The digital infrastructure to connect Fab Cities worldwide
How can a digital infrastructure be designed that enables fab cities to bundle and systematize knowledge in order to produce in a demand-oriented and sustainable manner?
The long-term goal of the INTERFACER project is to promote a green, resilient, and digitally based mode of production that enables the greatest possible participation of citizens.
In this context, the project takes up the Fab City concept of distributed production of open source hardware in the context of an urban circular economy. Distributed, decentralized production and value creation differ significantly from classic company-based value creation in that autonomous, dislocated actors come together along the value chain (design, development, production, logistics, and distribution) in a problem- and demand-oriented manner in order to create a product in a hitherto less formalized process and to recycle materials beyond its life cycle and feed them into a new product life cycle.
Since the institutional embedding in a hierarchically structured company and the central control by this company no longer apply and also classic, market-based coordination mechanisms do not necessarily take effect, suitable interfaces, structures, processes, forms of governance, and not least software-based digital support are required for the implementation of such a distributed, decentrally organized form of value creation.
Against this background, the INTERFACER project aims to develop a digital infrastructure that enables fab cities and regions to bundle and systematize the knowledge generated in global knowledge networks and communities of practice (data sovereignty) in the sense of commons-based peer production, in order to produce locally on-site according to demand.
Fab City Operating System
The focus is on the identification, definition, and design of interfaces between systems, networks, and physical artifacts – hence the chosen project title. In this context, INTERFACER uses synergies with the EU project REFLOW OS and the dtec.bw project “Fab City: Distributed, decentralized production for urban value creation”.
The concrete goal is the new development and first-time application of an open-source software system Fab City OS (OS = Operating System). Fab City OS accordingly describes a software stack as a compilation of different functionalities and software tools that can be implemented as needed along the value chain at the respective entities (nodes, for example, businesses, Fab Labs) of the network. A federated system or network architecture enables the integration of different client-server systems and the decentralized storage and management of data.
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