Jonathan Minchin

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Team Culturing Information

last updated: 24. January, 2013

WHO are you?

  • Name - Jonathan Minchin
  • Location (city, country) - Barcelona, Spain and London, England
  • Contact Information (email, phone, Skype) - Jonminchin (at) gmail (dot) com, Esp +34 633417217, UK+447780558571 Skype: Jonminchin
  • Introductory Video -
  • Resume/CV -
  • Hobbies and Pastimes - Besides my Academic and Working career as an Architect and designer, I enjoy the outdoors very much. I have have been a volunteer on construction and conservation projects in South Africa, Central America and in London also. I am a Kung Fu instructor a drummer and amateur cartoon animator.

WHY are you motivated to support/develop this work?

  • Do you endorse open source culture?

I believe that creativity, technology and production have always existed as part of a wider communication economy and infrastructure; for how can we ever progress or learn anything if we do not share what we know? The ideals and mechanisms of Open Source Culture are revolutionising the world of ideas by making knowledge accessible and appropriable for everyone. (D.I.T. and CC licenses etc.) Open source culture offers a powerful alternative to the static forces of ownership and centralised control: the prevailing mode of operation during the last industrial revolution. I endorse Open source culture as a facilitator of freedoms and capabilities and believe that the diversity of knowledge and solutions that are generated by openly sharing ideas helps to create an efficient and more sustainable way of life.

  • Why are you interested in collaborating with us?

I am co-ordinating the development of an open collaboration platform to socialise design and production. The platform uses geolocations and design conditions to sense and track materials, services and solutions. It combines a common database of Open Source Hardware projects together with the online tools needed to take ideas from conception to construction. It is a social network for makers, innovators and educators. Besides sharing many of the same ideologies as OSE, I see that there is massive potential to collaborate and expand the GVCS through the development of the platform. As a social business and together with Practical Action UK, several FabLabs and a network of universities in Spain, Britain and Mexico. We are guided by humanitarian and sustainable development goals, for this reason I think the online tools and infrastructure we are developing could be bettered and attuned to the needs of the GVCS by collaborating with the OSE team.

  • Are you interested in teaching about the GVCS?

Yes. Both teaching and learning about the GVCS and possibly constructing the set at the Green FabLab (Valldaura) in Barcelona Cataluña for educational purposes. Ultimately I intend to coordinate and integrate the GVCS into the curriculum of a Master program at the school. The FabLab team that is at Valldaura and the visiting students may also be able to collaborate, innovate and adapt the GVCS to their local conditions also. E and M learning classes will help to augment this process. : A (Global University Construction Set) ?

  • Are you interested in economic relocalization possibilities arising from the GVCS?

Yes, any groups that try to create an alternative economic, land ownership and production strategy that brakes the ties of wage labour and form more robust local production system and economy has my vote. I am also interested in local currencies and bit coins as a way to generate sustainable economies without debt. I see that the GVCS has the potential to drive economic movement within a network of global villages and transition towns.

  • Do you want to use the GVCS technologies yourself? Do you want to build them yourself?

Yes, If I had my own land I would. However the Permaculture course at Valldaura will make valuable use of the GVCS once the students had built them. I would like to learn more about machine construction and engineering skills you use. I am also intend to use the set with other NGO projects; this may include integrating the GVCS set into the Practical Action database and training their engineers.

  • Are you interested in starting up enterprise using the GVCS technologies?

This is not a primary concern, however there will be many possibilities for facilitating others to startup enterprises using the GVCS and the skills bank of the platform.

  • Are you interested in having the GVCS technologies fabricated by your local custom fabricator?

Yes, although I would much rather be part of a network of local custom fabricators.

  • Are you interested in applying the GVCS to third world development? To redevelopment of crisis areas? To development of derelict areas in the developed world?

I would like use the GVCS in the development projects I am already engaged with. These might include projects in Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Cuba. Just to note: These countries may prefer to be referred to as part of the 'Global South' rather than the 'Third World' (not PC these days). I feel that the GVCS is particularly well attuned to tackle real social, economic and environmental problems, and to be adapted to suit a patchwork of different development needs across the globe. The platform we are developing integrates disaster risk mapping into an inter-operable search system and has been nominated for the KATERVA award for sustainability 2012. On a personal note I hold a Masters in International Cooperation and Sustainable Emergency Architecture and have worked with UNESCO and UN Habitat on just such issues.

  • Are you interested in starting up Industry 2.0 flexible fabrication enterprises for your local community, by drawing from a global repository of freely down-loadable designs and fabricating using open source fabrication equipment?

Yes. In particular I would like to help develop that repository, help promote the GVCS in Barcelona and amongst transition towns in the UK.

  • Are you interested in the potential of the GVCS for developing local food systems?

Certainly yes, the coming Permaculture Course at the GreenFablab will take a 130 hectare sector of the Collserola park in Barcelona and turn it into a food forest. We need your help to do so.

  • Are you interested in doing academic studies/papers, publishing books, or doing other analysis of our efforts?

Absolutely yes. I think it is indeed necessary to evaluate and peer review the entire process. I have already published articles that mention and relate the OSE into a new development paradigm.

  • Are you interested in financial investment opportunities arising from our work?

Absolutely yes. Funding partners to co-develop the platform, to develop the GVCS and other OSHW projects. There may also be opportunities to pool financial support to achieve shared goals in the humanitarian and development sector.

  • Are you interested in the distributive economic aspects of our work, and if so, how do you see this playing out?

I understand the GVCS as being the kernel of an open source hardware repository that can be built and used anywhere, but it is engagement in a service economy, real fabrication and production projects that will add to the economies of the communities that use them. Each project is capable of generating its own community by exchanging, trading and interchanging, knowledge, tools and services. In a distributed sense, I see this happening most appropriately as a multitude of distributed networks of communities with similar conditions, needs and shared goals.

  • Are you interested in building renewable energy production facilities based on open hardware (solar concentrator electric, wind, biomass power)?

Yes, I / we aim to integrate and improve projects with these themes and many others that come from the Practical Action. We will also be developing and exploring new models of self-sufficiency the Green FabLAB in Valldaura.

  • Are you interested in building resilient communities based on access to the GVCS?

Yes, building resilient communities is the primary and end goal of my work. There are several communities already being developed that need support for the GVCS and could benefit greatly from the increased capacities they find by having access to it.

  • Are you interested in creating a bug-out hut using GVCS technologies?

I am not exactly sure what a bug-out hut is.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can help alleviate the instabilities of global monetary systems?

This is a big task. However, if access to OSHW is available and the machines can be built using social capital, economic re-localisation mechanisms and without debt — then a new mode of production can arise that does not depend on the existing fiat monetary system or the debt. An alternative currency can be made operational alongside the development, trade and use of the GVCS and other OSHW.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can address issues related to resource conflicts?

The tragedy of the commons is that there resources can be finite but the need for them is limitless. The challenge is to develop mechanisms and technology that allow us to act efficiently and equitably in an economy of scarcity. One response offered by the GVCS is that modularity and recursive components are designed in for efficiency. the opposite of obsolescence Designing in closed life cycles for materials and energy help us to become technical sustainability. However the Open Source aspect of the GVCS challenges the problem of inequity by bringing new capacities and access to previously economically isolated communities.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can address issues of overpopulation?

Increasingly the global population is putting pressure on the ecological, biotic and material resources of the world. One way to reduce the effects of exponential population growth is to increase the rights and educational opportunities available to young women everywhere. When women choose education, the result often means a smaller family size. The barefoot university in India works with young women to become community engineers, this has been especially successful in the installation of solar technology. I suppose this model is also applicable to the GVCS.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can address issues of resource depletion and environmental degradation?

The GVCS offers an alternative localised system that counters the inefficient and detrimental effects of large-scale centralised modes of production. It does this by offering tools for networked efficiency and local self-sufficiency. A technology set that responds and adapts well to local people and environments such as the GVCS begins to tackle the problem of resource depletion by local adaption and specialisation. However any technology that interfaces with environments and materials must also be coupled with new ideologies for living that strive to build resilient communities.

  • Do you have any other comments that you'd like to make?

I have noticed that many of the machine designs you have are made of steal and are welded. I wonder if there are any other less expensive and more abundant materials that you could make use of? Especially when thinking of appropriate use in the more remote parts of the world. How do we transpose the GVCS framework into other material and technological domains?

  • What should happen so that you become more involved with the project?

I would like to participate in many ways. 1) To learn how best to support your work with involvement of students. 2) To demonstrate the potential of the platform we are developing 3) To explore and engage in the pursuit of shared goals between similar communities. 4) To form academic peer review processes. 5) To 'communify' : meetings with OSE Europe and visits to Factor E farm.

  • What are you missing in the project?

I am missing references to differing global conditions, I advocate appropriate intermediate technologies and value and support other modernisms. I would like to explore how the GVCS as kernel can respond in an informatic and material sense to differing people and conditions.

  • What are your suggestions for improvement of the project?

Two possible aspects to explore 1) improved collaborative innovation processes 2) Integrated education facilities.


  • What have you already contributed to the OSE project? (technical contributions, blogging about us, financial support, organizing events, translations, interviews, video editing, publications, publicity work, behind-the-scenes work, CAD work, wiki contributions, computer support, etc)

I have blogged, tweeted, emailed and presented your work in power-points to educators, students and institutions. I have also contributed to discussions online in the OSE wiki and on other networks.

HOW can you help?

  • How are you interested in contributing to the work of GVCS development?

The most appropriate way I can do this is by involving students in an innovation process for the GVCS.

  • Can you volunteer to work with us, and if so, how many hours per week?

Yes. I intend to volunteer time and effort into the development of the GVCS. There is just to define how.

  • Are you interested in working with us for pay? If so, what services can you offer, and what is your hourly or per-project rate?

I may be able to offer some services but am not interested in being a member of staff per se.

Yes I want to come and talk, learn and perhaps to test my soldering skills! Perhaps with students too.

  • Are you interested in purchasing equipment from us to help bootstrap development?

Possibly, I think that it would be more fun to build the machines.

  • Are you interested in bidding for consulting/design/prototyping work?


Not yet. I promise that i will.

  • Would you like to see yourself working with us on a full-time basis?

No as I have other responsibilities

  • Are you interested in being part of the world's first, open source, resilient community? The GVCS is the preparatory step for the OSE Village Experiment - a 2 year, immersion experiment (2013-2014) for testing whether a real, thriving, modern-day prototype community of 200 people can be built on 200 acres using local resources and open access to information? We are looking for approximately 200 people to fill a diverse array of roles, according to the Social Contract that is being developed. This may be the boldest social experiment on earth - a pioneering community whose goal is to extend the index of possibilities regarding harmonious existence of humans, ecology, and technology - as a beacon of light to benefit of all people on Earth.

I am thoroughly immersed in open access to information, but cannot move to Factor E Farm in 2013. Lets do it together!