robertogreco + vinaygupta   9

Urban innovation doesn't have to leave rural areas behind — Quartz
"A nice house in the country is an aspirational lifestyle for many: a little place in Norfolk or Maine, a few acres of land, an old farmhouse that’s been nicely retrofitted, maybe a few solar panels on the roof. You could grow some of your own vegetables in the garden and use the internet to video-conference into the office. You’d be back to the land, with all the creature comforts of the city.

But it’s very expensive to pull yourself out of Western industrial capitalism and give yourself the simpler life. If you try and do that in Britain, it’ll cost at least £300,000 (USD$380,000) to buy the place and get it set up. Then you’ve got to spend £20,000 to £50,000 a year to maintain your lifestyle on top of that. You’re basically going back to what the original builders of that farmhouse had, but the difference is that now you have an internet connection, clean water, and solar panels—and it cost you nearly half a million pounds to get there.

For so many of us, the urban phase of existence is seen as an on-ramp that will hopefully one day take us back into the rural phase; the city is where you come to make the money to buy yourself back out into the country. A simple rural life is the golden apple at the end of the capitalist trip, the brass ring that 30 or 40 years of successful work buys you. But it’s also a paradox: We want to pay to live in the near-poverty that the original builders of our dreamy farmhouse were working to escape.

That was 1600s England. Modern-day South America, India, parts of China, and most of Africa essentially have the same lifestyle niche that most of Britain had in the Elizabethan era. Their standard of living is very low. Their water is dirty. The open fires on which they cook on emit a lot of smoke, so everybody is smoking the equivalent of 20 cigarettes a day. There are all kinds of terrible diseases that lower life expectancy, and somewhere between one in five to one in 20 children will die before the age of five.

But rural life doesn’t have to look like this. It is my prediction that in the 21st century, the villagers of Africa, India, and South America will leapfrog over the city—and the rest of Western industrialized society. Instead of aspiring to migrate to the cities to make a bunch of money, the rural farmers of the developing world will be soon able to stay where they are with low-cost, local, distributed versions of all the critical amenities they need.

Start with a building, like a mud or thatched hut. Put a cheap, water-resistant coating on the outside and some solar panels on the roof, just enough to charge your cell phone. Thanks to cheap water filters—you can buy them for about 30 quid now—you’ll also have clean drinking water. There are some great designs from an English outfit called Safe Water Trust that are even cheaper, and they’ll last more-or-less forever in a typical village context.

With your phone charged, you’ll be able to access the internet; rural areas are increasingly equipped with 3G, 4G, or soon-to-be 5G connections. Your kids will therefore be able to get an education off your tablet computer—which now can cost as little as $35—and those solar panels on the roof can keep it running. You can make some money, too, like doing a bit of translation work for your cousin who lives in New York, or some web development for your ex-colleague’s start-up. You’re still growing your vegetables out the back, but now you can look up crop diseases, and there’s this thing called permaculture that you’re also taking an online course in.

Humans need to explore this mode of living if we are to continue catapulting down this materialistic path. When we wind up with a global population of 9 billion, where everybody has two cars and a four-bedroom house, there’s no other way of arranging the pieces. There isn’t enough metal in the earth, never mind enough money.

We’re therefore at a dead end. Inequality is here to stay. But inequality doesn’t have to mean abject poverty. These rural communities will have access to self-sufficient peasant agriculture, education by internet, and a standard of living that is roughly what we aspire to have when we get rich and retire—but they’ll be able to achieve it without going through the urban hyper-capitalist phase first.

This notion of rural life will be centered around the bicycle, the solar panel, and the tablet computer instead of the Land Rover, the diesel generator, and the combine harvester. A life of stable self-sufficiency, rather than precarious plenty. If leapfrogging rural communities can manifest an existence that would satisfy the lawyer-turned-faux-farmer, the notion of rural-urban-and-then-back-to-rural migration would reach the end of the cul-de-sac."
cities  rural  leapfrogging  vinaygupta  2018  capitalism  solar  internet  web  connectivity  simplicity  decentralization  mobile  phones  smartphones  technology  tablets 
march 2019 by robertogreco
After the Sharing Economy - Voice Republic
"In a world in which 17 percent of the world’s resources, the notion of a “sharing economy” offered, at least for a short period, a glimpse of hope for rebalancing the distribution of wealth. Yet despite its rhetoric of putting people and the planet first, the sharing economy has rapidly become more akin to a servitude economy, with the likes of Airbnb and Uber undermining existing services, enforcing their own labor regimes, and reshaping social infrastructures in their own image. Learning from these unfortunate developments, new initiatives, infrastructures, and practices have begun to emerge, seeking to address gross imbalances through a fundamental reconsideration of what ownership means. This panel will bring together a number proponents of new systems capable of “sharing” in wholly different ways, to discuss the lessons learned and unearth their emergent potentials."

[via: https://twitter.com/arikan/status/696959281434857474
"Heard the term protocoletariat first time from @jaromil at @transmediale "After the Sharing Economy", podcast here: https://twitter.com/_VoiceRepublic/status/696018258894393346 "]

[See also: "Eleanor Saitta & Smári McCarthy: Long Live the Protocoletariat! (29c3)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU1s4aILGNY
via: "@arikan @foamspace @jaromil @transmediale @_VoiceRepublic @leashless @hexayurt @OuiShareFest @francescapick check: https://youtu.be/vU1s4aILGNY "]
sharingeconomy  vinaygupta  francescapick  denisrojo  jaromil  benvickers  protocoletariat  economics  servitude  labor  inequality  ownership  airbnb  uber  work 
february 2016 by robertogreco
STACKTIVISM.COM
"we cannot have a conversation about something whilst it remains unseen

#stacktivism is a term that attempts to give form to a critical conversation & line of enquiry around infrastructure & the relationship we have to it

there are many people beginning to shape/have this conversation ::
Keller Easterling : Extra Statecraft
Jo Guldi : Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State
Timo Arnall : No to NoUI
Benjamin Bratton : Geopolitics of The Cloud
Artist/Critical Engineer : Julian Oliver
Vinay Gupta : Simple Critical Infrastructure Maps
Jay Springett : Who owns the means of not dying?

**JULY 13 2013 LONDON UNCONFERENCE**

stacktivism.tumblr for a curated collection of links
follow @stacktivism to join the conversation"
infrastructure  2013  joguldi  stactivism  kellereasterling  timoarnall  benjaminbratton  julianoliver  vinaygupta  jayspringett 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Radical alternatives? Surely we can do better? « The Third University
"2. …Mimicking what we are railing against is comfortable but changes little. It simply gives us a new, safe space in which to rail and exclude.

3. The process of consensus is disabling where it is shackled to a perceived need to be productive or by self-imposed time constraints or by the fear of being bogged down in long discussions, and by the desperate, unquestioned desire to act now. However, we’ve seen the allegedly direct democratic process of consensus used in time-limited ways to marginalise or simply give voice to those more experienced in the process. In this way it is no different to standard institutionalised forms of governance. But what is worse is the subtext that it is more open and transparent, and that somehow at every point we don’t have to out power relationships. The network, for all our trite statements about newness, is neither new nor power free. It is just as hateful and disabling, or just as counter-hegemonic and different."
technology  principles  answers  commodities  gandhi  vinaygupta  alternativeeducation  radical  criticalpedagogy  permaculture  place  employability  pedagogy  anarchy  anarchism  education  deschooling  unschooling  lcproject  hypocrisy  organizations  capitalism  process  consensus  democracy  change  2011  thirduniversity  hierarchy  control  power  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › The Tribike
"The Tribike is an attempt to create a “hexayurt for transport” – something minimally functional that can be made with common parts. The core idea is to use a tetrahedron as the basic form – the most minimal shape for enclosing space, and one of the strongest. Steel tube would be an obvious fabrication choice. A wheel is added at each corner.

Inside of the tetrahedron, a seat is suspended. It hangs inside of the frame, rather than being directly joined to it. For strength, the seat has multi-point attachments to the corners of the frame so that it cannot rotate in space or shift forwards or backwards. However, if the frame sustains a shock, flexibility in the steel frame and in the seat cables will cushion the impact. Clearly a seatbelt is required for riding in the tribike!"
bikes  make  making  diy  tribike  vinaygupta  transportation  buckminsterfuller  construction  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › The Summary – an introduction to #TheBigDeal
"I’ve recently written four essays, The Big Deal (#thebigdeal) which combine to paint a new picture of the current state of the world and a future picture showing how grass roots political power can achieve what current models of governance, including government, cannot do alone. This work is partly a critique and expansion on the British government’s Big Society concept, but it also draws heavily on my own experience in futures, complexity science and engineering for the bottom billion. It is an attempt to model the world in a new way; a way which reveals otherwise hidden paths to achieve change."
collapse  vinaygupta  thebigdeal  change  progress  government  uk  future  democracy  2011  gamechanging  the2837university  agitpropproject  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Space Hackers are coming! - Dougald's posterous
"a new kind of spatial agent is emerging: improvisational, bottom-up, working w/ materials to hand; perhaps unqualified, or using training in unexpected ways; responding pragmatically to constrictions & precarities of post-crisis living. Btwn jugaad culture of Indian village, temporary structures built by jobless architects, pop-up shops, infrastructure-savvy squatters & open source shelter-makers, Treehouse Galleries & urban barns & Temporary Schools of Thought, just maybe something new is being born.

…the culture of the Space Hacker…new players have more in common w/ geeks, hippies & drop-out-preneurs who gave us open source & internet revolution, than w/ architects, developers or property industries…

Unlike Silicon Valley, though, these hackers have given up on goal of getting rich.…driven instead by desire to make spaces in which they want to spend time—sociable spaces of living, working & playing - as they, & the rest of us, adjust to the likelihood of getting poorer."
dougaldhine  postmaterialism  postconsumerism  spatial  spacehackers  hackers  diy  make  making  favelachic  post-crisisliving  cv  opensource  architecture  squatters  dropouts  counterculture  spacemaking  unschooling  deschooling  alternative  vinaygupta  rayoldenburg  ivanillich  schools  learning  future  sociability  thirdplaces  postindustrialism  postindustrial  capitalism  marxism  hospitals  healthcare  health  society  improvisation  popup  pop-ups  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco

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