Open Sustainability

There should no longer be a reason not to build sustainably. A lack of knowledge cannot be used as an excuse anymore. The world population is growing, and will reach the amount of 9 billion by 2050. What we should do to make the world a habitable place for everyone is already clear to many of us. (Elkington 2013) However, mainly profit organizations have access to this knowledge, and make sure their greatest asset, their knowledge, is either patented or not exposed to the public. This implies great deceleration in sustainable development and it even prevents others to develop in general. By others I mean, not only other companies but also other countries. Which leads to people having to reinvent the wheel over and over again. Something, I see as a major waste of time.

What we need in this growing world of megacities with complex interconnections is an open source society in which everyone can have access to sustainable design methods if they wish. These complex cities require smart systems and for this we need scientific research. Open source allows others to use information, test and validate and improve. Values that represent the scientific system as it is. Open source allows people to become inspired by other peoples ideas and it allows people to learn from what has already been done.

In the building industry, people are often not capable of assessing e.g. the ecological footprint, the optimal construction and material depletion. At this moment, people are increasingly aware of this incapacity to share knowledge without benefiting from it. It has to do with politics, economics and cultural values. In the media, increasingly more attention is paid to the new sharing culture, and people are looking for a way to make it work. What has been most prominent in these discussions is the societal system. If we want this to work, the system needs to change. Sometimes I question myself if society is capable of doing so and if people are willing to do so. But plenty of industrties have already switched their mindset in order to contribute to the sharing economy. So everyone can maximize sustainable growth, because at this moment in time, that is the greatest challenge.



Inspiring open source websites:


Elkington, J. (2013, 25 maart 2013). "Creating new forms of value: does your business have what it takes? ." Retrieved 11 January 2015, 2015, from




Tiwanee van der Horst