WikiHouse and the Means of Production

(This is the 9th of a series of emails about ending the right of private banks to issue money. It concerns WikiHouse and a proposal to remove the means of production from the monetary system through publicly owned Open Source technology.)

In the following video, architect Alastair Parvain envisions using WikiHouse and comparable Open Source manufacturing tools to take architecture, construction and manufacturing out of the monetary system by allowing people look to the commons to meet their basic human needs – via freely available Open Source technology.

Originally applied to free, publicly available software, the term Open Source has been expanded to include architecture, scientific research and other technical information which is made freely available in the public arena. See Open Source and Sustainability.

WikiHouse has been described as an open source construction set. The aim is to allow anyone to design, download and “print” CNC-milled houses which can be assembled by a small group of people with minimal formal skill or training. A CNC wood cutter is a CNC (computer numerical control) router that creates objects from wood along the same lines as a 3D printer.

WikiHouse has caught on in a big way in New Zealand, thanks to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake that caused over 6100 businesses that were displaced and needed to relocate quickly to survive. WikiHouse seemed an ideal solution to Martin Luff and Danny Squires, who founded New Zealand’s WikiHouse Lab

In addition to offering relatively low cost rehousing for businesses and residents, it also builds community solidarity by turning house building into a social event. Prior to the fossil fuel era, home building was a major community event in which your friends and neighbors got together to build you a house. With skyrocketing energy costs, we need to look more to community and cooperation, rather than technology, to meet our basic needs.

Parvain stresses that the world currently faces major economic, ecological and resource crises. These urgent dilemmas can’t be solved by either corporations or non-profit organizations so long as they continue to treat citizens as passive consumers.