• November 24, 2007

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    Doors of Perception’s director, John Thackara, was programme director of Designs of the time (Dott 07), a year of community design projects in North East England that explored what life in a sustainable region could be like – and how design can help us [continue …]

  • October 21, 2007

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    The house is cold, someone keeps turning the lights off, and the greywater toilet is blocked again.
    As a way of life, sustainabilty often sounds grim. The media don’t help: they tell us we have to consume our way to redemption. The shopping pages are filled [continue …]

  • October 3, 2007

    We made a list of recommended books for the Dott festival bookshop and published it (the list) in the October Doors Report. A long-list is online at Amazon. I am now receiving suggestions of books we should have added, so I’m adding the best-sounding additions (recommender in brackets) [continue …]

  • October 1, 2007

    The Dott 07 Festival opens in 13 days time in Gateshead, England. It brings together the results of projects and events that explore what sustainable life in one region could be like – and how design can help us get there. North East England, as one of the birthplaces of [continue …]

  • August 17, 2007

    Can transport and tourism ever be sustainable? The movement of people and goods around the world consumes vast amounts of matter, energy, space, and time – most of it non-renewable. Could transport intensity be de-coupled from economic progress – and if so, how?

    This event in October’s series of Dott [continue …]

  • August 16, 2007

    Up to 30 percent of the ecological footprint of a city can be attributed to the systems which keep it fed and watered. But when the Mayors of the world’s 40 largest cities met recently to discuss sustainability strategies, food was not on the agenda. Why not?
    Doors is organising a [continue …]

  • July 24, 2007

    The term greenwashing applies when companies (or governments) spend more money or time advertising being green, than on investing in environmentally sound practices.
    In business, greenwashing often means changing the name and/or label. Early warning signs that a product is probably toxic include images of trees, birds, or [continue …]

  • July 5, 2007

    I was asked by Seung Yoon Lee, at Korean Design Research Institute, for a three line quote on “a new concept of mobility due to ubiquitous technologies”. (It’s for an upcoming issue of Asian Design Journal).
    So I sent this: “Reducing the movement of matter – whether goods, or people – [continue …]

  • June 23, 2007

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    The next Dott 07 (Designs of the time) Explorers Club meeting on Thursday 14 July, to be held at the Robert Stephenson Centre in Newcastle. Our focus this month is Sustainable Tourism.

    In terms of someone’s carbon footprint, a single holiday in New Zealand is equivalent [continue …]

  • May 14, 2007

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    How do European, American and Asian approaches to green design differ – and what we should learn from each other? Will technology save us, or is a social revolution more important? I’m giving a lecture on this topic at Art Center, in Pasadena, on [continue …]

  • May 11, 2007

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    In an excellent piece in Metropolis , Peter Hall argues that “design schools need to rethink how they teach product design.” The subject is booming, Hall writes, and yet the world is filled with terrible products: cars that kill two people every minute; [continue …]

  • May 6, 2007

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    I don’t know about you but I’m off mapping today (and hope to see many of you there ). While I’m away, here’s another of the Belsay projects, this one by Francesca Steele. Her work engages [continue …]

  • May 5, 2007

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    You missed a truly gorgeous day: The opening of Picture House at Belsay. Here is Dott’s Beckie Darlington playing with the installation by UVA, which (the image) I borrowed from Pixelsumo (Chris O’Shea) who has posted a ton more [continue …]

  • May 2, 2007

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    This is a big week for Dott. The Picture House exhibition at Belsay Hall Mansion opens with a Digital Dinner on Thursday. The exhibition features three projects curated for Dott by Juha Huuskonen / Pixelache: a new work from Golan Levin; Adam Somlai-Fischer & [continue …]

  • April 27, 2007

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    Roam, meet, share, map. There’s only a week to go before a gorgeous array of teams assemble in Durham for Mapping The Necklace (5-7 May). One group is interested in mapping the most beautiful cows in the park. Other teams will do [continue …]

  • April 26, 2007

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    Along, I suspect, with some of you, I failed to get into Ecologic studio’s blog (story below) but I did find this intriguing project for them by Slider Studio to “automate the process of mapping data from an environmental analysis software [continue …]

  • April 25, 2007

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    This was the most interesting exhibit for me at the Milan Furniture Fair. Hidden away in a small courtyard, “Aqva Garden” functions as a distributed rain collector and water storage system. Unlike conventional recycling systems, which tend to be hidden away in clunky boxes, Aqva [continue …]

  • April 24, 2007

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    For three years now Doors has been involved in a Europe-wide project called EMUDE (it stands for “Emerging User Demands for Sustainable Solutions”. That’s European research for you!). A network of design schools, acting as ‘antennas’, has collected examples of social [continue …]

  • April 19, 2007

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    The Guardian reports on the threat to Delhi’s 300,000 street food vendors in the name of “hygiene” and “modernisation” ahead of the 2010 Commonweath Games. If you have any contacts in the Indian judiciary, please ask them to read about the [continue …]

  • April 17, 2007

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    Our friends at WorldChanging are running a series of think-pieces to celebrate Earth Day. My piece is about designers as hunter gatherers, and what we can learn from the explosive growth of cellular churches as we seek ways to expand the footprint [continue …]

  • April 15, 2007

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    I was looking for some data about the environmental impact of aviation and came across some good news! A website for us super-rich green folk called Helium lists luxury travel and real estate companies that promote eco-friendly travel. “You can spend over [continue …]

  • April 10, 2007

    “We have to remember that industrial design equals mass production, and that every move, every decision, every curve we specify is multiplied—sometimes by the thousands and often by the millions. And that every one of those everys has a price. We think that we’re in the artifact business, but we’re [continue …]

  • April 8, 2007

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    It’s Easter, and news is slow, so let’s talk about Christmas. “We all love the look of our town in the festive season – but 100,000 watts of lights in the town isn’t doing the environment any favours. For 2007 we will be hosting zero-carbon [continue …]

  • April 3, 2007

    So you think you know what an English country house feels like? Well think again. Judith King for English Heritage and Dott 07 (with Juha Huuskonen) have invited experimental film directors, artists and designers to transform Belsay Hall in Northumberland with a series of cutting edge art and new media [continue …]

  • April 2, 2007

    In 2007, I was asked by The Observer to write a short preview of the Dott07 Design Festival.

  • April 1, 2007

    jmg.jpg Which box does one belong in during these curious times? Jan Jaap Spreij sent me links to two excellent articles – on peak oil, and the future of industrial society – written by the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids [continue …]

  • March 23, 2007

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    Global food systems are becoming unsustainable in terms of environmental impact, health, and social quality. Up to 40 percent of the ecological impact of an ‘advanced’ city can be attributed to its food systems.
    But what to do?
    Doors of Perception 9 – on [continue …]

  • March 14, 2007

    In response to spam attacks we’ve had to turn off the comment function here. Apologies for that: If you’ve had a comment blocked, please send it to desk at doorsofperception dot com com and we’ll post it manually.

  • March 12, 2007

    (COMMENT AT END: we’ve had to suspend comment function because of spam attacks)
    You know what? I just don’t think Sunnyvale, California is the right base from which to save the world with Tech.
    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Architecture for Humanity have announced a $250,000 competition for the [continue …]

  • February 19, 2007

    I hear from Nick “still in the US without air conditioning” Oakley that a Second Life avatar uses about as much energy as the average Brazilian. Lesson: even virtual worlds have a real carbon footprint. I told a similar story, this time about server farms, [continue …]

  • February 18, 2007

    Are you shaping the tools or techniques that help other people shape their world? There is no job description for what you do. You mix dedication to social change, confidence with people and organisations, and technical knowledge or skills. You are part of a growing number of committed
    people using innovation [continue …]

  • February 12, 2007

    When I first visited India 20 years ago, the country had fewer design teachers for a population of more than a billion people than had Wales – whose population is three million. The supply of teachers seemed to be stuck because India had just one national public design school: the [continue …]

  • February 9, 2007

    The culmination of Dott07’s year in North East England (where Doors is programming the content) will be a festival in October to celebrate the achievements, challenges and experiences of all those who have taken part in projects. Our dream for the Festival location is that it will inspire people [continue …]

  • February 5, 2007

    With four weeks to go before Doors 9, most of our blogging energies will be devoted to the Juice site. Why not join us? Or, nearly as good, please print the Doors 9 poster (5MB) and stick it everywhere in your environment. It will [continue …]

  • January 25, 2007

    Mobile communication is revolutionizing economic and social life in rural India, spawning a wave of local entrepreneurs and creating greater access to social services according to a new study by Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS) – our partners for Doors 9.
    The research, commissioned from [continue …]

  • January 5, 2007

    The following is the text of my lecture at the Global Place conference in an unseasonably warm Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Joshua Kauffman has posted an excellent summary of the event here).
    THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT
    Some of you may know Oliver [continue …]

  • January 2, 2007

    We preview our main activities for the year – especially Doors of Perception 9 in India and Designs of the time (Dott 07) in the UK in January’s Doors of Perception report which (if you do not receive it by email) is [continue …]

  • December 24, 2006

    (Alex Steffen and Sarah Rich from Worldchanging asked some people to send them an end-of-year reflection. Here below is mine. They are both coming to Doors 9, by the way).
    Suppose Bill Gates were to purchase six and a half billion copies of Worldchanging, have them translated into [continue …]

  • December 19, 2006

    Passing through London this week, I found the atmosphere to be even more crazed and febrile than is normal even at this time of year. I think I know why: City of London staff (ie the financial hub part of London) have been promised a record £21 billion [continue …]

  • December 7, 2006

    (The following is the text of my lecture at today’s Competitiveness Summit in London.
    “I have been asked to address two questions this morning.
    The first: Is UK competitiveness imperilled by developing countries catching up and overtaking us?
    And question two: How best shall we use our creativity and [continue …]

  • December 4, 2006

    A rare opportunity to meet Natalie Jeremijenko in Glsagow. Voted as one of the Top 100 young innovators by the MIT Technology Review, Natalie is a design engineer and techno-artist who creates large-scale participative experiments in public spaces. She produces multimedia installations that use robotics, genetic and digital engineering, electromechanics [continue …]

  • December 3, 2006

    News reaches me from Los Angeles, via Bruce Sterling that, in the corporate imagination of General Motors, “the Hummer could be transformed from the SUV that environmentalists love to hate to an algae-infused, oxygen-exuding buggy that would open up like a flower.” (GM’s sketch for the [continue …]

  • December 1, 2006

    The website of the conference in Boras now has videos of the speakers including Jeremy “hydrogen economy” Rifkin, Saffia “Free Trade” MInney, Oliviero “1,000 slides” Toscani, and John “oh no not a mouse!” Thackara. Back in Newcastle, we explored the relationship between design and sexual [continue …]

  • November 20, 2006

    Remember all those books and reports about “the future of work”? Well, the future seems to have arrived. A new report from Orange called The way to work states that, of 28.5 million UK workers, 3.64 million (13%) are self employed, 7 million (24%) are part-time workers, [continue …]

  • November 16, 2006

    “As 18-month-old Alexander Barham was wheeled into intensive care, his survival depended on the expertise of the medical specialists all around him and, in no small part, on the split-second precision of the Ferrari Formula One motor racing team”. A gripping story in the Telegraph describes how a [continue …]

  • November 9, 2006

    Join Joel Shurkin, author of the book Broken Genius, on a tour at the Science Museum in London. He’ll be in conversation with the Curator of Computing and Information, Tilly Blyth. Their topic is the birth of the transistor; its marriage to the computer was one of the key moments [continue …]

  • November 6, 2006

    Greenpeace subjected some of the biggest names in electronics to their first global exam on their green credentials. Ranked on their use of toxic chemicals and electronic waste (e-waste) policies, only Dell and Nokia scraped a barely respectable score while Apple, Motorola and Lenovo flunked the test [continue …]

  • November 4, 2006

    Decentralised energy – using waste heat, and encouraging individual home owners to generate electricity with solar panels and new boilers – could provide nearly 70 per cent of all Britain’s electricity, and reduce emissions by as much as 60 per cent. The development of solar and and other micro generation [continue …]

  • October 31, 2006

    The publication of the Stern review of climate change economics by a former World Bank chief economist marks a step change in government responses to the crisis.
    It’s not just that Stern’s conclusions correspond broadly to what environmentalists have been saying for fifteen years. [continue …]

  • October 26, 2006

    I’ve had a couple of requests for help from design schools who have entered the competition to design a stuff-o-meter. (Designs of the time (Dott07) has teamed up with Design and Art Direction (D&AD) in a challenge to design students to come up with a stuff-o-meter that [continue …]