Our friends at La Voute Nubienne are among the 13 finalists of the Ashoka-Changemakers Competition on “How to Provide Affordable Housing.” This ancient architectural technique, traditionally used in Sudan and central Asia, but until now unknown in West Africa, can accelerate appropriate house-building in the Sahel. The Nubian [continue …]
Doors 9, with its focus on energy and food, is about an important security issue. We seek funding to the tune of .000001% of America’s Homeland Security budget to pay for scholarships so that project leaders may come to New Delhi from different parts of India and elsewhere in South [continue …]
I was told last week that 250 new five and seven star hotels, 1,000 major new restaurants, and a second indoors ski slope three times bigger than the one just opened, will be completed in Dubai over the next next five to seven years. So that’s where all the designers [continue …]
I’m at a Cursos De Verano (summer school) near Madrid. Just down the corridor, a bunch of senior generals are discussing the “army of the 21st century”.
Next to them, a some egg-head priests are discussing “the church of the 21st century”.
My group is doing innovation of the 21st century and [continue …]
At last week’s Aspen Design Summit 150 concerned designer-citizens explored ways that they might contribute to sustainable community development, education innovation, and social entrepreneurship. (Other reports are at Core77 and at unBeige.There are many images at Flickr
(Humbug check: I was an enthusiastic participant â€“ and paid [continue …]
A few weeks back I gave a lecture at the Royal Society of Arts in London entitled “Solidarity economics & design”.
The lecture was provoked by the sick-making antics of Bob Geldof and the assumptions he and others made about ‘development’.
I argued that the word ‘development’ implies that we advanced people [continue …]
Intel has launched a PC platform to meet the needs of rural villages and communities in India. The “ruggedized” Community PC is equipped to operate in a community setting while accommodating the varying environmental conditions prevalent in the country. Intel also announced an initiative called â€œJaagrutiâ€ (â€œAwakeningâ€) to support [continue …]
Does tourism kill the toured? An unexpected overnight in Barcelona at the weekend reminded me that cities should be be careful what they wish for. Barcelona is the most-quoted example in the world of a city that has used design and creativity to make itself attractive to tourists. But having [continue …]
The papers today say that rebuilding after Katrina will cost the same as the war in Iraq. In the unlikely event that so much money is forthcoming, what will it be spent on? Are new freeways and malls the wisest way to rebuild? Before firms like Halliburton start pouring concrete, [continue …]
A breathless email from Tony Perkins invites me to Stanford to watch lions eat Christians. Or so it sounds. Tony writes that his conference, Always On, is about â€œthe sweet spots in the technology marketsâ€¦where innovation is disrupting behavior and creating new business opportunitiesâ€. His website concludes, â€œcome play [continue …]
A range of African NGOs and organisations has expressed frustration and concern in response to statements from G8 that world leaders would solve Africa’s problems with limited debt relief and increased aid. Writers and campaigners from a range of African countries have expressed their views in the Alternatives Commission [continue …]
Someone told me (offline) that my reaction to Live8 yesterday was unduly critical. Isn’t it better for people to be charged up and optimistic about a big challenge, such as poverty, rather than overwhelmed and demotivated? It’s a tricky call. I still agree with George Monbiot that Live8 will have [continue …]
“Everyone is, suddenly, globally, politicised” froths an embarassing article about Live8 by Euan Ferguson in todays Observer. Puleese.The atmosphere this morning reminds me of Princess Diana’s funeral. The emotions released yesterday are heartfelt – but narcissistic. It feels good to feel. Watching a rock musician in a [continue …]
At deBalie in Amsterdam, a conference called Incommunicado is debating issues to do with information technology for development (ICT4D). I could not stay for today’s debate, organsed by Solomon Benjamin, on â€œculture and corporate sponsorship in the ICT4D contextâ€ – so I make this contribution remotely. Benjamin, quoting [continue …]
We have posted several more of the presentations from Doors 8. Among these are a text from Ezio Manzini in which he develops his critique of “the tunnel that a mistaken idea of comfort, and an equally mistaken idea of economic growth, have driven us into”. He proposes a new [continue …]
My attention has been drawn to your post of 28 March on the Sarai Commons-Law mailing list.
I am usually pretty relaxed about criticism. After all, if our events failed to provoke discussion and disagreement, they would be feeble events indeed. One reason I was so happy to be [continue …]
A session at Doors 8 on service design for emerging economies left a tricky question unanswered: how do we determine when is a market is â€˜emergingâ€™ – and when it has emerged? And, is it possible to design the relationship between small pilot projects, as potential tipping points, and large [continue …]
India-bound Michael Coburn draws my attention to a paper by Cory Doctorow on how Digital Rights Management will affect the developing world. The piece is written for an International Telecommunications Union report aimed at telecoms regulators in national governments around the world; they are trying to figure out which [continue …]
A large meeting last week at the Tropen Institute in Amsterdam marked the launch of a new project, Dutch Design In Development (DDiD). Participants ranged from young designers struggling to make a living by importing textiles from Africa, to eco-tourism marketeers, and consultants who advise global companies how [continue …]
The spectacle of Bono and other glossy celebs singing for tsunami victims was a somewhat quease-inducing sight on the box the other night. As P Sainath points out in indiatogether,”Number of homes damaged by the tsunami in Nagapattinam: 30,300. Number of homes destroyed by the Congress-NCP Government in Mumbai: [continue …]
By 2020 globalization is likely to take on much more of a non-Western face. So says the US National Intelligence Council (NIC), a think-tank that advises the CIA on the likely course of future events. A new report called The Contradictions of Globalization says that Asia will “alter the [continue …]
Many architects are eager to help with post-tsunami rebuilding in Asia, but “now’s not the time for them to switch off their computers and rush for the next flight to Indonesia or Sri Lanka. They’d have little to offer, and would be just more mouths to feed. My advice to [continue …]
Our partner in the organization of Doors 8, Aditya Dev Sood, was in Phuket, by the sea, with 15 members of his family, on a post-wedding vacation, when the tsunami struck. Thankfully Aditya and his family, at least, are safe. So, too, so far as we’ve heard, are other friends [continue …]
“In our economy, everything has a price – but nothing, it seems, has a value. We find it hard to really tell whether the things we value are growing or dying”. So begins an excellent interview by Joe Flower with “anti-economist” Hazel Henderson. The yardsticks we have chosen to measure [continue …]
Writing from India, where he encounters designers, digerati and Bollywood producers who want to put him in a movie, John Thackara considers the potentially thrilling future of IT in the subcontinent.
To Bangalore, India’s IT city, to speak at the first India Design Summit. The event is organized jointly by the [continue …]