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Made in my backyard

The impact of DIY, Fablabs and open design on the relation with, and the makeability of our own environment.

Against the background of the technological developments that enable small-scale urban industrialization, our relation to the concept of making needs reviewing. Does urban industrialization have an impact on the relation that we have with our products and our environment?

Our current mass production system has created a huge dived between the product and its origin. The production has been divided in processes that are mere parts in a larger chain of events. As Marx already predicted, the worker who cannot add value of his own, and is not appreciated by others about, will alienate from the products he makes, his environment and, in the end, himself. To create, is to give meaning, a reflection on ones’ “da sein”.

In our current digital world, “making” has regained a new and important role. Internet has enabled the developments of new “make”-principles that are based on openness, social involvement and transparancy. New professions arise on the crossroads of virtual and physical realities: the crafts of the 21st century. With digital technologies physical products are created. Fabrication facilities like the Fablabs enable us to globally distribute knowledge and locally produce this into physical products, based on open design principles. Think of open source 3d printers for do-it-yourself product developments. We live in a time in which people can give meaning to products more than ever.

It is impossible to imagine contemporary society without the resulting increased transparency and freedom.