Hybrid Communities: Etsy and the Apocalypse

I was telling a friend about my thesis direction and he made an interesting observation: post-apocalyptic scenarios make problem solving easy. This is because it creates a clear set of constraints and eliminates many of the complexities of our current way of life. Hearing this, I realized that perhaps I've been leaning too much towards Doomsday and not focusing on present-day.

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Fallout 3, a favorite video game of mine"][/caption]

My new approach is to take the principals of resilient communities, specifically the self-sustaining qualities, and augment them with the resources that global and national infrastructures offer. I'm calling this approach "Hybrid Communities". There is a clear analogy here with hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, which operates on battery power when it can, but fires up the engine when it needs to.

Some communities are leaning towards a hybrid model already, at least in production. In Brooklyn for example, I can get locally grown produce at my local CSA, buy a handmade knitted cap down the street. These are pretty standard features of resilient communities. It gets really interesting when I can build a kitchen lamp with a MakerBot at NYC Resistor, or sell that knitted cap on Etsy (also in Brooklyn). These latter examples facilitate local production by leveraging global goods and services.

What this means for my work is that I will assume existing infrastructure (power, transportation, education, communications) and use use that to leverage the effects of local efforts.

Some parting thoughts: