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A “Marshall Plan for tourism” – but with what aim? (20 minute talk)

EU Commissioner @ThierryBreton promises a “Marshall Plan for tourism” – but with what aim? In this talk, I propose a new storyin which the design of new urban-rural relationships creates value by leaving places healthier. Video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=bwKtab The concept of sustainable tourism was invented 45 years ago – but it was added to global mass tourism, it did not […]

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Urban-Rural: The New Geographies of Innovation

This is the text of my plenary talk at the Innovation and Emerging Industry Development (IEID) conference in Shanghai on 18 September 2019. I describe three enabling conditions for system change: a capacity for ecological thinking; a focus on social infrastructure (rather than the concrete kind); and a shift of focus from place making, to […]

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Articles in Resilience

Here is a collection of texts by John Thackara selected by Resilience magazine. How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Preface to the Chinese edition This book is not about pre-cooked solutions. It’s about building on what has already been done, in our various social and cultural histories, and on what’s being done, right now, […]

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The City as a Living System: A Design Research Agenda

This is the text of my plenary talk at the Design x Collaborative Cities conference, 28 and 29 October 2018, Shanghai. It was hosted by the College of Design and Innovation (D&I) at Tongji University, where I am a visiting professor, and DESIS Network. (Here is the 25 minute video). The industrial age distracted us […]

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From Oil Age to Soil Age: Pathways to Sustainability

On the occasion of my lecture (with the above title) at the Design Museum of Barcelona, during the Victor Papanek exhibition, I was interviewed about relational design, the potential for social and ecological transformation, and the mixed blessings of terms such as ‘future’ or ‘resilience’ Q: You define yourself as a bioregional designer. What does […]

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Civic Ecology as a Design Space

What is innovative in design today? What urgent issues is the discipline tackling? For this special feature in Domus Magazine, Valentina Croci talks with Paola Antonelli, Aric Chen and John Thackara. Paola muses on the disturbed relation between us and nature, the subject of her (then) forthcoming show at the Triennale di Milano. From his […]

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When Value Arises from Relationships, not from Things

The following texts by John Thackara were selected and republished by P2P MagazineHow To Thrive In the Next Economy: Preface to the Chinese edition (July 2019) When Value Arises From Relationships, Not From Things (interview with Valentina Croci in Domus Magazine, April 2018)Manifesto For Utopias Are Over: Cities Are Living Systems (extract from DAMN magazine, […]

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“Playing For Time”: creating the conditions for change

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive…” Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth In 2004, in the small town of Nexø (above), on the island of Bornholm, in the Baltic […]

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In an Ecological Civilization, Place is our Professor

I gave a plenary talk (by video) to the China Eco-Civilization Research and Promotion Association (CECRPA) Conference, 17 November 2019. My focus was an ecological design training platform for designers in China. 中国生态文明研究与促进会(CECRPA)会议11月17日:约翰·萨卡拉(John Thackara)全体会议 生态创新培训 In the last 100 years, there have been three eras of design. During the Industrial Era, design was powerful driver […]

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