Thing Commons

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The Thing Commons is defined as:

  • open access tools, systems and supporting technologies
  • distributed solutions to manufacturing and production
  • small scale
  • do it yourself
  • replicable
  • social technologies - things are better when shared, and when you don't have to start from scratch


  • Systems to help people collaborate and communicate
  • Tools to help design, build, and share
  • People and organizations that are participating in some part of the chain
  • Documents that outline possibilities, steps to be taken, and comments on how all this fits together

Key Concepts

Physical P2P Production

New Distributed Infrastructures

Areas of Activity

  • Small Scale Production
  • Production On Demand

Related Concepts

  • Openness

Sam Rose:

"Thing Commons" above is what some people call "means of production". Open license machines, designs, materials, etc. This is probably going to be Paul's offering to the group. But, we'd work on it with you ahead of time either way. (p2presearch list, August 2009)

More Information

The Forward Foundation coined the term 'Thing Commons' and this category frees it for our use to bring together an ecology of solutions, questions and opportunities to light a path to the future of P2P production, design, and re-use.

  • From the Forward Foundation's Blog:
  • Full size on Prezi:
  • Design
    • Evolution is perpetual design. Perpetual design requires openness, and modularity on all scales. Open modular designs can be made, unmade, and remade.
  • Make
    • Whether you are carving a marble statue or assembling parts together, making is the craft of creating something new in the world.
  • Deliver
    • Delivering "things" means delivering on your commitments: to participate, to refine, to engage, to improve, to innovate. Proximity provides access to use, for physical as well as virtual "things."
  • Community
    • discuss
    • value
    • organize