PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (10): 1490-1500.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.10.005

• Special Issue | Theoretical Study • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Prosumer in globalization: A systematic review on the sustainability of distributed production system

TONG Xin1,CAI Yifan2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Department of Geography, Clarke University, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA
  • Received:2019-05-24 Revised:2019-07-23 Online:2019-10-28 Published:2019-11-01
  • Supported by:
    Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China(No. 41731278);China Ministry of Education's Key Project for Philosophy and Social Science(No. 18JZD029)


With globalization, increasing specialization and spatial division of labor created longer distance between production and consumption. Consumerism became the driving force for the growth of production, and hindered the sustainability transition of local production system. Recent technological advances in 3D printing, intelligent micro grid, renewable energy, and so on have been expected to improve the possibility for a more distributed organization of production, which involves dispersed individual decision makers who are both producers and consumers in the production system. A systematic literature review was conducted on recent research on the sustainability of the distributed production system. With a focus on the relation between consumption and production, selected articles addressing the role of prosumers in the distributed production system from three leading academic journals on this topic were studied. Four interrelated dimensions were identified, including geographical implications, technology transition, market/collaboration mechanism, and sustainability. In conclusion, the sustainability performance of the distributed production system will be highly dependent on the interactions between the other three dimensions. Especially, a more close relation between consumption and production at the local level in the distributed production system can hardly be isolated from the global system. We call for more empirical studies on the restructuring of global-local relations within such sustainability transition.

Key words: prosumer, prosumption, energy transition, globalization, localization, distributed production system