City Eco Lab: de-motorisation at different scales

A key principle of City Eco Lab was to focus on live projects and enterprises rather than on good ideas in abstract. The city’s dynamic new courier company, Les Coursiers Verts (The Green Courier Company), took us at our word and relocated their office to the City Eco Lab site for the duration of the […]

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City Eco Lab: “hybrid reality story scripts” about creative communities

Traditionally, the regeneration of a city has focused on its built fabric; architects and designers propose ways to upgrade or replace the old streets like the one above in St Etienne. In City Eco Lab, the focus was less on buildings, than on activities that would represent more sustainable ways of organising daily life. The […]

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City Eco Lab: neighbourhood energy dashboard

In the central space of City Eco Lab, a variety of live projects were on show that dealt with energy, water and mobility. Two key questions emerged: What variables make a neighbourhood sustainable, or not? And how do you measure them? Magalie Restalo, a designer from St Etienne, presented the prototype of an energy and […]

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City Eco Lab: soft tools for sharing

The “Soft” department (above) within the City Eco Lab’s Cabane a Outils (Tool Shed) presented a variety of soft tools such as software platforms, new economic models, and design research networks. The aim was to make visitors aware of the existence of such ‘soft’ tools and present a selection so that they would not be […]

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City Eco Lab: open source hardware

Many of the goods and services we take for granted in our daily lives depend on global flows and networks that seem to be unraveling in today’s converging crises. Are doomed to return to a pre-industrial, pre-technological age? If Jean-Noël Montagné (above, left – with Juha Huuskonen on the right) is around, tools and technologies […]

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City Eco Lab: Map Room

The focus of City Eco Lab was on live projects from the city-region – but we wanted to place these in the context of the bigger picture. We therefore invited The Why Factory, from TU Delft in the Netherlands, to present their “Green Dreams” maps in our Salle des Cartes (Maps Room). The project was […]

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City Eco Lab: dry loo solutions

Many people ask, “What has design got to do with sustainable development?”. Well, take toilets. In the South, 40% of the global population lives without toilets. In most places, scarcity of water renders sewer systems impossible, while ad hoc human waste disposal spreads waterborne illnesses that prey upon millions, and cripple developing economies. In the […]

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City Eco Lab book list

IN THE BUBBLE: Le design pour un monde complexe John Thackara, Revue Azimut, 2008. It’s available from 12 December – perfect timing as a gift for all your francophone friends this holiday season…. THE LONG DESCENT John Michael Greer HUNGRY CITY Caroline Steele. PERMACULTURE: PRINCIPLES AND PATHWAYS BEYOND SUSTAINABILITY David Holmgren. Holmgren Design […]

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City Eco Lab: thing-design to-do list

City Eco Lab asked: What would life in a sustainable St Etienne be like? and, in which ways can design help us get from here, to there? The discovery, mapping and documentation of a territory’s natural, cultural, human resources is a key element in building resilience. Designers and artists can be especially good at spotting […]

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