The MAZI grant application for the EU Horizon2020 CAPS framework was successful and our project started officially on January 1st, 2016.

Until we launch the official web page of MAZI, you can follow our activities on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

You can also subscribe to the Mazi Project mailing list, if you wish to be kept informed of our news and events.

What does MAZI stand for?
MAZI means “together” in Greek and the goal of MAZI is to provide technology and knowledge in order to
  • empower those who are in physical proximity, to shape their hybrid urban space, together, according to the specificities of the respective local environment
  • generate location-based collective awareness as a basis for fostering social cohesion, conviviality, participation in decision-making processes, self-organization, knowledge sharing, and sustainable living
  • facilitate interdisciplinary interactions around the design of hybrid space and the role of ICTs in society.

What is new about MAZI?
MAZI wishes to invest in an alternative technology, what we call Do-It-Yourself networking, a combination of wireless technology, low-cost hardware, and free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) applications, for building local networks, mostly known today as community wireless networks. By making this technology better understood, easily deployed, and configured based on a rich set of customization options and interdisciplinary knowledge, compiled as a toolkit, MAZI will empower citizens to build their own local networks for facilitating hybrid, virtual and physical, interactions, in ways that are respectful to their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and self-determination.

Moreover, unlike other technology-oriented approaches, MAZI takes the perspective of existing grassroots initiatives, whose goals are social and political in nature, and explores ways that DIY networking technologies can help pursue them, as a means and not as an end.

For this, it follows a transdisciplinary methodology that aims to bring together different aspects of design (engineering, human-computer interaction, interation design, design research, and urban design) around the development of a DIY networking toolkit as the "boundary object", and four concrete pilot studies: Berlin's urban garden prinzessinnengarten and neighbourhood academy, Deptford's network of local communities, organizations and activists in London, Zurich's cooperative housing and living projects Kraftwerk1 and NeNa1, and the nomadic group unMonastery.

How does the MAZI project plan to achieve its objectives?
MAZI will take into account different perspectives namely technological, scientific, political and social, and build a toolkit, which will include:
  • Installation scripts and hardware options for covering a target area with a DIY network.
  • FLOSS web applications adapted to address the needs of location-based exchanges and interactions and to be easily customized according to the context.
  • Ideas and blueprints of the design of physical artefacts that could complement the deployed network.
  • A rich set of guidelines for the customization of the functionality offered by the different toolkit offerings.
MAZI calls a concrete instantiation of the toolkit, the deployed network infrastructure with a selected set of services and application the MAZI zone (from which comes the name of this web site).

Why Do-It-Yourself Networking?
DIY infrastructures offer a rich set of special characteristics and affordances for offering local services, made available outside the public Internet:
  • the ownership and control of the infrastructure and the whole design process;
  • the de facto physical proximity of those connected (meaning that all users are physically present within the reach of the WIFI signal) without the need for disclosing private location information, such as GPS coordinates, to third parties;
  • the easy and inclusive access through the use of a local captive portal launched automatically when one joins the network;
  • the independence from network providers and big tech companies;
  • the opportunity to interact privately within a local network, and the option of anonymity;
  • the materiality of the network itself;
  • a new mode of communication that can attract curiosity and interest.
There are many potential benefits by taking advantage of these affordances during the design process, such as
  • The design for intimate communication, yet without commitments, between those in physical proximity, and collective action by building the community network
  • The empowerment of citizens to claim their right to the hybrid city, including access, participation, representation, and ownership
  • The availability of complementary infrastructures in case of disasters that offer resiliency.

Who is involved?
The MAZI project has been bootstrapped by the NITlab at the Univeristy of Thessaly, the Zurich-based non-profit organization NetHood, the Edinburgh Napier University, the Design Research Lab at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Open University, the INURA Zurich Institute, SPC in London, Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, and the nomadic group unMonastery.

But there are many related networks of researchers, practitioners, and activists with whom we wish to engage in further collaborations around the ideas developed by MAZI. More specifically:

The DIY Networking community was initiated during a successful Dagstuhl seminar in January 2014, which brought together a balanced group of researchers from the fields of networking, media studies, human-computer interaction, urban and community informatics, and also artists and activists. One of the seminar outcomes is a series of interdisciplinary workshops building on the collaborations initiated during the seminar, to be hosted in conferences of different fields; the first one of this series of workshops on DIY networking takes place in May 2015 in Florence (co-located with the high profile engineering conference ACM Mobisys):

The Alternative Internets community, which gathered for the first time at the London School of Economics. The focus of this interdisciplinary group is less in the process of design, and more on the political and legal aspects. Interactions in this workshop resulted in a blog series on different perspectives hosted by the LSE Media Policy Blog and a special issue on Alternative Internets at the Journal of Peer Production:

The offline networks community, which started as an email list with members mostly artists, hackers, and political activists interested on the role of wireless networks as enablers of private communications outside the commercial Internet against surveillance, manipulation and censorship. This community’s first collective public appearance at the Transmediale Festival in Berlin for the panel offline networks unite with participants like Aram Bartholl (deadrops), Mathias Jud (, David Darts and Matthias Strubel (, Jeff Andreoni and James Lewis (unMonastery), James Stevens (SPC), Panayotis Antoniadis and Ileana Apostol (NetHood), Andreas Unteidig (UdK), and more.

What is going on right now?
If you are interested in the MAZI project here is a list of upcoming events where people involved will be present, and related discussions and workshops will take place:

Off-the-cloud zone, Transmediale, Berlin, February 6th, 2016.

Sarantaporo symposium, Sarantaporo area, January 15-17th, 2016.

Athens Wireless Summit, Athens, September 27-28th, 2015.

Hybrid city conference, Athens, September 15-19th, 2015.

CAPS conference, Brussels, July 7-8th 2015.

Hybrid Meeting Point, Jerusalem, June 2015.

Engaging citizens in the smart city project through DIY networking, Roundtable, International Conference on Internet Science, Brussels, May 27th.

First Interdisciplinary Workshop on DIY networking, Florence, May 18th, 2015.

CommonsFest festival, Athens, May 15-17th 2015.