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Sustainable Daily Life (Projects Clinic, The Planning Center, Southern California, 2009)

“What would life in a sustainable world be like?” Together with The Planning Center, we organized this workshop in Southern California for participants from grassroots organizations. Each presented case studies in which they use resources in a creative, original way. Jules Dervaes is a pioneer in urban edible gardens; he calls them “urban homesteads”. Jules […]

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Travel Without Moving (Design clinic on ‘sustainability immobility’ at Pixelache Festival, Helsinki, 2009)

Many of us are confronted by a painful dilemma: the only way to reduce our ecological footprint of flying is to stop flying – and yet we feel we need to travel for our work, and to see loved ones. Can modern transport and tourism ever be sustainable? After all, the movement of people and […]

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JT West: Experiencing Sustainability

Climate change, peak debt, peak energy: these are all stakes being driven into the body of business as usual. The days of acting as if infinite growth were possible within a finite system are over. Where does this leave (interaction) design? To find out you need to attend my talk on “Experiencing Sustainability” at IxDA […]

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City Eco Lab: productive urban gardens

One of the inspiring discoveries we made in putting City Eco Lab together was l’Ilot d’Amaranthes,a five-year-long project in which St Etienne designer Emanuel Louisgrand, in partnership with Galerie Roger Tator, has created productive gardens on abandoned sites in different parts of Lyon. Given the range of malfunctioning global systems we have to deal with, […]

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City Eco Lab: the art of food proximity

“Let’s keep food around us” says Debra Solomon of her presentation at City Eco Lab: Lucky Mi Fortune Cooking. It’s is a working example of how a community can optimize its food flow using design. “New (food) products are not the answer” says Solomon; “new platforms, new actors, new configurations are”. There are a lot […]

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City Eco Lab: The river runs through us

If perpetual, resource-intensive growth is no longer a viable model for the development of a city-region, what alternatives are available? In City Eco Lab, we explored the idea that St Etienne’s river, le Furan, and the natural systems of the broader region, might be a fruitful basis for re-imagining the city. It was in this […]

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City Eco Lab: St Etienne’s Soupe de Ville (City Soup)

Architects are sometimes accused of being more at home in a world of abstraction than in the here-and-now. Nonsense! A team from St Etienne’s architecture school disproved this vile calumny with a wonderful project called Soupe de Ville (City Soup). Having first done a beautiful job documenting sites around the city where food could potentially […]

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City Eco Lab: de-motorisation at different scales

A key principle of City Eco Lab was to focus on live projects and enterprises rather than on good ideas in abstract. The city’s dynamic new courier company, Les Coursiers Verts (The Green Courier Company), took us at our word and relocated their office to the City Eco Lab site for the duration of the […]

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City Eco Lab: “hybrid reality story scripts” about creative communities

Traditionally, the regeneration of a city has focused on its built fabric; architects and designers propose ways to upgrade or replace the old streets like the one above in St Etienne. In City Eco Lab, the focus was less on buildings, than on activities that would represent more sustainable ways of organising daily life. The […]

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