MAZI: Lokale Digitale Netzwerke

The Conversation published an articel on the Mazi-Project in the Nachbarschaftsakademie: How to build a more organic internet (and stand up to corporations)












Bild: Andreas Unteidig

For more information about this DIY network see below or go to

The Mazi-Project

Within the European MAZI-network, we seek to support and amplify  alternatives to  corporate, top-down implemented and centralized internet architectures. We work on the development of counter-proposals, by connecting academia with urban activism in four different pilot studies across Europe.

In Berlin, the Design Research Lab of the University of the Arts is partnering with the asoziation common grounds and the Neighborhood Academy within Prinzessinnengärten. At Berlin‘s Moritzplatz, we are testing how affordable and open hardware together with open source knowledge can act as a toolkit, enabling local communities to create their very own “internet outside the internet”, and to employ network technology beyond the prescribed application of Facebook or Google.

Why local networks?

Today, the struggles for open and democratic access is highly relevant – both for the the urban as well as the digital: we can see globally networked and yet diverse struggles towards the strengthening of digital and urban commons, which are contrasted and challenged by accelerating processes of privatization, control and profit-oriented development. Within the MAZI project in the Nachbarschaftsakademie we work on the interdependencies of the „right to the city“ and the “right to the internet” combining  DIY networking with critical urban practices

Who has access? Who designs? Who uses and who profits of collaboratively produced content?

These questions are not only equally relevant to the physical as well as the digital space, but increasingly interdependent. This is powerfully exemplified in many prevailing smart city visions, in which highly profitable dreams of streamlining, control and efficiency are being cultivated – predominantly by a handful of global enterprises.

To learn from practice, we are developing a locally constrained, community owned and maintained WIFI network with a set of custom designed applications. With this, we aim at providing a network for exchange, information and participation, and ultimately at the  amplification of Berlin‘s critical urban practice through technology.

By applying the Neighborhood Academy‘s core concept of “collective learning”, this process is decisively participatory and involves a wide range of actors and initiatives that are engaged in the struggles for the right to the city – both in spatial and in digital terms.

With this, we go beyond the mere development of technology and open up spaces for discussion. […]