Open-source development for cities

Martin Dennemark wrote to us recently to tell us about his Open Source City Development project. We liked his ideas and encouraged him to send us more. In reply, he sent this video and text:

How can we plan our environment openly and collaboratively? Finding an answer to this question was the main motivation for my graduation project Foundation for Transportation. It deals with a commons-based industry that is using the legacy of the former industrial revolutions to develop transportation technologies of the future. As an urban designer I was aiming to find a fitting spatial representation for this society and the work of the P2P Foundation became a valuable resource for me.

I realised however that design is not enough to create the commons. It is essential to grow a community, allow collaboration in the planning process and to negotiate the needs of the local industry. In this way the place will be designed by its identity. I did this by translating the development of open source software to cities. A digital representation of the physical world assists the planning and makes it easier for the community to review and accept new projects. But this alone does not guarantee an open process, since the planner could close of necessary parts like the shape of buildings or amount of public space. It would create a platform urbanism as a netarchical structure. Therefore to be open the planning process itself needs to become a common resource.

The result is shown in the video and for more information you can download a report. There are still many questions unanswered or arising. How should the digital planning be informed? What should it inform? How does the community interact? I am personally very interested in continuing the research and make it applicable. Through the last few years I have experimented with similar processes together with friends and we want to bring it one step ahead. If you are interested and have an advice, inquiry or want to collaborate, or you know someone with whom I should get in touch with, please feel free and contact me via [email protected].

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