Global Village Construction Set

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= integrated toolset for the construction of economies that utilize local resources: open source, flexible fabrication - applied to Community Supported Manufacturing – as a viable route to an industrial system free of geopolitical compromise.

= a collection of open-source, appropriate technology tools that can be integrated into the village economy.



Strategy laid out by Marcin Jakubowski of Open Source Ecology here at


"The approach of this project is to identify a small but comprehensive infrastructure base of robust, widely applicable solutions for living and working in new communities that are aimed at transforming the world. The community can be as small as a couple, such that no special deviation from the societal norm of a household needs to be invoked. The bottom line is living and working according to principles of right livelihood. If living and working as such is taken seriously, then it is advantageous to form communities of more than one couple, such that division of labor distributes the effort necessary for meeting the group's needs.

With this in mind, we focus on creating an environment for living and working, and a process by which the people to populate this environment are identified and aligned. The initial step is to 1 develop the technology base for the living infrastructure, 2 produce a well-define earning model for the community, and 3, provide an explicit productive infrastructure, 4, produce self-replicating flexible and digital fabrication infrastructure, 5, develop means of using onsite feedstocks as much as possible.

The infrastructure base is first and community is second. One cannot organize people in a state of optimal quality of life if the means to support these people is not available. This is a simple consequency of the generally-accepted principle of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs: basic needs come before higher needs. The basic needs are those including housing, energy, food, mobility, etc. It is on the adequate provision of these needs that we must focus initially when building a new community - if our goal is right livelihood. Right livelihood is predicated on autonomy in the provision of these basic needs. Otherwise, uncontrollable external forces such as employers, governments, or external providers of needs- produce misalignment with the most fundamental interests of the community. This means external influence over the community - a recipe for compromise of both true interests and life quality.

The premise of this development effort is that such infrastructure package has not yet been made available to people. All the technologies exist already, but one must pay dearly for them. Much of the technology requires specialists, is proprietary, or is inaccessible because of the distractions of marketing.

The infastructure-in-a-box includes FEH-RLM-LE: Food, Energy, Habitat, Right Livelihood, Mobility. It constitutes a Learning Environment and a particular way of living. An inherent consequence of this package is transformation. This is because, if self-sustaining, self-replicating units as such are devised, then they solve today's great unsolved 'mysteries' - hunger, poverty, ignorance, overpopulation, and war. Minimal management greenhouses and edible landscapes address hunger, as people place at least some food production back in their hands. Personal and digital fabrication, fueled by open source design, as well as agriculture and information work, leaves no poor among us. Ignorance is dispelled as people take charge of their own education and enlightenment through experiential, entrepreneurial, research lifestyles. Overpopulation is addressed as only the number of people is invited into a particular community as can be supported by indigenous resources. War is addresses as we provide our own energy, fuels, building materials, and foodstuffs - and don't have to attack others for their resources because we ran out of ours.

Start with principles of replicability. Our fundamental principle is that information is the critical, frequently absent component enabling the success of endeavors. To create a replicable program, necessary information must be openly accessible, and better yet - open source - to enable people to learn the necessary techniques. In particular, to create a community, information related to the successful deployment of infrastructure must be available." (

Kevin Carson

"I would like to call everyone's attention to the work of the Open-Source Ecology group, and its Factor E Farm demonstration project. Factor E Farm provides constant updates on the progress of specific projects at their blog.

OS Ecology's central focus is developing what it calls an Open-Village Construction Set: a collection of open-source, appropriate technology tools that can be integrated into the village economy.

Because they are open-source rather than relying on proprietary designs, and because they use locally available and vernacular materials as much as possible, they are extremely inexpensive. Just as important, the machinery is replicable, using locally available materials (including scrap and waste from the industrial economy). This means that once the initial prototypes of all the machinery are built, the entire system is almost infinitely replicable using only the labor of the people who want to adopt it.

The projects furthest along the road to completion are:

1) the Compressed Earth Block (CEB) press, which uses rammed earth as a building material, and can be produced at 20% of the cost of the cheapest available proprietary design.

2) the Life Trac, an open-source tractor, which can run on biomass fuel produced on-site, and is intended to serve (among other things) as power source for the CEB press, the sawmill, and the multi-machine (about which see below).

3) the solar-powered steam turbine generator. This project abandons the possibly futile hope of getting the unit cost of photovoltaic power competitive with that generated with fossil fuels, and instead uses a solar collector to power a steam turbine for operating an electrical generator. OSE hopes to get the unit cost down to $1/watt.

There are some 28 projects in various stages of planning. Unfortunately, limits in funding and available labor force OS Ecology to focus on a few projects at a time and put the others on the back burner.

For example, one vitally important tool ultimately envisioned in the Construction Set is the multimachine, which has been independently prototyped elsewhere, but has yet to be integrated into OS Ecology's on-site project. The multimachine is a multi-purpose machine tool, providing the equivalent of a cheap desktop metal shop, which can also be used to produce other multimachines from scrap metal.

In "The Unplugged," Vinay Gupta wrote of a movement of people "buying out at the bottom" by using "Buckminster Fuller's means to promote Gandhi's ends." This is the largest and most advanced single project I'm aware of for putting that philosophy into practice. It is very much of a kind with what the Village Earth Appropriate Technology Library, and the Intermediate Technology Development Group have attempted. But it goes much further in 1) promoting village-scale manufacturing technology and integrating machine production into the village economy, and 2) attempting an organized prototypiing effort aimed at distributing it as an open-source package.

The OS Ecology project relies heaviy on crowdsourcing for its funding, and on the work of volunteer laborers living at the Factor E Farm site. Marcin Jakubowski and the rest of the team are working in near-emergency mode trying to get as much of the Open-Village Construction Set as possible prototyped and the complete designs publicly available. The more on-site labor and the more funding is available, the more projects that can be developed simultaneously. The goal is to get the construction set, as a whole, on a sustainable path toward unlimited growth by fission and replication, and to promote its adoption wherever people can benefit from it.

The urgency is heightened by increasingly ominous signs that the old corporate industrial economy is entering a "perfect storm" of terminal crises, from the culmination of a century's worth of chronic overaccumulation, Peak Oil, and all the rest of it. The OS Ecology team want to get the building blocks out there, and the knowledge of them as widely dispersed as possible, in order to have the infrastructure for resilient local communities in place on the ground and ready to start replicating itself virally. As Jakubowski told me by private email, this might be what pulls us out of Great Depression 2.

Marcin would be grateful for any help he can get. This includes funding. More importantly, it includes contributions of sweat equity by anyone with engineering, shop, or other tech skills who'd like to help on-site for room and board. And I'm sure he'd also like to hear from anyone involved in similar projects in the human-scale technology movement, who might have suggestions for collaborative effort and mutual support.

In short, Marcin et al are working under a deadline, and putting everything they've got into the effort. For anyone with the time or resources to help, I can't recommend this strongly enough as a worthy project.

You can subscribe to contribute $10/month, or make a one-time donation via PayPal, at the support page."

Marcin can be contacted at [email protected]

More Information

  1. Open Source Ecology
  2. Factor E Farm
  3. Global Villages