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Abstract: The emerging discussion about the sustainability potential of distributed production is the starting point for this paper. The focus is on the “design global, manufacture local” model. This model builds on the conjunction of the digital commons of knowledge and design with desktop and benchtop manufacturing technologies (from three-dimensional printers and laser cutters to low-tech tools and crafts). Two case studies are presented to illustrate three interlocked practices of this model for degrowth. It is argued that a “design global, manufacture local” model, as exemplified by these case studies, seems to arise in a significantly different political economy from that of the conventional industrial model of mass production. “Design global, manufacture local” may be seen as a platform to bridge digital and knowledge commons with existing physical infrastructures and degrowth communities, in order to achieve distributed modes of collaborative production.

Journal of Cleaner Production Available online 14 September 2016
Part of a special issue on degrowth and technology