Most of these projects that are heavy, expensive and ecologically damaging. But in the absence of practical alternatives, simply saying "Stop!" is hopeless advice for the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on hard infra, now. Alternatives to concrete - infrastructures of care - are proliferating, and design can play a key role in moving these alternatives into the mainstream.
This short talk is about an economy with caring for life as its centre, rather than extraction and production. I compare earth care to modern medical care, and suggest that looking is not the same as caring. I ask what design can learn from Care Ethics – and find inspiration [continue …]
(Keynote talk in China): Even before AI came along, “what’s good for humans” helped shape an economy that extracts vitality, as well as resources, from the planet’s living systems. This cultural disconnection – between the living world, and the economic one – explains why we either don’t think about rivers, soils, and biodiversity at all – or we treat them as natural ‘resources’ whose only purpose is to feed “the economy.”
A cultural disconnection between the man-made world and the biosphere lies behind the grave challenges we face today. We either don’t think about rivers, soils, and biodiversity at all – or we treat them as resources whose only purpose is to feed the economy. This ‘metabolic rift’ – between the [continue …]
The 6,426 chapels in Wales were once the heart of community life in remote communities. These chapels could be be part of the next economy, too - but these ways need to be designed, and with diverse collaborators. Possibilities range from CoWoLi (Coworking-Coliving), or new kinds of creative residencies, to learning hubs and new kinds of school.
The 'gig economy' and the 'precariat' may be uncomfortable novelties for people in the North - but for eighty percent of the world's population they are the old normal. As welfare and solidarity innovators, we have much to learn from different times as well as from different places. (An an edited version of my keynote to the Craft Reveals conference, Chiang Mai, 2016)
I was invited to write the Preface to Rethinking The Modular: Adaptable Systems in Architecture and Design edited by Burkhard [continue …]
Ugly Indians don’t blame their fellow citizens, or politicians, or ‘the system’: They act first, and then they talk. They make it “our” problem, not “your” problem.
An exhibition in Belgium poses a timely challenge: When confronted by such complex issues as an ageing population, resource depletion, migration, or growing impoverishment, how are we to balance the desire to do something positive, with the need to understand the back story before we intervene?
Two radically opposed models of development are being born in Ethiopia at the same time. One is small, local, socially fair, and ecologically respectful. The other takes the globalisation of fashion to a new and more destructive level.
No sooner had I posted a long [continue …]
So you want to do good? Here's how to avoid the sloppy assumptions that can underly 'design for development'.
“The global economy treats nature and material resources as if they were infinite, and knowledge as if it was scarce. We have to swap those two around”. (Michel Bauwens). Audio interview below the fold.
Having enshrined the rights of nature in its constitution (*) Ecuador is now exploring how this principle, [continue …]
Packaged mass tours account for 80 percent of journeys to so-called developing countries, but destination regions receive five percent or less of the amount paid by the traveller. For local people on the ground, the injustice is absurd: if I were to pay e1,200 for a week long trek in [continue …]
“Who needs oil when you have rain?” The ad for Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national energy company, dominates this month’s Icelandair magazine. It sits alongside other ads that feature wild spaces, rugged outdoor clothing, and all-round natural purity. The message is not disguised: Iceland is blessed by massive amounts of clean energy.
The [continue …]
The Start-Up Kids is a documentary about young entrepreneurs who have founded web and media startups in the US and Europe. Made by two young Icelandic women, it contains interviews with tech-leaders of today and tomorrow.
The founders of Dropbox, Vimeo, Flickr, WordPress, Posterous and many others talk about how [continue …]
A decision by the Indian government set up four new National Institutes of Design [NIDs] in the country has sparked a lively debate about the kinds of design they should teach.
An influential group of design thought-leaders has launched a campaign called VisionFirst that calls for a [continue …]
UnBox, a three day festival in Delhi, in February, brings together creative collectives from around India. One of these groups, Clay Futures, will brainstorm scenarios to do with sustainable, medicinal, and air filtering bentonite – hence the picture above.
Doors of Perception’s role in [continue …]
(Summer re-run: first published 16 June 2008)
Out-of-control buzzwords are like locusts: you can swat handfuls of them down with a bat, but more will come to take their place.
I’ve been swatting away for ages in this blog at all things Conceptual, Cultural, Clustered and (especially) Creative.
But now we’re suffering a [continue …]
We added a donate button. (It’s on the left). DoorsofPerception.com has been online – and free – since 1994. We’ve waited sixteen years before seeking your support. Now, we can use it.
The stated ambition of Cornwall, in the the far south west of England, is to become a “green peninsular”. It’s an evocative concept, but people there interpret the word “green” in different ways.
For example, although Cornwall aspires to become a “knowledge economy” it is more of a tourism economy at [continue …]
Some people blame the Enlightenment for our present troubles.
The scientific revolution, they say, gave man ideas above his station. We frequently harm natural systems, goes the charge, because of our delusional belief that we are separate from, and have dominion over, nature.
This [continue …]
I went to Poznan, in Poland, to speak at a conference called World Innovation Days. In brushing up on the history of the Wielkopolska region [of which Poznan is the capital] I was reminded that Central and Eastern countries of Europe are still called “Transition Countries” – as in, transitioning [continue …]
Our friends at Architecture for Humanity ask that we spread the word that the winners of its 2009 challenge have been announced – and we are happy to do that.
The accompanying press release quotes a World Bank estimate [continue …]
The term ‘planned obsolescence’ was coined in the 1950s but has never been more relevant. Our desire to possess the latest style can mean more in landfill, and more children in China and India sifting through toxic waste. But some argue that a fast turnover [continue …]
The biggest challenge we face in City Eco Lab (see below) is the explosion of public events, media channels, reports, platforms, trade shows, and government initiatives, at all levels, to do with sustainability. Paul Hawken’s WiserEarth web portal, alone, alone lists over 100,000 non-profit projects and organisations. In the UK, [continue …]
In my text for Design Observer about design and development I questioned some aspects of a project by Architecture for Humanity. This throughtful reply to me from Cameron Sinclair has not yet been posted at Design Observer so I’m posting it here.
“Great post, as per usual, and [continue …]
I am reading with nervous enjoyment a semi-samizdat French magazine called La Decroissance (De-Growth). An offshoot of the French equivalent of Adbusters, La Decroissance fills a big gap: critical discussion of the politics and economics of environmentalism. The issue I’m reading includes a sharp critique of the myth of ‘transhumanism’ [continue …]
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 …]
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 5 [continue …]
(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 …]
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 CKS [continue …]