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THEME
 

A Community/Self-Fabricated World
The future seemingly holds many problems for humanity such as increasing population, over consumption and the dwindling, uneven distribution of resources. As humans grow in numbers our impact on the Earth becomes substantial (visible even from space). The state of the world will be a reflection of sustainable and successful education, communication, and self-control. To a large degree this will be about the systems that humans create and the accessibility of these systems. It will not be about whether a few can solve the problems of the many, but whether the many can solve the problems of the many. To do this humanity needs cheap, ecological, sustainable systems to modify, shape and learn from their environments on the Earth.


Digital Materialization and Programmable Construction
In a modern world of cheap computation, "raw materials", or primitive building blocks can be made to have structure, to be intelligent and programmable. This can be observed, to some degree, already in the building materials of today that come in certain sizes for a given construction technique. This can be extended, made more flexible both in terms of simplicity of construction and the variety of structures that can be built. Building materials could come as smart shapes or nanobots that fit intelligently together or even assemble themselves. Shelters could even be printed in place. It should be possible that a few unskilled people working together can use these systems to build a variety of structures they might desire. These types of materials and processes will allow for builders to program with material and shapes, as a programmer might program with code.


Rapid Modification and Permanence
The division between the permanent and non-permanent shelter is becoming less clear. As was true for many traditional shelters of long ago, it is now possible today to design systems that do not just assemble "permanent" structures simply and rapidly, but also disassemble in a likewise fashion. Shelters made with such systems can be easily modifiable by the user or agents of the user, in a similar way to that of a computer file, a Lego model or a Cob house. They can grow and evolve over time, perhaps even be designed or programmed to self-adapt to changes or events (like climate change). These types of flexible systems will allow for environments that can be rapidly modifiable, dynamic and extensible with little or no physical effort by the user.


Emergent Design, Peer Production and Free Source

Information is now freely transmitted, copied and remixed. Information can represent any idea or object, real or not. It follows then that information can represent structures and shelters that can be transmitted, copied, and remixed. Data, design and knowledge become sustainable, living things. The level of description of detail can be as fine as an author or designer wants, no longer limited by language or pen and paper. Design can even be automated. At this same moment in time, gone are the days of the Library of Alexandria, where only the elite had access to information. Even more importantly, today it is not just about consumption of knowledge but the ability to dynamically and rapidly interact with it, even add to it. Now that designs can be transmitted effortlessly, everyone (who wants to) is the user, builder and designer. People can work together on designs and construction, without any direct communication or even common interest. With enough eyes most problems become trivial and global solutions begin to emerge from many minds over time (for with enough eyes most problems become trivial). Designs become living, organic and evolutionary things.

Taking advantage of modern computational and communication technology, how can architecture, programming, and design create systems that . . .
Enable people to learn by engaging them in their environment and in their place in the world?
Give people the control to sustainably design, assemble, build and modify their environment?
Let people solve problems and share solutions, even local, fine grain problems and solutions that may be uninteresting or not well understood from the outside?

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