food systems & design

Doors 9: design and architecture schools

If you are a design or architecture student, or recently so, we have teamed up with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Designs of the time (Dott07) to offer travel-included scholarships to Doors 9 for the winners of this year’s RSA Design Directions competition. The two themes we have set are on Food Info […]

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Rural design

What are the key design tasks facing the new post-agricultural rural economies and settlements? A conference in the UK in September will map out a new role for the arts and design in response to new social, environmental and economic regeneration priorities. Among the strands and seminar topics currently being developed are: • Arts and […]

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Pigs and cubic cities

If humans can live in skyscrapers, why not pigs and fish? When the Dutch architect Winy Maas first proposed that 600 metre-high skyscrapers, filled with pigs, could supply most of Europe�s pork needs, he was accused of proposing �concentration camps for animals�. But why should agriculture be restricted to the countryside, and organised horizontally? Would […]

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How fast is fast food?

“Quick-serve restaurants are having a tough time keeping the fast in fast food, as menus become more complicated. At San Diego-based Jack in the Box restaurants, for instance, it takes an average of 228.9 seconds – 3.8 minutes – to get burgers out the drive-through window after an order is taken”. This startling information comes […]

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Infra for food

If we are to re-localise food, a new generation of information systems will be needed as support. Many of today’s food systems rely on closed networks in which access to information is controlled by entities (such as supermarkets) that are not keen on cooperatives and localisation. The good news is that open source software for […]

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Insects of the new economy

An eminent insects expert is to study aspects of biological and religious diversity in order to find ways of conserving the natural environment. Until recently Head of Entomology (the study of insects) at London’s Natural History Museum, Dr Dick Vane-Wright is the recipient of a NESTA Fellowship. ‘I suspect that taking a more sustaining role, […]

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Food that heats us up

Food ‘miles’ in the UK have risen dramatically over the past 10 years, are still rising, and have a significant impact on climate change, traffic congestion, accidents and pollution according to a report published yesterday, and reported in today’s Guardian. Food transport accounts for 25% of all the miles driven by heavy goods vehicles on […]

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Unexpected campaigners for privacy

A few days ago I commented that managers have not thought through the potential of RFID systems to give customers far more information about about a product’s history than might be comfortable – at least, for the company selling it. A forthcoming book flagged by Institute For the Future, does include a chapter on RFID […]

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Reading your lunch

What happens when citizens are able to ‘read’ product-specific information directly from a package’s RFID tag using a camera phone? Few business people that I’ve met have thought the consequences through. The widespread deployment of RFID tags is seen mainly as a way to improve the efficiency of supply webs – not as a way […]

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