Why is our taxonomy needs based?

Hi, this is my first try: please help improving the text

  • are the basic arguments correct?
  • are they understandable for everybody
    Please provide better examples to illustrate the ideas.

I will take care of further editing of this post
Thank you.

updated version: June 29

Anybody who has tried to discuss categories for a taxonomy knows that it is hard, if not impossible to match values and to build consensus around the understanding/meaning of terms.
Moreover, meanings are different in different languages and cultures.
However, everybody, wherever in the world experiences hunger and thirst, needs
clothes and shelter, social relationships and education. Everybody has
needs. The way they are satisfied varies, but the needs themselves are somewhat universal. Everybody needs to eat and drink. Everybody needs to participate in social and cultural life to thrive as a human being.
Our core-belief is, that a framework for building a new economy and a free, fair and sustainable society will be based on people and their needs and not on “the market” and how to make profit.
Finally, other taxonomies can be easily connected to this needs-based taxonomy, as the respective concepts are not in conflict with each other.
To put an example:
A taxonomy contains the category “hackerspace.” You wish to use it and wonder how it connects to the TransforMap taxonomy.
-> You simply wonder: What does a hackerspace provide? What kind of need does a hackerspace meet? -> You will find in our taxonomy: “object of utilities” ; “learning opportunities” and “community” -> Choose them and add them to your existing map.

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People’s basic needs

@TDoennebrink - no, Thomas, it’s not only about basic needs, we have included several levels of needs (according to several scientific approaches to the needs concept)

@silke I would actually ask for moving from calling it “TransforMap Taxonomy” to “Transformap Meta-Taxonomy”.

Reasons are,

  • that, as we found out, there is more toxonomic work to be done than this Taxonomy, that is there to enable unifying the myrad of different taxonomies that are out there and to be developed.

  • to give clarity, that it is not that “one and only” taxonomy, that TransforMap is about, but the meta taxonomy, that should help to unify the different taxonomies and understandings of the various communities, that TransforMap wants to cooperate with and works for to empower and enable for contributing to a sustainability and commons transition.

  • to get clarity for ourselves, that the Taxonomy work in TransforMap gets more differentiated into

  • work on the Meta-Taxonomy, eg.:
    which presets fit to which of the meta-tags;
    refining the Meta-Tags, getting clarity on identities, networks and ascriptions.

  • work to enable communities to get clarity on their own sensemaking taxonomies on their topics.
    first enable to understand their own taxonomies;
    then find other communities, that work on similar topics to find communalities, and tags, that make sense for both of them (or even more groups on the same topics);
    then, after this 2 steps, work with them to integrate them in the Meta-Taxonomy, once they got an understanding of their own interests, descriptions, and languages to describe their realities.

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I propose to join all in a group for “Taxonomy, Semantics and Identity” (meta- tells me little)

Thanx for the suggestion: I will try to work a bit on the concrete formulation of the explanation and then decide about the correct “title” and place where to put it, ok?

Let me start addressing your first two arguments:
I don’t think that this taxonomy is thought/ has ever been thought as “unifying the myrad of different taxonomies”; that is: it has never been considered - at least not to my knowledge - as the “one and only” taxonomy;
but rather, as is clearly stated in the description as: a taxonomy that “can be easily connected with this needs-based taxonomy”.
It is just one taxonomy that is based an a clear framework (needs) other taxonomies are not based on. Therefore; it is not META, if at all it would be underlying other taxonomies.

For instance: Take a taxonomy which contains the category “capital”:
-> no “needs” frameworks contains “money”, as needs are different than "wants"

So, we would ask: What do you need the money for? Which kind of need does it fullfill -> and you connect it.
So, it’s not META, it’s different and an easy “add-on” so to say.

Here is an idea: Why not inviting at the Solikon to an “intertwining taxonomies” session, because in fact, it doesn’t seem so difficult to me to “connect” taxonomies, because they don’t need to match.
So, we could invite maintainers from the many maps out there to talk about this topic based on 2-3 cases (like the Green-Map - TransforMap match);
I also can provide this as a subworkshop during our TransforMap workshop at solikon. @alabaeye @DavidW

very much like the idea. Think in the 3 hours we have for the workshop, that is a very good topic for one group. Would suggest to do a format as we did at Degrowth as well as we did at Ouishare Fest. Introductive presentation and afterwards small working groups with specific topics to dig in.
That would be an excellent topic.

And after the topic sessions, different than from Leipzig and Ouishare Fest, we can do a profound converge (therefor the 3 hours is great), to generate next steps with the broader community.

I would also like to invite to the interoperability network topic, as I think that is one of the aims of transforMap. @toka would you agree with me on that?

ich melde mal schnell einen Workshop bei Solikon an, nur um einen slot freizuhalten… konzeptionelles können wir später machen. Für mich ist das immer etwas schwierig, weil ich bei Solikon ähnlich wie bei der Degrowth auf so vielen Hochzeiten tanze, aber ich versuch’s. Ok?

Hallo Silke,
Ich habe mir nochmal diesen Text angeschaut, und da will ich doch noch etwas kommentieren zu dem Satz:

Das kann, meine ich, zu Missverständnissen führen - in dem Sinne, dass die Bedeutung so gelesen wird, dass alle Menschen unabhängig von ihrer Kultur die gleichen Bedürfnisse haben. Ich glaube, darum geht es hier auch gar nicht. Es geht darum, dass jede Initiative bezweckt, bestimmte Bedürfnisse anzusprechen - und darin besteht ihr Grund zur Existenz.

Also vielleicht etwa so wie folgt:

However, all initiatives for change try to fulfill some set of human needs as a core aspect of their mission. The ways that they try to satisfy those needs vary, but the needs themselves are somewhat universal.

Dann weiter wie schon geschrieben.

das scheint mir doch schwer aus dem Satz herauszulesen. Eigentlich soll er nur sagen, dass alle Menschen BedĂĽrfnisse haben bzw. Dinge/Beziehungen usw. zum Leben brauchen. Und das scheint mir unbestritten.
Und es geht hier nicht um das, was die Initiativen bezwecken, insofern wäre es falsch, das aus der “Angebotssicht” heraus umzuschreiben.

@Wolfgang ich habe nochmal drüber nachgedacht. Vielleicht sollte man einfach schreiben: “Everybody, wherever in the world is hungry and thirsty, needs cloth and shelter, social relationships and education. Everybody has needs.”

Hallo Silke,
Ja, das finde ich eine gute Lösung. Hier noch Vorschläge am Text zu feilen:

Schöne Grüße,

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As promissed I registered a Workshop at SoliKon, here is some text I provided to the organizers; I need to make sure it doesn’t overlap with the workshop @alabeye registered; I guess @ateuchert can help us doing so.

gesendet am Montag, 29. Juni 2015 - 11:13

Das Solikon2015 Orga-Team

eingereichter Workshop:

Name: Helfrich
Vorname: Silke

Titel des Workshops: Mappers for Transition -> Converging Taxonomies


  • Internationale Zusammenarbeit
  • Kartierung/ Mapping (dh. tools and infrastructures for change)

Stichpunkte: Kartierung/ Mapping ; taxonomies

Inhalt des Workshops:
There is a myriad of mapping projects for social change out there. However, it is an enormous challenge to connect them.
A new effort, focussed on the transition towards a free, fair and sustainable future started in early 2015. It’s called TransforMap, see http://transformap.co/)

As opposed to other taxonmies, the taxonomy developed by the TransforMappers is needs based. Why is this important? First of all, because we think that a new economy needs to be focussed on people’s needs and not on profit maximization. Second: Whoever has tried to discuss categories for a taxonomy knows that it is hard, if not impossible to match values and to build consensus around the meaning of terms.Moreover, meanings are different in different languages and cultures.

But, everybody, wherever in the world experiences hunger and thirst, needs clothes and shelter, social relationships and education. Everybody has needs. The way they are satisfied varies, but the needs themselves are somewhat universal.

That is the reason why the TransforMap taxonomy can be easily connected to taxonomies of other mapping projects. In the workshop, we will show how.
So, let’s match the different approaches and benefit from each other.

Zielgruppe: Expert*innen


  • Input mit Diskussion
  • Praktische Umsetzung
  • Skill training


  • Beamer
  • Notebook (comp.)
  • WLAN-Verbindung

There are Plenty of Alternatives. TransforMap makes them visible.
TransforMap works towards an online-platform for you to visualize the myriads of alternatives to the dominant economic thinking on a single mapping system.

It will give everybody the opportunity to map all the initiatives, communities, projects, worker-owned, self-managed, democratically organised companies and other institutions dedicated to meeting people’s needs, serving the common good and/or contributing to a sustainable way of life.

TransforMap will/can show all the places, spaces and networks that work on fostering cooperation and deepening human relationships through (co-)producing, exchanging, contributing, gifting and sharing, for a free, fair and sustainable world.

TransforMap invites all existing mapping initiatives to cooperate and co-create maps based on an open pool of data, a common taxonomy, free software and standardised APIs1. It will be/is published under an Open Data License.

Our world is transforming. There are old and new alternatives all over the planet. TransforMap will show you how to get there.

weitere Referent*innen:
transforMappers from Germany, Austria, France and elsewhere

@ateuchert @Silke
please notify me on the deveopment concerning the workshop, especially the web announcement, so we can start inviting people before end of summer.

@ateuchert good work for the preparation final stage and aswell enjoy the summer best possible

monday we are starting the selection and get back to you as soon as possible
all the best