Open Source Ecology and the Re-Maker Society

Opportunities for UW Makers, Designers, Artists and Engineers

Welcome to UW’s Open Source Ecology project (OSE@UW). Following Marcin Jakubowski’s successful WICI talk in May 2014, OSE@Waterloo has developed a portal to coordinate internship opportunities, open hardware design competitions and Coop placements associated with the Open Source Ecology project in Missouri.


Echoing the University’s renewed commitment to experiential education, OSE@Waterloo is looking to create collaborative making, designing and fabricating opportunities for students from across the University. More specifically, OSE@Waterloo has emerged from a growing commitment within the Department of Environment and Resource Studies (ERS) to innovative courses designed around project-based, kinaesthetic and experiential learning (see the ERS Experiential Learning Group). At the same time the project draws on the enthusiasm and expertise of a diverse team of faculty members drawn from ERS, Knowledge Integration, Engineering and English (not least the Critical Media Lab).

Research on Open Source Fabrication and the reMaker Society

OSE@Waterloo is also part of a wider research project on the problem of economic growth. Humanity is caught in a growth trap. Ending poverty, enhancing and expanding the culture of liberal democracy, sustaining the amazing pace of scientific discovery and technical innovation – all of these cherished goals depend upon continuing economic growth. But growth – i.e. the escalating throughput of energy and materials flowing through human systems – is necessarily achieved at the expense of natural ecological systems and the consumption of finite resources. And although mainstream economics presumes a never-ending cycle of expansion, there are clearly material and ecological limits to growth: nothing can expand indefinitely (at least not without breaking the laws of physics). Every schoolchild knows that rampant consumerism is devastating planetary ecology. But impending resource constraints are likely also to place an unbearable strain on the social and political institutions of liberal societies, and to create geopolitical disorder on an unimaginable scale. Our room for manoeuvre is thus circumscribed – by the maximum scale of economy compatible with the ecological integrity of the biosphere and the minimum scale required in order to sustain a globally-connected, technologically progressive, science-based, liberal-cosmopolitan society. What seems certain is that this leaves no room for rampant consumer capitalism.

Please join us in creating new opportunities for teaching, learning and researching open source hardware, community-based fabrication and a political economy for the post-consumer society.

Contributing to the work of both the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) and the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), the Metcalf Foundation funded project on the reMaker Society explores the possible relevance of community-based fabrication to a post-consumer society. Our idea is that the habit of actually making things may challenge logic of passive consumption whilst engendering a new kind of community-based economy. Although there is a compelling case for low/no growth economics (e.g. Jackson 2009; Victor 2008), this vision has not been demonstrated ‘on the ground’. The convergence of (i) new communication and organizational [open source, P2P] technologies associated with the Internet, with (ii) emerging micro fabrication technologies (e.g. 3d printing) is creating as yet untapped possibilities for small-scale, community-based economy which combines artisanal craftsmanship with both technical innovation and a much more integrated recycling, reuse and repair of material objects. This project tests the capacity of community-based hacking spaces and Maker projects to engage ordinary people, unpick the psycho-cultural attractions of consumerism, change behaviour and transform local economies.

Stephen QuilleyProject Leader:  Dr Stephen Quilley, Associate Professor, Environment and Resource Studies, Director of Development, Waterloo Institute of Complexity and Innovation and interim Co-Director, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience.

Katie KishProject support: Katie Kish, PhD Candidate, Environment and Resource Studies.

Paul FieguthProject affiliates: Visit our affiliates page to see a full list of our associated faculty, staff and students.

Upcoming Events

In our most recent workshop we built 3 power cubes!


One week left to sign up for the 3D Printer Construction Set Workshop. Register today - ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

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FOR EARTH DAY picked by Scientists for March on Washington D.C. Click through it if you wish, but you'll only 'get it' if you take the 6 1/2 minute immersive vision of the strongest angels of our nature prevailing. I’m selling nothing, this is a Creative Commons license - so share the video if it moves you. NEXT music video will be about 'witch hunting' posting at Summer Solstice. ... See MoreSee Less

For EARTH DAY - Scientists March on Washington D.C. I made this 'prophecy' because in a few decades all our social contentions and aspirations will inevitably be forced into the contextual repercussions of climate change. Competitive technology led to it, and cooperative technology will be the solution. The segue to that true new age will have horrific episodes - some affecting millions at a time. That said, apocalyptic dystopian views are escapist. Instead we must complete the reality of two plus centuries of industrialism and the advent of techno suburbia. Physically, mentally, chemically, psychically, 'spiritually' we are in a chaos of this ravaging juggernaut that will be judged by the harsh mistress Nature we are invoking thereby. This is an ongoing project of social commentary on multiple subjects via music videos - not a band - with future works already in preproduction involving a variety of non-family musicians. Players for this song, in order of appearance: William Taylor, Viola Cindy Gordon, Piano, Vocals Joshua Gordon, Guitar, concluding Piano Ian Gordon, Percussion Seth Gordon, Bass I produced everything in my studio-Within, except: Josh Holland of Green Light Studios, vocal preproduction And (with the grandest of THANKS) Eric Olson of Glisten Masterhouse. Children of The Third Millennium Handpicked...The best of the educated kind Sure in themselves......They have the better design Galleons with solar sails striding our Star’s wind Colonists to New Worlds.....Children of The Third Millennium Veiled in technical prowess sins can hide - Within great knowledge and disciplined pride (Guitars) Promised Lands yet to claim - The future stage in mankind’s game On these virgin soils, They travel to tame Words, Joshua Gordon, September 1985; Final Verse, Cindy Gordon, November 14, 2014; Music Scored August 6, 1986. Copyright © Joshua D Gordon 2017 I happily provide a Creative Commons NonCommercial 4.0 International LICENSE for all NonCommercial ventures. *Share, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. *You may remix, transform, build upon the material, use sections, or sample. Just give Attribution: Video and song ©Joshua D Gordon 2017 a non-commercial venture not for sale. Imagery and sound not created is from digitized public domain images, historical broadcasts, interstellar sounds courtesy of NASA, JPL, the New York Public Library, Google Images licensed for non commercial use, and artist who graciously allows not-for-sale use of his futurist space travel art. The licensor can revoke these freedoms for violation of any of the above. Category Nonprofits & Activism License Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

1 week ago

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Low cost Open Source Magnetic Resoncance Imaging is moving forward and OSE is collaborating. See the explainer video for how this can be a breakthrough in affordable health care for everyone. ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

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