Design Global, Manufacture Local

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= an emerging productive model that builds on the convergence of the digital commons of knowledge, software and design with local manufacturing technologies".

both a concept, and the title of articles; this pages focuses on the articles; for the concept, go to: DGML

The Concept

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


Christina Priavolou and Vasilis Niaros:

"The Design Global, Manufacture Local (DGML) approach has emerged as a production model that focuses on localized production settings via a network of distributed makerspaces . It builds on the convergence of global digital commons (i.e., knowledge, software, and design) with local manufacturing technologies, by taking into account the surrounding biophysical conditions . The reduction of transportation costs and the expected low environmental impact of locally produced solutions are considered as significant benefits of this model . Furthermore, on-demand production, sharing physical and digital infrastructures as well as the production of solutions towards a common good rather than profit maximization are key components of the DGML model.

Notwithstanding the positive dynamics of the DGML approach in the production of tangible artifacts, concerns have been raised with respect to:

(i) the existence of a comprehensive shared documentation that renders a hardware product “open” ; and

(ii) the level of autonomy the user has while developing and maintaining that product. " (

The Articles

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.


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

URL = [ pdf

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

URL = 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

URL = pdf

More Information


Here you find a list of cases that exemplify a "design global, manufacture local" model.

Similar approaches

See also: