An introduction to our platforms and how to use them

Welcome to the Ecological Design Collective, a community for radical ecological imagination and collaborative practice. With roots in Baltimore and working relationships around the world, we are building a place for researchers, designers, activists, artists and others to come together to conceive and develop alternative ecological futures. Here’s a quick run-down on how to participate in this community.

Our platforms are built with open-source tools instead of proprietary technologies. Your Single Sign On login account will give you access to all of them. If you haven’t done this already, please take a moment to create a profile in our Member Directory. This is also a place to find other like-minded people, as our community grows.

The Commons is a chat messaging space, a social media alternative. Drop in here for informal exchanges about ecology and design, to announce or learn about events, ask questions and seek advice, network with others or just express a mood. Follow what’s happening in existing channels, or create your own and invite others to join in. The Commons also supports direct messaging with other members.

The Forum is a space for intellectual exchange, for dialogue of a more organized kind than ephemeral chat. There’s room here to share texts, media, and projects that you find appealing and important, to build a collaborative archive of relevant work in design theory and technique, ecological philosophy, environmental art and culture, and to discuss and debate what you encounter.

Tune in to regular Happenings: monthly seminars, workshops, and other occasions to convene online, perhaps eventually in person. There’s also room here to post openings for projects, jobs, and other timely opportunities. We rely on an open-source alternative to Zoom, called BigBlueButton. Taking place on the first Thursday of each month, our 2021 seminar series focuses on the theme of Race, Ecology, and Design.

Our platforms are designed to facilitate collaboration. Use our Gallery to showcase your own work, and emerging collaborative projects. The Member Directory will let you find others with relevant interests. Take advantage of the Commons to work together on a theme or project, creating whatever “channel” you might need. We also have a cloud-based file-sharing and collaborative document system using Nextcloud and OnlyOffice; to request free access, reach out via

Our web interface is designed for browser-based access. But it’s mainly built on two open-source communication platforms that you can also download and access as independent apps for both desktop and mobile devices: Mattermost here (for the Commons) and Discourse here for Apple or Android (for the Forum).

The collective is curated by a small crew of us based in the city of Baltimore. Check out the Studio space for a sense of what we’re beginning to work on here. And you can look to our Vision for more on the principles and commitments that guide this endeavor, including the expectations for participation and conduct we ask everyone to follow. Please reach out via with any ideas or questions.

Welcome! We’re grateful to have you with us on this adventure.