Build your own open source cargo bike (or buy it from XYZ Cycle)
April says cargo bikes are better than cars but they are expensive. Over at Low Tech Magazine, Kris de Decker shows an alternative built out of open source technology, the XYZ Nodule designed by N55. You could build this bike yourself; it is all creative commons licenced. The system is so simple that you don't need complicated or expensive tools; really, not much more than a drill and a hand saw.
Like all modular systems, XYZ nodes enable people to build things based on the principle of a few different parts repeatedly used to create an overall structure, similar to construction sets like Lego, Meccano and Erector. Because of the open and modular design, the XYZ Cargo Cycles are easy to customize and to rebuild. For example, a cover or a body to improve wind resistance and protect from the weather can be applied -- turning the cargo cycle into a velomobile.
There are a lot of options here; you can buy a fully assembled bike for 1350 Euros, or can attend workshops to learn how to build the bike, or just do it on your own, although plans are not provided and that might be a challenge. Kris notes the main virtues of the system:
XYZ Cargo brings together two technologies that have been praised at Low-tech Magazine: open modular hardware and cargo cycles. Modular consumer products, whose parts and components could be re-used for the design of other products, would bring important benefits in terms of sustainability, while they would also save consumers money, speed up innovation, and take manufacturing out of the hands of multinationals.
The open modular construction is probably the most interesting thing about this bike; it is a philosophy of building for the collaborative economy. Kris explains it in detail here.