In an Ecological Civilization, Place is our Professor

I gave a plenary talk (by video) to the China Eco-Civilization Research and Promotion Association (CECRPA) Conference, 17 November 2019. My focus was an ecological design training platform for designers in China. 中国生态文明研究与促进会(CECRPA)会议11月17日:约翰·萨卡拉(John Thackara)全体会议 生态创新培训 In the last 100 years, there have been three eras of design. During the Industrial Era, design was powerful driver […]

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December Newsletter

CONTENTSDates for my 2020 Meetups and Retreats | Report on our Urban-Rural exhibition in China | Next steps for the Social Food Atlas | Recent publications | Thirty-two case-study collections |Five recommended books 2020 MEETUPS/RETREATSFor a second year, I’m hosting week-long Meetups|Project Retreats| Residencies at our home in France. If you are a designer, project […]

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People Doing Stuff: Case Study Collections

Words like climate, system, or sustainability are passive. What does work – in reducing the sense of powerlessness and isolation – are examples of real people, taking practical steps, right now. With that lesson in mind, here is a list of case study collections that I’ve found useful, and often inspiring, in my own work. […]

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Urban-Rural: 10 Takeaways

The Zhangyan Harvests Future Country Living Festival in Shanghai included an exhibition called Urban-Rural. that I curated. Here are 82 slides of the event.https://www.slideshare.net/johnthackara/urbanrural-exhibition-shanghai-november-2019-john-thackara-personal-slides Below are my ten takeaways. Scroll down for Chinese. 1. We’re in a transition from the oil age to the soil age. The projects in Urban-Rural are signals of what the […]

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Press Release: Urban-Rural exhibition in Shanghai

Shanghai 28 October 2019FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEZhangyan Harvests Future Country Living FestivalJohn Thackara curates Urban-Rural exhibition Many people want to reconnect with nature and rural life – but cannot move out of the city for good. Zhangyan Harvests Festival in Shanghai, on 3 and 4 November, is filled with practical ways to reconnect the two worlds. […]

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John Thackara Newsletter October 2019

Winter Residencies Could you use some quiet and private time to focus and reflect? Maybe with some exclusive support from me? We’re hosting Residencies this winter in our old house in the south of France. Meetups in 2020 Our three meetups here in Ganges (France) this summer went so well (as you can see from […]

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Back to the Land 2.0 Reader (2019)

This reader is prepared for the annual Back To The Land 2.0 summer school in Sweden that I run together with Konstfack (Cheryl Akner-Koler) and Annika Göran-Rodell. See also a selection of my recent talks here. Annie Proulx on BarkskinsOr, how we first got the idea that the earth’s resources are limitless. Proulx’s story begins […]

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Back To The Land 2.0 – some recent talks

These videos introduce the annual Back To The Land 2.0 summer school in Sweden that I run together with Konstfack (Cheryl Akner-Koler) and Annika Göran-Rodell. See also my Back To The Land 2.0 Reading List. Xskool Talk 1: The Metabolic Rift   (20m, 2014)– the big picture: why we have a problem– industrial food vs […]

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Three texts, a book, two meet-ups, and one off-site that you might have missed


(TEXT 1) CARE, VALUE, PLACE: DESIGN RESEARCH IN CHINAIn April, I began work as an adjunct (visiting) professor at Tongji University (College of Design and Innovation) in Shanghai. As part of the appointment process, I submitted this research statement. It describes the three research topics that will be the focus of my work in China: […]

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