperative providing financial and saving services. Essentially, it functions as a large, horizontal network of solidarity and mutual aid. If a company wants to ask for a loan, it has to be involved in the project first.

It has only presence in some parts of Spain, mainly Catalonia, where it was born, Aragon, Andalucia and Madrid, with plans to expand soon to other areas as Galicia.

Categories
Environment Projects & Ideas

DIY City

How can inhabitants interact with urban planners and affect the way their city evolves? How can they think, and propose, better solutions for urban problems in a horizontal way, adapted to the particularities of a district or neighboorhood, or building, instead of having an elite deciding what’s best for everyone?

DIYcity is a site where people from all over the world think about, talk about, and ultimately build tools for making their cities work better with web technologies. The result is an open source suite of tools that residents of any city, anywhere, can plug into and use to make their area better. This toolset, as it grows, becomes an initial version of a city/resident interface. This interface is the ultimate product, and the ultimate goal, of DIYcity.

Cityleft works for a new theoretical and practical scenario in urban planning. The new scenario is called Urbanism 3.0.

In Urbanism 3.0, Urban Art Interventions and Peer to Peer (P2P) projects are conceived to simulate alternative urban scenarios in public space capable to affect region making as well urban planning, involving the participation of a broad research community made of urbanists, social workers, NGOs, environmental artists, graphic designers, minorities, inhabitants, and so on.

The mention of anything 3.0 or 2.0 or whatever makes me cringe a little bit. We should drop the mentions of x.0 in our projects as this assumes that is the next, logical step in the evolution of a certain discipline, and inherently, excludes any other approaches. There are no hegemonic, totalizing, global solutions to problems or ways in which a discipline, science or cultural feature may evolve.

Categories
Organization Projects & Ideas

The Buckminster Fuller Idea Index

This website and Revolution Summer have a similar purpose of showcasing projects that may spark social change or resolve pressing issues, like access to water or enviromental pollution by proliferation of combustion engine vehicles. Of course, the difference is that the Buckminster Fuller Idea Index gives a prize of $100.000 to the winner project each year.

The winner of the 2009 edition is this project by MIT researchers that proposes to replace the private owned fossil fuel vehicle traffic inside large cities with a network of battery-powered small vehicles, that can be rented at convenience in racks spread throughout the city, similar to the public bike rental systems in cities like Barcelona or Paris:

Mobility-on-demand systems provide racks of these vehicles at closely spaced, convenient locations around an urban service area. Vehicles automatically recharge while they are in these racks. Users walk to the nearest rack, swipe a credit card, pick up a vehicle, drive it to a rack convenient to their destination, and drop it off. These are, in other words, ubiquitously distributed one-way rental systems. These systems are highly efficient in reducing urban congestion, energy use, and carbon emissions. They are synergistic with ubiquitous wireless networking and distributed intelligence, and with solar-friendly, wind-friendly, fuel-cell-friendly smart electrical grids.

Categories
Unrest

Madrid threatens squatter enclave of 40 years

A squatter enclave that’s been existing for over 40 years near Madrid, Spain, is going to be razed and most of the neigbours will be forced to live, as not all will be eligible for rehousing.

Under the plan, the worst areas of the community of 40,000 will be bulldozed to make way for a park, and only a few residents will be eligible for rehousing. The article, in typical fashion, blames all of the drug addiction in Madrid on this one neighborhood (as if organized crime control over the drug trade doesn’t even exist.)

It seems absolutely outrageous for a civilized country to deny rights to people who have lived in a community for decades.

As Victor Renes, of the Spanish charity Caritas, says, “You find yourself here, where it is still possible to settle and try to survive … at the margins where the city tolerates you … until the city arrives and bumps into you and then after that you are tolerated no longer.”

Categories
Unrest

Every night, a car gets burned in Berlin

Anti-gentrification arsonists are burning luxury cars in Berlin neighbourhoods or suburbs where gentrification processes are taking place. Other targets include police cars, and vehicles of DHL, a company that provides logistics services for the German Army:

They occur at a rate of nearly one a night, without warning or fanfare. By the time the police arrive, all that remains are smoking wrecks. Even the identifying badges — Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, VW — are often obliterated by fire.

During the past six months, more than 170 cars have been destroyed by fire in Berlin and police confirm conservatively that 93 were politically motivated attacks.

A mysterious, single page website, brennende-autos.de (Burning Cars of Berlin), shows the number of cars set alight and where the crimes occurred, revealing clusters in ‘‘richer’’ areas, or in suburbs where gentrification and redevelopment are changing the demographic of local neighbourhoods.

Somebody set up a website that maps the arsons, classified by car manufacturer.