Plans are being made to plant billions of trees – but who will care for them, and how? One answer: Green infrastructure is as much social, as it technical. That lesson informed the design of these urban ecology tools, equipment, and experiences.
Alastair McIntosh reminds us here that the World’s oldest book, the Epic of Gilgamesh, portrayed tension between the wild and the civilised. The Buddha taught the interconnection of all things. Plato depicted the world as being “a living god”.
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 …]
Mutual aid. Local money. Collaborative care. Alternative futures are being created around the world -. but not, for the most part, in plain sight. David Bollier’s new book – Commoner’s Catalog for Changemaking: Tools for the Transitions Ahead – brings dozens of social projects like these to [continue …]
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.
This is the French version of my interview with Domus Magazine: "When Value Arises From Relationships, Not From Things"
(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.
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 …]
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)
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?
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 …]
In his new show at the German Architecture Center (DAZ) Matthias Megyeri has developed a design language for the artefacts of protection and security in public space.
Megyeri poses the question: does protection have to [continue …]
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 …]
“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 [continue …]
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 …]
Harvesting rainwater is key for any town or city determined to use its water sustainably. Rainwater HOG is a rain rescue and storage tank designed as a water-filled building block. It was conceived and developed by an Australian architect, Sally Dominguez, who had [continue …]
Fifteen per cent of London is at high risk from flooding due to global warming – an area that includes 1.25 million people, almost half a million properties, more than 400 schools, 75 underground and railway stations, 10 hospitals, and an airport (London City ). [continue …]
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 …]
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.
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 …]
What does it mean to design a platform for social innovation?
Doors of Perception 8 on the theme of “infra” took place in New Delhi, India. The event involved designers and entrepreneurs from different parts of the world. [continue …]
What is a design metropolis? Should a city aspire to become one?
A symposium called New Design Cities was organized by Marie-Josée Lacroix for the Canadian Centre for Architecture; Doors contributed a speaker and communications support.
The event cast a critical eye over the policies and programs of Montreal, Saint-Etienne [continue …]