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= "DGML describes the processes through which design is developed, shared and improved as a global digital commons, whereas the actual manufacturing takes place locally through shared infrastructures with local biophysical conditions in mind".

Also used: DG-ML, Design Global, Manufacture Local, Cosmo-Localization


Chris Giotitsas and Jose Ramos:

"The basic features of DG-ML are based on the conjunction of open source / open design production logics at the global scale, which are coupled with local-network production at a regional scale. Traditionally corporate enterprises have solely owned the intellectual property (IP) they employ in the production of goods. They source the materials for the goods through national or global supply chains. They manufacture those goods using economies of scale in a set number of manufacturing centres, whereupon those finished goods are delivered nationally or globally. DG-ML is an inversion of this production logic. First of all, the IP is open, whether open source or creative commons or copyfair, so it can be used by anyone. Secondly, manufacturing and production can be done independently of the IP, by any community or enterprise around the world that wants to. The democratization of increasingly powerful precision manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers and automated systems / robots potentiate this. This does not follow the logic of economies of scale (yet), rather it is focused on producing value for a critical reference group (CRG), a community who require such goods. Thirdly, distribution is localized to the CRG, or affiliates of the CRG." (https://www.academia.edu/33661849/A_New_Model_of_Production_for_a_New_Economy)


Chris Giotitsas and Jose Ramos:


"the DG-ML process is neither top down nor bottom up. As mentioned, DG-ML is not top down because the CRG is critical in driving design and organisational iterations for mutualised community problem solving. Likewise, DG-ML is not just bottom up, because manufacturing without the aid of a global design commons and expert assistance is a recipe for a harsh survivalist / life boat development approach. This brings to bear the central role of gatherings (conferences and jams), for linking and mixing the local with the global - highlighting the role of the organizer and community building. Overall DG-ML is a co-production between an emerging global design commons, software, hardware, peer to peer platforms for circular economy, machinery and production equipment."


"DG-ML connects two scales of community: the global scale, interweaving the commons of design through software platforms, conferences and other modalities that pool de-territorialized resources for common use; and the scale of the local where people pool embodied resources and create localized commons which potentiate livelihoods. At both scales people are peer producing commons. The transformations in web technology and the emergence of Creative Commons and GNU licenses as legitimate formats has meant that it is fashionable to see commoning as digital and platform based. The case studies in this report, however, indicate that the localized process of commoning, revealed through processes similar to participatory action research, are both fundamental to an effective application of DG-ML, and they are co-constitutive of the global scale of commoning - that is to say that the global scale of commoning is not possible without the local/embodied. We can make the proposition that DG-ML co-mingles a very modern conception of commoning, the digital commons made possible by the network form, with an ancient conception of commoning reminiscent of early tribal peoples who depended on reciprocity and gifting systems for their survival." (https://www.academia.edu/33661849/A_New_Model_of_Production_for_a_New_Economy)


Chris Giotitsas and Jose Ramos:

"DG-ML is not just the advent of new technologies that can be simply strapped on to the neoliberal globalization machine. DG-ML in fact represents the instantiation and operationalization of a new economic system that draws from an emerging worldview. Drawing from relationships and experiences with people involved in DG-ML, we believe it represents a substantive cultural shift in the orientation of material producers/consumers. It rejects the way in which industrialization has decontextualized inputs and outputs and associated externalities. It is thus allied to the vision for building circular economies, the idea being that the production materials used in a DG-ML process are sourced as locally as possible, with waste outputs utilized as inputs elsewhere, eliminating unnecessary supply chain associated costs and impacts. It is also connected to calls for a post-growth economic model, sustaining livelihoods based on measures of wellbeing rather than corporate / economic growth. It is interwoven with the open source movement, a vision for a digital commons where the legacy of human creativity is shareable. It draws from a planetary imaginary where local development work is responsive to the planetary challenges we face. It is in fact part of a movement to create an alternative globalization, and an expression of an emergent worldview: global ecological integrity versus overshoot, peer worker solidarity versus national competition, value pluralism versus the monoculture of GDP." (https://www.academia.edu/33661849/A_New_Model_of_Production_for_a_New_Economy)


Comparison of Traditional vs DGML-based peer production

(CRG refers to: critical reference group)



  • AbilityMate, a company that supports people with disabilities to design and manufacture their own prosthetics and assistive devices,
  • Atelier Paysan




  • RepRap, an open source organization that designs 3D printers designed to replicate themselves,


  • WikiHouse, a foundation which supports people to design and build sustainable housing,


Sustainability Science (2023)

A reconceptualisation of technology, as a vital component of modern society cutting across all its other aspects, is required to achieve social and environmental sustainability. This paper presents a convivial technology development framework using the concept of “cosmolocal” production. The latter captures the dynamic of dispersed technology initiatives, which exhibit conceptualisations of living, working and making around the commons. It is a structural framework for organising production by prioritising socio-ecological well-being over corporate profits, over-production and excess consumption. From the vantage point of Tzoumakers, a cosmolocal initiative in which the authors participate, this paper offers an empirical account of its conception and evolution. We further examine its relation and cooperation with various similar interconnected places in urban and rural settings.

  • Article: Beyond global versus local: illuminating a cosmolocal framework for convivial technology development. Sustainability Science.

URL = https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-023-01378-1

New Economics Foundation (2017)

Report: A New Model of Production for a New Economy: Two Cases of Agricultural Communities. By Chris Giotitsas and Jose Ramos. Published by the New Economics Foundation.

Futures (2015)

The aim is to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on post-capitalist construction by exploring the contours of a commons-oriented productive model. On the basis of this model called “design global, manufacture local”, we argue that recent techno-economic developments around the emergence of commons-based peer production and local manufacturing technologies, may signal new alternative paths of social organization. We conclude by arguing that all commons-oriented narratives could converge, thereby supporting the creative communities which are building the world they want within the confines of the political economy they aspire to transcend.

  • Article: Design global, manufacture local: Exploring the contours of an emerging productive model. By Vasilis Kostakis, Vasilis Niaros, George Dafermos, Michel Bauwens. Futures, Volume 73, October 2015, Pages 126–135. pdf site

Journal of Cleaner Production (2016)

The emerging discussion about the sustainability potential of distributed production is the starting point for this paper. The focus is on the “design global, manufacture local” model. This model builds on the conjunction of the digital commons of knowledge and design with desktop and benchtop manufacturing technologies (from three-dimensional printers and laser cutters to low-tech tools and crafts). Two case studies are presented to illustrate three interlocked practices of this model for degrowth. It is argued that a “design global, manufacture local” model, as exemplified by these case studies, seems to arise in a significantly different political economy from that of the conventional industrial model of mass pro- duction. “Design global, manufacture local” may be seen as a platform to bridge digital and knowledge commons with existing physical infrastructures and degrowth communities, in order to achieve distributed modes of collaborative production.

  • Article: The convergence of digital commons with local manufacturing from a degrowth perspective: Two illustrative cases. By Vasilis Kostakis, Kostas Latoufis, Minas Liarokapis, Michel Bauwens. Journal of Cleaner Production. site pdf

Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (2016)

This article explores the socio-environmental implications of two different value models currently competing for dominance in the digital economy: the neo-feudal cognitive capitalism (NFCC) and the hypothetical case of mature peer production (HMPP). Using a systematisation that considers environmental effects of information and communication technologies as direct, indirect and structural, this article discerns the future socio-environmental sce- narios indicative of each value model. We argue that the two value models share the same type of direct environmental effects associated with a similar technological infrastructure; however, their indirect effects differ in prospects of consumer behaviour, environmental awareness and product design. Likewise the difference in structural effects is significant as the NFCC is based on profit maximisation and an accumulation of capital, whereas the HMPP is agnostic to growth and oriented towards the commons. Hence, the latter is considered as the socio-environmentally auspicious choice, but comes not without transitional challenges of its own.

  • Article: Towards a political ecology of the digital economy: Socio-environmental implications of two competing value models. By Vasilis Kostakis, Andreas Roos, Michel Bauwens. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. site pdf