There are many initiatives to open up urban design. However, they are atomized and dispersed, therefore unable to scale-up to create more or more wide-spread public value. Open source urbanism initiatives might be more successful if they are organized on a bigger scale as a social movement. The examples of open source urban design may vary from DIY-urban infrastructure (e.g. public places, urban farms, street furniture) to IT-based solutions (sensors, apps). Interest in improvements of local community quality of life unites all these projects.
Peers are citizens interested in the democratization of urban development processes collectively creating Do-It-Yourself urban design as open source urban commons. Yochai Benkler (2003) argues that open source projects indicate the beginning of a social, technological, organizational and economic transformation of the society towards a new mode of production called commons-based peer production (CBPP). Peer production, “a process by which many individuals, whose actions are coordinated neither by managers nor by price signals in the market, contribute to a joint effort that effectively produces a unit of information or culture” (Benkler, 2003). Thus, OSU-peers are urban activists that improve their urban environments together, as urban commons.
To make collectively produced urban designs open for other peers, urban design manuals should be created. Sensors are peers who “digitalize” other peers' designs i.e. take photos and videos of project execution, collect blueprints and drawings, write instructions, and format the data in easily reproducible instructions. As a result, they produce digital urban commons – urban design manuals that can be freely used, modified, and developed anywhere by anyone. OSU-platform offers a mechanism of manuals building based on GitHub-repositories. Besides sharing, it gives wide possibilities for collaboration and modified versions creation. More details in Instruction for sensors.
Ambassadors are peers who coordinate OSU-Hubs activities i.e. organize peer meetups and lectures, keep the record of peers, projects, and resources. More details in Instruction for ambassadors