development & design

On natural and man-made disasters

The spectacle of Bono and other glossy celebs singing for tsunami victims was a somewhat quease-inducing sight on the box the other night. As P Sainath points out in indiatogether,”Number of homes damaged by the tsunami in Nagapattinam: 30,300. Number of homes destroyed by the Congress-NCP Government in Mumbai: 84,000. The elite wants a society […]

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Manna-ware

So Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the Media Laboratory at MIT, is to bestow laptop computers on poor people for just $100. To the punters in Davos, where Negroponte was promoting his project, $100 probably sounded cheap: many were paying $100 an hour to be there. But in Mali, where 90 percent of the population lives […]

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Spooks: why you have to be in Delhi for Doors 8

By 2020 globalization is likely to take on much more of a non-Western face. So says the US National Intelligence Council (NIC), a think-tank that advises the CIA on the likely course of future events. A new report called The Contradictions of Globalization says that Asia will “alter the rules of the globalizing process”. The […]

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Wrongly developed design?

I’ve been asked to give a lecture on ‘design in development’ at a conference in Amsterdam on 8 March. It will be an interesting opportunity to test the waters in Europe ahead of the main event of Doors 8 itself. I’m more than a little uneasy about the word ‘development’: it implies that we advanced […]

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Design and disaster (cont.)

Many architects are eager to help with post-tsunami rebuilding in Asia, but “now’s not the time for them to switch off their computers and rush for the next flight to Indonesia or Sri Lanka. They’d have little to offer, and would be just more mouths to feed. My advice to them is to study, to […]

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Design and disaster

Our partner in the organization of Doors 8, Aditya Dev Sood, was in Phuket, by the sea, with 15 members of his family, on a post-wedding vacation, when the tsunami struck. Thankfully Aditya and his family, at least, are safe. So, too, so far as we’ve heard, are other friends of Doors in places hit […]

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From new economy to anti-economy

“In our economy, everything has a price – but nothing, it seems, has a value. We find it hard to really tell whether the things we value are growing or dying”. So begins an excellent interview by Joe Flower with “anti-economist” Hazel Henderson. The yardsticks we have chosen to measure our “progress” are economic ones: […]

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Emergent Economics

I’m delighted to report that Margrit Kennedy, a world authority on complementary currencies, has agreed to join us at Doors 8 in New Delhi. www.margritkennedy.de Non-cash economic systems are, for me, where a genuinely new economy is being born. And where so-called emerging economies are in many respects ahead of “developed” ones. (Barter dates back […]

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Bangalore diary

Writing from India, where he encounters designers, digerati and Bollywood producers who want to put him in a movie, John Thackara considers the potentially thrilling future of IT in the subcontinent. To Bangalore, India’s IT city, to speak at the first India Design Summit. The event is organized jointly by the National Institute of Design […]

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