If you've been following my writing on rhizome, the problem of growth, and the hamlet economy, or if you've been reading John Robb's posts on the "Resilient Community," then you'll also be interested in the work being done on an open-source toolkit for the sustainable village of the future at Open Source Ecology.
There, Marcin Jakubowski, a person I met through the excellent P2P Foundation, is blazing ahead with a very real, implementable "Global Construction Set" of open-source tools, platforms, and knowledge sets to empower a future of sustainable, vernacular, and decentralized food production, energy generation, architecture, and social structures. Here's an visual overview:
One of my favorite parts of their plan is their work on an open source compressed earth block machine. This is something that is truly decentralized and vernacular-tech, but that can have a revolutionary effect on the architecture and energy demands of both the rural poor in the third world and the adventurous rich in American and elsewhere. Importantly, Open Source Ecology is not just a theory shop--they already have put much of this into practice in the real world, such as building a compressed earth block press, a hexayurt, and they're working on an open source solar turbine.
Right now what they need are both online and real-world volunteers and financial support. If you have money to contribute, this seems like a very worthy project (here's their donation page). If not, as long as you're interested in the topic you'll notice that their entire site is a wiki--contribute information, start new projects, etc. If, like me, you'd rather help design a annualized solar heating system than an open source tractor, Open Source Ecology has built an amazing platform to do just that...