Sensory Orders

For an exhibition called Sensory Orders at Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts, in Gdansk, 32 artists, designers and writers were asked: “What sensory conditions are you are working with under present conditions? What sensory orders do you see emerging in the social-political environment around us?” My theory of change is borrowed from Ilya Prigogene: “When […]

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Bottom-up Biodiversity

Whether connecting schools to farms in France, daylighting rivers in Mexico, or rewilding grasslands in Patagonia, we’re learning how to ‘do’ biodiversity well. Fifteen minute read. Illustration © BAFU | Pierre Dubois, collectif Marie-LouiseThis text was commissioned by the Swiss Ministry of the Environment, FOEN. It is also available online in these other languages:German Biodiversität […]

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A “Marshall Plan for tourism” – but with what aim? (20 minute talk)

EU Commissioner @ThierryBreton promises a “Marshall Plan for tourism” – but with what aim? In this talk, I propose a new storyin which the design of new urban-rural relationships creates value by leaving places healthier. Video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=bwKtab The concept of sustainable tourism was invented 45 years ago – but it was added to global mass tourism, it did not […]

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Urban-Rural: The New Geographies of Innovation

This is the text of my plenary talk at the Innovation and Emerging Industry Development (IEID) conference in Shanghai on 18 September 2019. I describe three enabling conditions for system change: a capacity for ecological thinking; a focus on social infrastructure (rather than the concrete kind); and a shift of focus from place making, to […]

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Articles in Resilience

Here is a collection of texts by John Thackara selected by Resilience magazine. How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Preface to the Chinese edition This book is not about pre-cooked solutions. It’s about building on what has already been done, in our various social and cultural histories, and on what’s being done, right now, […]

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The City as a Living System: A Design Research Agenda

This is the text of my plenary talk at the Design x Collaborative Cities conference, 28 and 29 October 2018, Shanghai. It was hosted by the College of Design and Innovation (D&I) at Tongji University, where I am a visiting professor, and DESIS Network. (Here is the 25 minute video). The industrial age distracted us […]

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From Oil Age to Soil Age: Pathways to Sustainability

On the occasion of my lecture (with the above title) at the Design Museum of Barcelona, during the Victor Papanek exhibition, I was interviewed about relational design, the potential for social and ecological transformation, and the mixed blessings of terms such as ‘future’ or ‘resilience’ Q: You define yourself as a bioregional designer. What does […]

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Civic Ecology as a Design Space

What is innovative in design today? What urgent issues is the discipline tackling? For this special feature in Domus Magazine, Valentina Croci talks with Paola Antonelli, Aric Chen and John Thackara. Paola muses on the disturbed relation between us and nature, the subject of her (then) forthcoming show at the Triennale di Milano. From his […]

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When Value Arises from Relationships, not from Things

The following texts by John Thackara were selected and republished by P2P MagazineHow To Thrive In the Next Economy: Preface to the Chinese edition (July 2019) When Value Arises From Relationships, Not From Things (interview with Valentina Croci in Domus Magazine, April 2018)Manifesto For Utopias Are Over: Cities Are Living Systems (extract from DAMN magazine, […]

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