The Fab City global initiative – conceived between Barcelona and Boston – proposes a change in the production paradigm to a new one in which atoms stop traveling thousands of kilometers to get to our hands and stomachs; on the contrary, they mostly circulate locally. In Fab Cities, bits of information travel great distances around the planet, thanks to the digital revolution in telecommunications and computation, and emerging digital manufacturing technologies. Digital fabrication will become the key to developing over the upcoming decades an urban model focused on the development of locally productive cities and bioregions that are globally connected. Local manufacturing and production could help to increase the resilience of citizens and enable them to regain the ability to meet the needs of their local communities.
To transition to a new production paradigm, design takes on a new role in the constellation of planetary crises that have been caused by our current industrial model, through which design originally became a revered discipline. Design education has been based on those colonial foundations and globalized ideals of the past. A shift is needed towards how we learn to, from and with design by imagining new processes to reconfigure the relationship between humans and the natural ecosystems around them, and methodologies and approaches rethought to learn and understand how to design from and for diverse contexts.
Using the success of the distributed learning program, Fab Academy as a basis, MDDI creates a global campus where nodes offer students access to fab lab facilities to prototype and bring ideas to life. Creating a 21st century digital education network of design, technology and bioregional principles the program blends the best of digital and physical learning environments. By offering an international accredited program, MDDI enables a global network to pursue the purpose of the Fab City global initiative to change the global production and design system through a professional formation.
MDDI is a practical program based on emergent theoretical approaches based on the experience of Fab Lab Barcelona, IAAC, the Global Fab Lab Network along with worldwide researchers and practitioners. Offering a novel learning experience, connecting faculty and students from all over the world with distributed infrastructure for digitally fabricating (almost) anything, generating a 21st-century educational platform aligned with contemporary digital-physical relationships, diversity,, globalization and localization.
Through these structures students will have the unique chance to learn online in their local cities from faculty, researchers, practitioners and students from all over the world, but at the same time to prototype and impact in their living places, by developing and implementing technology-based implementations of new technologies, design methodologies and implementation strategies.
Students will have access to digital manufacturing laboratories equipped with all the digital and analog prototyping tools and necessary infrastructure for the development of classes, assignments and projects. Also, to ensure the quality of the learning experience, compliance with the learning process and support in the development of students projects, each node will have local instructors who will be the articulators of this distributed learning network. Accompanying students in their process by providing practical and methodological support.