Research Report

Open Sustainability

Supporting Local Community and Citizen Interaction for Sustainability


Håkan Gulliksson & Thomas Mejtoft
Department of Applied Physics and Electronics
Umeĺ University


Interaction and Media Technology Report Series, No. 1/2011



  • Report cover

    The objective of this research report is to analyze and illustrate how open source and the ideas behind the open source movement can be used to enhance sustainable behavior in a community through information on local, regional and global problems related to a sustainable society. The foundation lies within the fact that sustainability is crucial for survival and is a long-time process including social, economic and environmental issues. In general, many of the sustainability problems are increasingly global and intertwined, which necessitates the need for global solutions.

    The ideas behind open source software and open source as a philosophy are based on the right to redistribute, make derivate works and use different solutions for free. One fascinating thing behind open source is how it brings people together to work for a common cause without clear personal gain. This is one of the reasons why open source has been very prominent and successful in the software industry and today most software necessary for a common family or firm can be accessed for free by open source license. However, taking the incentives from open source and trying to apply to sustainability issues might be a solution for increasing the participation from the population in a local community in creating a sustainable society and living. In the long run it is an important marketing effort for both the local community and commercial firms to be part of such development and give incentives for a co-creative environment.

    This report briefly touches upon the environmental impact of energy consumption and transportation and given examples of how these sustainability issues can be addressed with different ICT solutions. In both of these areas the problem is to collect data at a detailed level and use it to provide feedback to the citizens, to the community administration and to the commercial interests involved. By exploiting the business and working models from the open source community the citizens can be engaged in improving the system while at the same time raising their knowledge level, adapting their behavior and attitude.

  • Keywords:

    open source, sustainability


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