I was recently given an opportunity to give a presentation at the Local Lives – Global Matters Conference in Castlemaine, Vic, where I pitched the idea of “Cosmo-localization”. I’ve been wanting to talk about this idea for a while, and the conference gave me a good excuse to pull something together, especially with its commitment to sustainability, resilience and relocalization.

Cosmo-localization describes the dynamic potentials of the globally distributed knowledge commons in conjunction with emerging capacity for localized production of value. The imperative to create economically and ecologically resilient communities is driving initiatives for ‘re-localization’. Yet, such efforts for re-localization need to be put in the context of new technologies, national policy, transnational knowledge regimes and the wider global knowledge commons.

I argue there are six trends that potentiate cosmo-localization:

  1. emerging global knowledge commons
  2. new technology
  3. the maker movement
  4. urbanization and rise of mega-city regions
  5. distributed energy production and storage
  6. resource scarcity, eco integrity and precarity

And there are three identifiable obstacles as well:

  1. platform oligopoly / netarchical capital
  2. adjudication of national policy
  3. global knowledge regimes

In this I need to acknowledge my colleagues through the Footscray Maker Co-op who have taught me quite a bit about the maker movement, as well as Michel Bauwens and P2P Foundation friends, who have pioneered analysis and innovation in this area (P2P + netarchical capital + the FLOK project). Finally I ended up using, somewhat intuitively, the futures triangle developed by Sohail Inayatullah (drivers + weight of history + images of the future). So there you go, Footscray Maker Co-op + Bauwen’s P2P + Inayatullah … all in one talk!

Actually, I don’t think I’m describing anything new here … we are seeing this via MakerBot, Tesla, Global Village Construction Set, FLOK and a variety of other projects. But it does need to be named and analysed, and I hope this adds to the collective vision, analysis, understanding and action – as it evolves.




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