development & design

Welsh Chapels and Coworking

At Pontio, in North Wales, a new Masters by Research in Relational Design (#api_MRRD) helps you make a positive step-change in a live wellness project for a region. Here is a project scenario. The 6,426 chapels in Wales (like Capel Salem chapel in Pwllheli, above) were once at at the heart of community life in […]

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Beyond Adventure

At Pontio, in North Wales, a new Masters by Research in Relational Design (#api_MRRD) is designed to help you make a positive step-change in a live wellness project for a region. One project scenario could be to re-invent Outward Bound as a co-operation platform that connects citizens, sports adventure companies, and public bodies.

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Making as Reconnecting: Crafts In The Next Economy

The following is an edited version of my keynote talk, delivered by video to the Craft Reveals conference at the Chiang Mai Vocational School in December 2016. The conference was hosted (and my talk commissioned) by the British Council Thailand. Around the world, a new economy is being shaped by a “leave things better” story about […]

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A roof, a skill, a market: The multiple dimensions of scale

“Beware the scale trap”.  In a Letter To Philanthropists Parker Mitchell,  a former CEO of Engineers Without Borders in Canada, advised potential donors that “scale is important, but don’t rush it. Most good ideas take time – to iron out the details, to bring down the costs, to be tested in different environments”. Organic demand-driven scale will […]

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A beehive is not a factory: Rethinking the modular

I was invited to write the Preface to Rethinking The Modular: Adaptable Systems in Architecture and Design edited by Burkhard Meltzer and Tido von Oppeln. As the book has just been published, here follows my text: Back to the Present Trumpeted as ‘the most significant innovation in beekeeping since 1852’, the Flow Hive  was pitched […]

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Conflict and Design

An exhibition in Belgium poses a timely challenge: When confronted by such complex issues as an ageing population, resource depletion, migration, or growing impoverishment, how are we to balance the desire to do something positive, with the need to understand the back story before we intervene? The installation (shown above) consists of open books, in different […]

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Shoe City vs Sole Rebels

Two radically opposed models of development are being born in Ethiopia at the same time. One is small, local, socially fair, and ecologically respectful. The other takes the globalisation of fashion to a new and more destructive level. No sooner had I posted a long piece on Politics And The Fashion System than two stories  reached me from Ethiopia […]

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Design for Good: Eight Rules of Engagement

So you want to do good? Here’s how to avoid the sloppy assumptions that can underly ‘design for development’.

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Ecuador, Open Knowledge, and ‘Buen Vivir’: Interview With Michel Bauwens

“The global economy treats nature and material resources as if they were infinite, and knowledge as if it was scarce. We have to swap those two around”. (Michel Bauwens). Audio interview below the fold.  Having enshrined the rights of nature in its constitution (*) Ecuador is now exploring how this principle, and the principle of open knowledge, […]

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