True Cost Design – In Three Steps
The text of my talk at the 'Lens' conference in Bangalore in 2010.
The text of my talk at the 'Lens' conference in Bangalore in 2010.
Service design for higher education (sort of)
The text of a talk about the green economy for Cumulus, the international network of design schools.
My talk at a symposium in Helsinki called "Beyond Tomorrow" about what the new Aalto University should do, and be.
Rule one in book publishing (where I worked for ten years) is: promote your own book, because nobody else will do so with as much energy and commitment. So, sorry to be brash, but please note the following:
Today I received [continue …]
Last evening I particpated remotely from my home in France in a pre-event in Amsterdam of ElectroSmog International Festival for Sustainable Immobility.
I didn’t use the fancy gadget in the photo above. My set-up yesterday was a bit, [continue …]
Is culture something that’s produced to be sold, or a description of the ways people live? It’s an old question, but last week’s Forum d’Avignon (see also my story below) put a new spin on it: could the culture industries lead the way out of the economic crisis?
The debate [continue …]
When I first came to Tokyo, fashionable parts of the city would be lined with hundreds of heavy taxis sitting in queues with their engines running, for hours on end. Every powered item was always on, 24/7. Tokyo Metropolitan Government has [continue …]
I can understand why Enrico Giovannini, Chief Statistician of the OECD, is so pleased with with his new visualzation tool, the OECD Factbook Explorer. Few people on the planet can be responsible for a larger volume of statistics than he [continue …]
A major new university is to be named after the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Aalto University which opens in 2010, is the result of a merger between the Helsinki School of Economics (Finland’s top business school, with 4,000 students); the University of Art and Design [continue …]
[I was asked to write a text about the green economy by Cumulus, the international network of design schools. It will published at their forthcoming conference in London (27-30 May). This is a preview].
What would architects design, if they did not design buildings? What would designers design, [continue …]
I gave a talk at an event called Green Platform at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.
Introduction: measuring what matters
“These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”.
Groucho Marx could also have been talking about environmental standards. [continue …]
Traditionally, the regeneration of a city has focused on its built fabric; architects and designers propose ways to upgrade or replace the old streets like the one above in St Etienne.
In City Eco Lab, the focus was less on buildings, than on activities that would [continue …]
IN THE BUBBLE: Le design pour un monde complexe
John Thackara, Revue Azimut, 2008. It’s available from 12 December – perfect timing as a gift for all your francophone friends this holiday season….
THE LONG DESCENT
John Michael Greer http://www.newsociety.com/bookid/4014
PERMACULTURE: PRINCIPLES AND PATHWAYS BEYOND SUSTAINABILITY
David Holmgren. Holmgren [continue …]
City Eco Lab asked: What would life in a sustainable St Etienne be like? and, in which ways can design help us get from here, to there?
The discovery, mapping and documentation of a territory’s natural, cultural, human resources is a key element in building resilience.
Designers and artists can [continue …]
I was mesmerised by last night’s tv ad for Westfield, a vast 150,000 square metre shopping mall that opens in West London next weekend. The ad features attractive and horny young people who turn into fairies. Fair enough, but they then start taking off and [continue …]
Totally lost amongst the financial news last week was discussion of a new report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb).
According to this EU-commissioned study, the global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking [continue …]
This chilling image, which I saw first at Core 77, is a visualization of space-junk by the European Space Agency.
The images (there’s a series) show all the satellites and human-made debris now orbiting space as a result of 51 [continue …]
“When George Thomas was eight he walked everywhere. It was 1926 and his parents were unable to afford the fare for a tram, let alone the cost of a bike and he regularly walked six miles to his favourite fishing haunt without adult supervision. Fast [continue …]
In the UK at least 20 local authorities have brought forward innovative answers to climate change. This roll call includes Woking, Kirklees, Barnsley, Nottingham, Braintree, and Merton. This cheering list is included in an excellent piece [continue …]
Neil McGuire asked me in his Wodcast interview with me whether I meant it when I said that design schools should be closed down.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has recruited two Nobel economists, Amartya Sen of India and Joseph Stiglitz of the US, to advise him on changing the way French economic growth is calculated. “We must change the way we measure growth,” said Sarkozy, adding that “the way gross national product [continue …]
In Sao Paulo before Christmas someone referred to me as a “doomer.”
I had not heard the word before, but was told that it describes sad, train-spotter-like people who can’t stop talking about peak oil, climate change, the instability of financial markets, the impending food crisis, and what John Michael Greer [continue …]
The term greenwashing applies when companies (or governments) spend more money or time advertising being green, than on investing in environmentally sound practices.
In business, greenwashing often means changing the name and/or label. Early warning signs that a product is probably toxic include images of trees, birds, or [continue …]
In an excellent piece in Metropolis , Peter Hall argues that “design schools need to rethink how they teach product design.” The subject is booming, Hall writes, and yet the world is filled with terrible products: cars that kill two people every minute; [continue …]
When I first visited India 20 years ago, the country had fewer design teachers for a population of more than a billion people than had Wales – whose population is three million. The supply of teachers seemed to be stuck because India had just one national public design school: the [continue …]
The culmination of Dott07’s year in North East England (where Doors is programming the content) will be a festival in October to celebrate the achievements, challenges and experiences of all those who have taken part in projects. Our dream for the Festival location is that it will inspire people [continue …]
Over the next 15 years, 3,500 UK schools will be rebuilt or refurbished in a seventy billion pound (110 billion euro) programme called Building Schools for the Future (BSF). The problem, as Joe Heapy explained to a meeting last week of the Dott 07 Explorers Club, is that [continue …]
In his review of Richard Lanham’s new book The Economics of Attention, Adrian Ellis says that “its core argument (is) that everyone is straining for distinction in a late capitalist global economy jammed with commodities and information, and that culture and creativity are what affords the producer the [continue …]
The new Coroflot, launched by Allan Chochinov and his colleagues this week, boasts a staggering 33,000 design portfolios and more than 135,000 registered users. Gross visitor numbers to Coroflot (and its sister site, Core77 ) are many times higher than that. A major attraction is Coroflot’s steady flow [continue …]
The Young Foundation has published a manifesto for social innovation Written by a team led by Geoff Mulgan, Social Silicon Valleys compares the vast investments made each year in scientific R&D (nearly 12 billion euros of public spending on R&D in the UK alone) with the piecemeal and marginal [continue …]
If a client offers you a budget of $1500 per person to design a large event for thousands of people, do you refuse? I don’t think so.
The environmental impact of large trade shows and conferences might be damaging – and the experience for those attending them may be impoverished – [continue …]
Is it time to put the future out of our misery?
Design can be valuable as a forecasting tool, and designers are great hunter-gatherers of ideas. We should develop that role further.
But we should not just look ahead in time, and not just look for technology trends.
In particular, we should look [continue …]
What, in broad terms, is happening to design right now? According to a new paper from RED in London, we are experiencing two important shifts: Firstly, in where design skills are being applied; and secondly, in who is doing the designing. A new discipline is emerging, they say, that [continue …]
I thought Iâ€™d escaped from the quicksands of of learning-speak when I completed the chapter on learning (which nearly did me in) for my book. But no! A new tsunami of learning lingo is upon us. Teachers having been exhausted by years of enforced modernisation, the hapless victims this [continue …]
As the author of a book on the subject, I’m disconcerted to see that a sniper has shot the main speaker at Complexity and Design in the eye. Is our subject that controversial?
Britain’s unhealthy obsession with formal education appears to be stressing out the country’s youngest children. A recent story in The Guardian reports that toddlers starting at nursery, after being at home since birth, experience high levels of stress in the first weeks after separating from their mothers, [continue …]
I received the extremely sad news from Helsinki that Jan Verwijnen has died, following a serious illness, at the age of 56. Many Doors people will know of Jan as leader of the Spark! project that we participated in not long ago. Sparkl! was an inspirational experience [continue …]
In this one-morning symposium on November 10, three eminent researchers discuss designing as form of research. Brenda Laurel, Gillian Crampton-Smith, and Kun-Pyo Lee will look at the ways design generates knowledge which can be used beyond the product at hand and thereby generate wholly new ideas. The event is hosted [continue …]
Where does the mind end and the world begin?
Until recently, philosophers tended to think of the nervous system as a glorified a set of message cables that connect the body to the brain. But philosopher Teed Rockwell thinks that the boundary between mind and world is a flexible one.
In his [continue …]
“Quiet in class!”. Silent attention to Teacher’s every word was the required mode of interaction when I was at school. Only speak when spoken to. Teachers themselves were judged by the quietness of their workspace; a noisy classroom meant they were not in sufficient control. All that seems to be [continue …]
A mesmerising shopping list of new ‘research infrastructures’ has been sent to the the European Commission by a committee of top scientists. These new toys – sorry, ‘tools’ – range from an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) for optical astronomy, to a research icebreaker called Aurora Borealis, and a [continue …]
What exactly is an ‘information society’ and do we want to live in one? The European Commission has published a new plan, called i2010 for ‘the completion of a Single European Information Space’. The Commission proposes an 80% increase in funding for ICT research focused on areas [continue …]
The catalogues published by design schools when students graduate are frequently over-designed, under-edited, and consequently hopeless as communication tools. A welcome exception is MAID from the industrial design masters programme at Central Saint Martins in London. I was able to find out from it what the tutors and students [continue …]
My parents have been plagued by a rising volume of junk telephone calls from telemarketing outfits. Imagine my incredulity when I saw on the BBC this morning that one of the leading firms calls itself The Listening Company. One of the people we have to thank for the [continue …]
One of the reasons I decided to live in France was attending a lecture by the philosopher Paul Ricoeur, who has just died at the age of 92. It was a rainy Monday evening five years ago, in February, in Montpellier – and yet more than 600 people crammed [continue …]
The European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, wants to create a European Institute of Technology to compete with MIT. According to one report, there’s a belief that â€œEuropeÂ needs an institution capable ofÂ bringing together its currently too-dispersedÂ scientific and teaching excellence”. Instead of creating one new institution, the EIT would [continue …]
This sounds like a fab summer engagement. Lucas Verweij, who Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design has been fortunate to land as its new Dean, is organising a summer school entitled ‘Big and Beautiful, Designing the Transformation of Rotterdam Harbour’. The two week course takes place at [continue …]
My book isn’t even out yet (the US publication date is on Friday; UK/Europe is at the end of May) and already someone has raised a sneaky question about its basic argument.Fast Company have a section in their book reviews called “Things We Didn”t Like” and they [continue …]
A new survey of front-line researchers in 25 EU countries reveals surprising devations from tech policy orthodoxy. The so-called Fistera Delphi (it’s a system for averaging the results of an opinon survey) asked experts, including this writer, to prioritise research priorities for 2010 and beyond. Strong endorsement was [continue …]