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Global Village Construction Set – keeping civilization alive via free open source blueprints


Long time readers will know how passionate we are here about the open source movement in all its forms. For example, a couple of years ago we featured 21 of the Coolest Open Source Hardware Projects in the world, which included a great open source tractor for agricultural and industrial use. Well time moves on, and it seems the movement is growing stronger by the day. That little tractor has literally become a whole ecosystem designed to provide the building blocks for a sustainable future.

The Global Village Construction Set is a set of blueprints and instructions for a complete DIY equipment list, enough to build a small sustainable civilization from scratch. Before you start sneering, this is no tree-hugging pie in the sky endeavor, it’s a carefully thought out plan to move some essentials technologies of modern civilization away from an expensive commercial lock-in.

It was founded by Princeton alumni and fusion physics PhD, Marcin Jakubowski, and he and his fellow Open Source Ecology conspirators have already managed to prototype 8 out of 40 planned machines on their shoestring budget, for which blueprints, schematics, budgets and videos will be distributed free of charge via the Internet to anyone with a need.


Forget about complex, expensive mechanisms, these are definitely crude, albeit effective, designs, but they seem to work, and they’re eight times cheaper than commercial products. We particularly like things like the compressed earth brick press, which lets one man produce 5000 bricks a day from raw dirt, enough to build a small home. Very cool.

If there is a caveat, it’s that, as with many of these geek led type ventures, there’s a distinct lack of feminine power involved. All of the the founding team are stereotypical young white males, with one female volunteer managing the sustainable farming part of the project. It’s a shame that this seems to be how things are at the moment.


Anyway we can but wish them well, as it’s locally sustainable initiatives like this which could well be a key factor in a future world without the energy resources to maintain global production and distribution. If you’d like to support them in a direct way and help them try and win additional funding, vote for their short film here (you’ll need to sign in to Vimeo and click the small vote button on the video thumbnail). If they win it would make a big difference to their funding needs.

[Via Corey at BoingBoing]

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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Managing Editor:
Nigel Powell

Deputy Editor:
Donyae Coles
Editor at Large:
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