Paper and Talks

A short selection of papers and talks to download

eGaia, Growing a peaceful, sustainable Earth through Communication – 2nd edition in progress

A Utopian yet practical agenda for change that harnesses the exciting potential of electronic communication to launch a new era of community regeneration.

“a manifesto for a new world order, disarmingly presented and written.”

More information, and downloads.



A short booklet describing what a sustainable future might be like in a small British market town.  A light read, with cartoons and illustrations. Easy introduction to Gary Alexander’s vision.

Download as pdf:  SusDiss2030, SusDiss2030coverand map


28 minute video.  A brief description of the ‘big picture’, of the prospects for a globally sustainable human society and some of its characteristics. (Apologies: slides slipped slightly ahead of speech when processed by YouTube. Opening slide is missing.)

Software platform for a network of connected communities


A  draft of a specification for a software platform to support a network of local communities seeking sustainability and local resilience. December 2008 Download as pdf 460KB: SoftwarePlatformSpec

More papers on coherent communities

(1979) Towards an Alternative Future: A Communication-Based Framework. An early paper written while I was Director of the Energy Research Group. It describes an idealised, communication-based framework for society and uses it to examine some of the conventional assumptions about production and exchange in modern societies. Download as pdf: altfut.

(1984) ‘Becoming Friends’ Approaching world harmony through social learning’ A paper presented to the American Society for Cybernetics conference on Autonomy, Intervention and Dependence, in November, 1984. Download reconstructed version as Word doc.BecomingFriends84

(2000) “Information Based Tools for Building Community and Sustainability” Published in Futures 32 (2000) pp. 317-337, Elsevier/Pergamon. This paper looks at the prospects for using the new information and communications technologies (ICTs) to support sustainable economic activity.

(2003) – “Envisioning Planetary Citizenship through its software support” A paper and talk for the Planetwork conference, Networking a Sustainable Future. Download a copy as a word file (820KBytes) EnvPlanCit.doc or as a pdf file (5 MBytes) EnvPlanCit.pdf

(2003) “Online Tools for a Sustainable Collaborative Economy”, a chapter in Environmental Online Communications, edited by Arno Scharl; published by Springer-Verlag London Ltd, ISBN: 1-85233-783-4. Reviews existing projects, describes a new approach: ‘community support providers’ as well as theory of a collaborative economy. Download as a pdf file:  onlinetools (276 KB).

(1992) Communications-centred Multi-media Learning Systems, From Learning Technology in the European Communities, Ed. S. Cerri and J. Whiting, pp. 79-90, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992. An early paper discussing prototype on-line learning systems and proposing a European Electronic University.

Papers on collaborative learning online

(1995) “Enhancing Quality in Distance Learning through Collaborative and Resource-based Learning”, Gary Alexander, One World Many Voices, 17th World Conference for Distance Education , ICDE, June 1995. This paper describes the design, presentation, and evaluation of an experimental, international multimedia course, XT001 Renewable Energy Technology. ICDE paper

(1997) “The Experience of the Open University: Pointers Towards a Global Network for Education and Research”, presented to Twenty-first International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences Washington, D.C., November 24-30, 1997 (Invited speaker) ICUS Paper

(1998) “Communication and collaboration on-line: New course models at the Open University”, presented at the Networked Life-long Learning Conference, Sheffield University, Sheffield, 20 – 22 April, 1998. This paper describes the background and theoretical approach informing the design of T171 You, your computer and the Net. NLL Conf. paper

(1999) “A large-scale on-line Open University course bringing computing and on-line skills to novices”, Paper presented at On-Line Educa Berlin, 5th International Conference on Technology Supported Learning, November 25-26, 1999. This paper discusses the design and development of T171 You, Your computer and the Net. On-line Educa Paper

(2000) Netiquette, or the social conventions of computer conferencing. A widely used guide to principles of good communication online, originally prepared for Open University students learning to use online discussions. Netiquette paper

(2000) Issues and innovations in very large scale on-line distance learning: A case study Published in International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 10, Nos. 1 – 4, 2000. It discusses the first presentations and evaluations of T171 You, your computer and the Net. IJCEELL paper

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