In place of a “less bad” economy

“A thief who tells a judge he is stealing less than before will receive no leniency. So why do companies get environmental awards for polluting less – even though they are still polluting?”. Gunther Pauli is scornful in his new book The Blue Economy of the “do less bad” school of environmentalism. “It’s an approach […]

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Design, regions, and the two economies

The stated ambition of Cornwall, in the the far south west of England, is to become a “green peninsular”. It’s an evocative concept, but people there interpret the word “green” in different ways. For example, although Cornwall aspires to become a “knowledge economy” it is more of a tourism economy at the moment: Many of […]

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Eating animals

If Requiem for a Species (below) is shocking at an existential level, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals hits you at the level of lunch. It’s no less gruelling for that. Among the in-your-face statements that pepper the text: “When we eat factory farmed meat we live literally on tortured meat..and put it into the mouths […]

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Requiem for a species

“It’s too late to avert catastrophic change. Our politics and institutions are too dysfunctional to make elegant adaptations. We’d better prepare ourselves for surviving as best we can”. Clive Hamilton’s new book Requiem for a Species is not for the faint-hearted. But my first reaction was to think: “So? what am I supposed to do […]

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What Does Social Innovation Actually Mean?

The organiser of a conference in Poland asked me write an introduction to the programme: what is social innvation, and why does it matter?

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Polish Art in Beirut

An underground exhibition of Polish art in Beirut looks like a specialised event, even for me – only it features the work of the Polish photographer Nicolas Grospierre which makes it definitely worth a visit. Grospierre’s modified architectural photographs were a highlight for me of the last Venice Architecture Biennale: a persuasive portrayal of what […]

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Balanced budgets?

A few weeks back I was talking to Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, a partner in the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, when we were drowned out by the roar of a Eurofighter passing overhead. “One of those costs the same as a medium-sized opera house”, Kjetl observed drily. Kjetl should know: he designed this medium-sized opera house […]

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Electrosmog Festival

Preparations for the ElectroSmog International Festival for Sustainable Immobility are gathering pace. An Electrosmog blog has been launched, and Doors of Perception has agreed to co-host a session on Friday 19 at deBalie, in the afternoon. Our focus will be on the practical design steps to be taken now. ICT developers have been working on […]

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True Cost Design – In Three Steps

The text of my talk at the ‘Lens’ conference in Bangalore in 2010.

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