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civic ecology

Sustainable Finance vs the Real World

These are curious times. Even as the world burns, sustainable finance and green capitalism are booming: Sustainability Reporting. Net Zero. Climate Finance. ESG. Green New Deal. By some estimates, assets invested with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria now top £35 trillion. Why would investors put money into an asset [continue …]

2022-10-04T09:22:48+00:00August 15th, 2022|civic ecology, earth repair, green finance, nature-connection, newsletter|

Design for Multi-Species Cities

What would it mean to practice design in the knowledge that the well-being of humans, and non-humans, is inter-connected? Here are the results of a design workshop at Milan Polytechnic: practical ways to make cities hospitable for all of life, not just human life.

2022-10-04T09:23:25+00:00March 7th, 2022|civic ecology, nature-connection|

Cities as Lifeworlds

(Interview for Politecnico Milano). Design needs to ask these questions first: “has anyone found a different way to meet this daily life need (for food, shelter, care, mobility etc)? In the past? In another culture?” Let’s find out what alternatives already exist, first, and then explore how to adapt and improve on those.

2022-10-04T14:08:58+00:00April 8th, 2021|civic ecology|

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 [continue …]

2022-10-04T09:23:53+00:00May 11th, 2020|civic ecology|

In an Ecological Civilization, Place is our Professor

The prospect of an ecological civilisation is transformative In three profound ways: care for place takes priority over ever-growing production and communication; value creation is defined in terms of healthy soils, and ecological restoration; 3 an EC gives priority to social relationships, and institutional innovation.(My keynote to the China Eco-Civilization Research and Promotion Association)

2022-10-04T09:23:58+00:00January 2nd, 2020|civic ecology|

From Gut to Gaia: The Internet of Things and Earth Repair

On a recent visit to @IAAC in Barcelona, I was charmed by their Smart Citizen platform. It enables citizens to monitor levels of air or noise pollution around their home or business. This innovation is impressive - but it leaves a difficult question unanswered: Under what circumstances will possession of this data contribute to the system transformation that we so urgently need?

2022-10-04T10:10:13+00:00October 21st, 2017|civic ecology, earth repair|

Housing Without Building

The family of swallows that spent the summer in the eaves behind my office here in France have headed south for the winter. Soon, as Christmas beckons, they’ll reach their destinations: Botswana, Namibia or South Africa. After just two months gorging on insects, they’ll begin the epic journey back. The [continue …]

2022-10-21T12:17:40+00:00October 2nd, 2014|civic ecology|

Sweat equity infra

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It’s hard not to be impressed by the Millau Viaduct that’s down the road from where I live in France.

The tallest bridge in the world boasts an eight-span steel roadway, is supported supported by seven huge concrete pylons, and weighs 36,000 [continue …]

2022-10-07T15:18:00+00:00May 31st, 2011|civic ecology|

Designing an associative life

Government departments or ministries responsible for sustainability, or “the environment”, are too often constrained by small budgets and modest influence. Their very existence allows traditional departments – “industry”, “economic affairs”, “finance” or “transport” – to carry on their ecocidal ways as normal.

A similar problem persists in business where Corporate Social [continue …]

2022-08-28T15:05:37+00:00December 15th, 2009|civic ecology|

City Eco Lab: open source hardware

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Many of the goods and services we take for granted in our daily lives depend on global flows and networks that seem to be unraveling in today’s converging crises.
Are doomed to return to a pre-industrial, pre-technological age?
If Jean-Noël Montagné (above, left – with Juha Huuskonen [continue …]

2022-09-28T15:27:52+00:00December 6th, 2008|civic ecology|

Salvage design

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Bamboo scaffolding, knotted aerial lines, hand painted signs or converted plastic bags: German photographer Thomas Kalak has published a book called “Thailand – Same same, but different!” that celebrates the Thais’ exceptionally gifted art of improvisation. The strange objects and arrangements remind Kalak of art [continue …]

2022-10-07T15:22:31+00:00July 26th, 2008|civic ecology|

Tools for survival

In which I review City Eco Lab, the French design biennial I'm curating. The look-and-feel of the event will be more Bladerunner than Little House on the Prairie.

2022-10-07T15:40:23+00:00January 2nd, 2008|civic ecology|

Infra is also social

Two of the most striking images from New Orleans feature helicopters. In one shot, a helicopter is dropping 15,000 bags of sand onto rushing waters that will obviously wash them away. In the second, the president projects a concerned gaze onto the diaster from a similar height. Engineering to control [continue …]

2022-10-07T16:07:35+00:00September 3rd, 2005|civic ecology|
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