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Green Tourism: Why It Failed And How It Can Succeed


Packaged mass tours account for 80 percent of journeys to so-called developing countries, but destination regions receive five percent or less of the amount paid by the traveller. For local people on the ground, the injustice is absurd: if I were to pay e1,200 for a week long trek in Morocco’s Atlas mountains, just e50 […]

Also posted in development & design, mobility & design | 2 Responses

Trust Is Not An Algorithm: Big Data Are Hot, But They Also Miss A Lot


[Illustration from http://www.hhs.gov/open/initiatives/hdi/] By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it? Many big brands hope that the analysis of Big Data will give them a ‘360 degree view’ of customers: Who they’re interacting with, where they shop, how […]

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Cycle Commerce As An Ecosystem

(Illustration: Sameer Kulavoor Ghoda Bicycle Project) At a workshop in Delhi a few weeks back, during the UnBox Festival, Arjun Mehta and myself posed the following question to a group of 20 professionals from diverse backgrounds: What new products, services or ingredients are needed to help a cycle commerce ecosystem flourish in India’s cities, towns and […]

Also posted in development & design, mobility & design | 1 Response

What Makes A Change Lab Successful?


The UK government’s digital services platform, gov.uk, has won the Design of the Year award – and if I were running a big IT consulting firm grown fat on big government contracts, I’d be worried. Gov.uk is a revolutionary web operation that governments around the world are beginning to notice. Twenty four UK government departments […]

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The Ecozoic City

Over the ages we’ve invested huge amounts of effort and energy to keep cities and nature separate. What would it mean if that were about to change?  The writer Thomas Berry described as the ecozoic the “reintegration of human endeavours into a larger ecological consciousness”. The ecozoic, Berry believed, would supplant the Anthropocene age, that […]

Also posted in infrastructure & design, place & bioregion | 2 Responses

Healing The Metabolic Rift: Designing In Social-Ecological Systems


The term metabolic rift describes the alienation between humans and nature that opened up with the growth of the the modern economy. Could the growth of bioregionalism, and research into ‘social-ecological systems’, be signs that the rift may be healing? And if so, what are the opportunities for design to contribute?  [Picture: The Stockholm Resilience […]

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Venice: from Gated Lagoon to Bioregion

Computer rendering by Christian Kerrigan. Rachel Armstrong, who develops synthetic biology applications for the built environment, believes it could be possible to grow an artificial limestone reef underneath Venice using ‘metabolic materials’ – photosensitive protocells, engineered to be light averse. Her idea is to stop the city sinking into the soft mud on which its foundations […]

Also posted in place & bioregion, sustainability & design | 1 Response

From Autobahn to Bioregion

[Above: for CRIT, Mumbai may look a mess – but the city enjoys ‘high transactional capacities’] The big Audi that collected us from Istanbul airport contained nearly as many electronic control units (ECUs) as the new Airbus A380. The Audi, and similar high-end cars, will soon run on 200 million lines or more of software […]

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Transition Dogville

In Lars von Trier’s 2003 film Dogville (below) there is almost no set. Buildings in the town are represented by a series of white outlines on the floor. Dogville was a to-the-limit exercise in what von Trier calls ‘pure cinema’ – a commitment to use only real locations, and no special effects or background music, when making […]

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