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.
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 …]
Twenty landscape students were given an unusual design brief: regenerate the soils of the Camargue bioregion - its rhizosphere - as a biological, living entity. Do do this, they were told, by creating new associations between, people, animals, vegetation, and weather.
(I wrote this Prologue) Feeling powerless to change the course of events, the inclination to switch off can feel like self-defence. Karin Fink’s response is both nimble, and wise. Rather than re-draw the whole picture at a stroke, her focus in this book is on small connections, and how to enhance them.
Paving over the soil, and filling our lives with media, obscured our interdependency with living systems. We must learn to think of the places where we live as ecosystems, not as machines. (This was my first keynote in Shanghai)
I’ve come to an inconvenient conclusion: production is not the purpose of life. I say inconvenient because many of us depend on industrial production to meet our daily life needs. But the perpetual search for new forms of production - whether ‘clean’, ‘green’ or ‘circular’ - is not where our future lies. (Interview with Valentina Croci of Domus Magazine)
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?
Today, Plymouth University very generously awarded me an honorary doctorate. Here is my short statement to this year’s graduating class in Design, Architecture and Environment.
I nearly failed to get here yesterday, and I want to tell you why.
The road from my house to the city passes through a spectacular gorge. Several weeks [continue …]
A new book by Alex Prud’homme called The Ripple Effect addresses the “vast and desperately serious subject” of water.
The author does not hold back: all the world’s water problems are here. The sewage, fertilizers, industrial chemicals, plastics, paint, drugs, and hand soap, among other [continue …]
(Summer re-run: first published 5 February 2008)
Ever since learning about water mapping from Georg Bertsch and about watershed-based planning in Toronto from Chris Hardwick at Doors 9 on Juice last year, I’ve been aware that we talked a lot about energy but [continue …]
If perpetual, resource-intensive growth is no longer a viable model for the development of a city-region, what alternatives are available?
In City Eco Lab, we explored the idea that St Etienne’s river, le Furan, and the natural systems of the broader region, might be a fruitful [continue …]
The “Soft” department (above) within the City Eco Lab’s Cabane a Outils (Tool Shed) presented a variety of soft tools such as software platforms, new economic models, and design research networks. The aim was to make visitors aware of the existence of such ‘soft’ tools [continue …]