Metabolic Foundation uses human-centered design to create localized solutions that leverage open-source technology, the sharing economy, and waste as a resource.
The mission of Metabolic Foundation is to empower people and improve cities through the democratization of technology. The foundation is a spin-off of Metabolic Cooperative, a circular economy consultancy in Amsterdam. The not-for-profit started during the research phase for de Ceuvel, an experimental closed-loop community in Amsterdam Noord, when we came to the realization that the same technologies being developed for off-grid circular living could also benefit communities that were excluded from the grid not by choice.
Our first project, Thailab, focused on informal communities in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working on water treatment interventions along an urban waterway. Our second project was a community learning center in Jamaica where we looked at community upgrading using design thinking.
Currently based in Aruba, we now focus mainly on waste as a resource, building our community makerspace using e-waste and aluminum offcuts, and out of which we built a community recycling facility using open-source designs by Precious Plastic. We are now researching the impact of waste on Aruba using open-source environmental monitoring tools. We try to empower people to create the solutions their communities need by working with them to define issues, and leverage / hack technologies using open-source designs to be able to create localized solutions. We think the Caribbean is an urgent place to work on resiliency to climate change and opportunities to prototype solutions that can be owned and built from the ground up.