Connecting and co-creating unexpected services

Design Academy Eindhoven - Master Social Design, 2012
in collaboration with De A.R.M. (kringloopcentrum Utrecht) and Utrecht Manifest

What can design do to trigger and support grass-roots social innovations?
After noticing the trend to try to solve what is lacking in society yourself, rather than relying on official channels such as local governments and institutions, I designed Micro Utopias, a user-driven model for a new social idyll.
It’s both a physical space and a digital platform. The idea is that members of a community can use both areas to collaborate and offer new and unexpected services, filling a local void.
Any external partner, such as a second-hand shop, school or bar can adopt the model and offer the use of materials and venues.
In this way supply meets need in a spontaneous way, encouraging the use of common goods and stimulating reciprocity as an alternative currency.
The possibilities are as limitless as the available resources. What at first may look like a random mix of materials, can create surprising results: rowing machines and slide projections of seascapes create an innovative gym experience and so on. Such a community-driven model is often the easiest, fastest and most reliable answer; A bottom-up long-term solution created by a common action.

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