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!


Hello I am from Argentina . I want to congratulate you on everything you do together to achieve a more self-sustaining world and people as well.
I saw a BAKERY OVEN, but I could not find how to build it. I would like to know if you have the plans available.
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19 hours ago

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Brick Press replication in France - interesting vernacular use case.

"Hi Marcin and OSE Team!

My name is Aurelien and I write you from South of France, in the countryside, close to a small village named Pailhès.
We have build a Liberator CEB press V4 and of course it works!
I want to build a house for my family with a post and beam structure and fill the walls with Compressed Earth Blocks.
To test the machine, we have produced 300 Blocks to build a test-wall in a wooden house in order to accumulate heat from a stove.
At this event, a journalist wrote an article in a national magazine named "La Maison Ecologique" (see attached file!)

In the place where we live, the ground contains a lot of clay, and old houses have big adobes walls... but today we have completely lost this expertise.
I'm self employed and I work in team of 7 carpenters to restore or build houses. In the future, I imagine using the Press to integrate CEB walls in our projects... but the road is still long!

The construction of the machine is not completed :I have to install automatisation and to build a hopper (I'm interrested in the mixer module)
On this machine I choosed to use Teflon bearings to guide the drawer like in the latests versions.

Thank you to share all this open source datas about machines building, in the future I would be glad to add my experience feedback to the CEB Press Project.

Best regards,
Aurélien BIELSA"
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2 days ago

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