• August 20, 2015

    Today I’m proud to announce that my new book, How To Thrive In The Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today will be published by Thames & Hudson on 7 September; (the US edition comes out in December). Sample extracts from each of the ten chapters are here.
    [continue …]

  • April 23, 2015

    In myriad projects around the world, a new economy is emerging whose core value is stewardship, not extraction. Growth, in this new story, means soils, biodiversity and watersheds getting healthier, and communities more resilient. These seedlings are cheering, but [continue …]

  • February 26, 2015

    Under what circumstances would we become mindful stewards of living systems, not just their expoiters? The Dutch artist Annechien Meier re-connects us – viscerally, and emotionally – with our social and ecological surroundings.

    LAB 01 [continue …]

  • January 19, 2015

    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.

  • November 29, 2014

    Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 20.37.06

    (Above: A forest skills workshop in Big Tree Country)

    Last month I spent a day in a small town of 2,000 [continue …]

  • November 23, 2014


    On Saturday 12 December, together with Mansi Gupta, I’m running a workshop at the UnBox Festival in Delhi.

    We will develop the programme of [continue …]

  • October 18, 2014

    Public performance in Kisangani. Image © Studios Kabako
    Public performance in Kisangani. Image © Studios Kabako

    Studios Kabako, a dance company from Africa, is the winner of this year’s 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize, an important international award. Using [continue …]

  • October 2, 2014

    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 …]

  • September 1, 2014

    soil-tasting B

    Xskool on Grinda
    UnBox in India

    Forthcoming events


    Fifty designers, artists and architects spent a week at our Xskool on Grinda last month to explore two questions: What does this food system taste like? and, How does this forest think?

    One team [continue …]

  • June 21, 2014



    We’ve invested huge resources over the ages to keep the man-made world, and nature, separate – but there are signs everywhere that those those priorities are changing. Working through the consequences of that is a challenge [continue …]

  • June 20, 2014

    I spent the last two weeks in-and-around a care home in England that looks after people with dementia and terminal illness, and their families – including, this time, mine.

    In four wings, each with 12 residents, 24/7 care is provided by teams of trained professionals who work [continue …]

  • May 13, 2014

    People go hungry not because of a shortage of production, but because the food available is too expensive, or they lack the land to grow it on. In California, the prototype of a combined social, political and technical  solution has been launched which promises to unlock the food system crisis.

    [continue …]

  • May 7, 2014

    This is the text of my talk at the OuiShare Festival in Paris today. 

    Did any of you wander around in a group last night – trying to agree on a place to eat?

    Welcome to the sharing economy!

    Sharing is hard! And that’s just about one meal.

    Think about the food [continue …]

  • April 2, 2014

    The Tending and Grooming Station (below) is a wondrous collection of combs, brushes and other obscure (to me) gadgets. They are used to primp and revive pre-loved sweaters and cardigans that have been disfigured by bobbles and pilling – those unattractive fuzz balls that appear when short fibers misbehave on woolen garments. 

    [continue …]

  • March 25, 2014

    A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem 

    Mobilotoop taxi-van

    The signs on the small van describe the services it supports: Taxi; Pick-up; Delivery; Assistance; Vendor; Security; Rental.

    Seven [continue …]

  • March 18, 2014

    A new scheme in England connects office workers with living systems by means of a ‘wild mirror’: each workspace is twinned with an equivalent area of ecosystem regeneration. 

    HUMMTREE PIC [continue …]

  • March 5, 2014

    On Friday 14 March I’m doing a talk and discussion in Dublin.


    (Image: Richard Giblett)

    To effect system-level change – in health, energy, food, or mobility [continue …]

  • March 1, 2014

    In Sharing Energy In The City, EDF and the the French National Research Agency (ANR) have challenged designers to rethink the production, harvesting, distribution, use, exchange and consumption of energy in our everyday life. They asked me to submit this text as fuel for the discussion.

    [continue …]

  • February 14, 2014

    In China, ‘battery-bikes’ are outselling cars by four-to-one. Pedelec sales are soaring in Europe, too.  Is this the start of system-wide phase-shift in transportation?

    At a workshop in Delhi last year, during the UnBox Festival, I posed the following question to a group of 20  design, transport, and city [continue …]

  • January 22, 2014

    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?

    Screen Shot 2013-12-20 <a href= [continue …]

  • January 12, 2014

    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 …]

  • January 5, 2014

    In fashion, despite more than 400 eco labels, an incremental ‘do less harm’ approach has addressed the symptoms, but not the principal cause, of our difficulties: an economy based on perpetual growth in a finite world. A new and global ‘leave things better’ politics affirms our co-dependency with living systems [continue …]

  • December 19, 2013

    Yesterday’s G8 Dementia Summit made much of the fact that millions will now be spent in a race to identify a cure or a ‘disease-modifying therapy’ for dementia.  The likely outcome will be the creation of a Dementia Industrial Complex – and the mass production of un-met expectations.A better way for [continue …]

  • December 16, 2013

    “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 …]

  • November 23, 2013


  • October 20, 2013

    My hosts last week at the Asia Pacific Design Library in Brisbane (which, on reflection, is probably the finest new library I have been in) asked me a few questions before our xskool:

    Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

    A: When I’m on the road, which [continue …]

  • September 13, 2013

    [Photograph: Hans Sylvester]

    Interni and the Be Open Foundation are publishing a book, called Gallery Of The Senses, that explores the ways we experience the contemporary world through sight, hearing,smell, taste, and touch. It then asks: Are we missing a sixth sense? Here is my contribution. 

    Humanity’s troubles did not begin with [continue …]

  • September 5, 2013

    Ivan Illich

    In 1996, Ivan Illich (above) agreed to speak at Doors of Perception in Amsterdam on the theme of  ‘speed’. The philosopher-educator surprised [continue …]

  • September 5, 2013


    In 1996, when Ivan Illich agreed to speak at Doors of Perception in Amsterdam, our theme that year was ‘speed’. The philosopher surprised us by bringing along two fellow speakers: Sebastian Trapp, a field biologist, and Matthias Rieger, a [continue …]

  • September 5, 2013

    falcon in flight

    Reflecting on the ways that swallows move about the earth reminded me of the time, in 1996, when Ivan Illich agreed [continue …]

  • September 3, 2013








    As an artefact, the swallows’ nest is not exactly the Taj Mahal. It’s a ramshackle structure, made of mud pellets and straw, that’s stuck crookedly to the wall. But it seems to suit them well – or rather, the surrounding habitat does.

    swallow nests [continue …]

  • August 26, 2013

    A hand, a map, a story: In each of 30 photographs made by Céline Boyer, a cartographic fragment of someone’s country of origin is projected onto the subject’s own hand. Cities, seas, rivers, roads and borders are glimpsed.

    13010114 PARENTHESES R°-9 [continue …]

  • August 22, 2013

    aa XSKL FP herbs presentation

    In what ways can design help people interact with living systems in ways that help both of them thrive? And, what small practical steps might one take to test the effect of small actions on the system as [continue …]

  • June 30, 2013

    On Getting Out Of The Tent
    Xskool in Sweden: Design Within Living Systems
    How To Use A Fringe-Dwelling Change Agent
    Most-Read Stories
    Recent Publications

    Doors at 20: On getting out of the tent
    Nearly twenty years ago, in November 1993, the year the web was invented, the first Doors of [continue …]

  • June 26, 2013

    [Above: somewhere on the island of Grinda in the Stockholm Archipelago., where FuturePerfect takes place 14-18 August).

    What are social-ecological systems? How do you design in them? What new skills do we need to do so? These three questions inform a Doors of Perception xskool that takes place in August as part of the  [continue …]

  • June 25, 2013

    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 …]

  • June 9, 2013

    [Illustration from http://www.hhs.gov/open/initiatives/hdi/]

    By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has [continue …]

  • June 3, 2013


    I’m totally thrilled that my book has just been published in Spanish by my fabulous friends at Editorial Disegnio in Mexico City. Please tell everyone you know, once met, or vaguely heard of, who is Spanish-speaking, and who [continue …]

  • May 24, 2013

    (Illustration: Sameer Kulavoor Ghoda Bicycle Project)

    At a workshop in Delhi a few weeks back, during the [continue …]

  • May 10, 2013

    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 [continue …]

  • April 17, 2013

    The UK government’s digital services platform, gov.uk, has won the Design of the Year award – and if I were running a big IT consulting firm grown fat on big government contracts, I’d be worried.

    Gov.uk is a revolutionary web operation that governments around the world are beginning to [continue …]

  • March 19, 2013

    Over the ages we’ve invested huge amounts of effort and energy to keep cities and nature separate. What would it mean if that were about to change? 

    [continue …]

  • March 9, 2013

    (Photo: Mapping a bioregion with plants – Joachim Robert Cyanotype workshop at FuturePerfect 2012)

    In what ways can design [continue …]

  • February 3, 2013

    [The chart above is from the online catalogue of cargo bikes at Nutzrad]

    India’s many millions of bicycle and [continue …]

  • January 29, 2013

    (Image from http://openwear.org/)

    In recent months a working party in India, chaired by Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & [continue …]

  • January 13, 2013

    The term metabolic rift describes the alienation between humans and nature that opened up with the growth of the the modern economy. Could the growth of [continue …]

  • December 5, 2012

    Good news from Germany: A ‘global transformation of values has already begun’. It’s proving tough to leverage changing attitudes into sustainable behaviour – but a transition to a more sustainable society ‘would be welcomed by a significant part of world society’.

    In a 400-page report called World in Transition: [continue …]

  • December 2, 2012

    Computer rendering by Christian Kerrigan.

    Rachel Armstrong, who develops synthetic biology applications for the built environment, believes it could be possible to grow an artificial limestone reef [continue …]

  • October 22, 2012

    [Above: for CRIT, Mumbai may look a mess – but the city enjoys ‘high transactional capacities’]

    The big Audi that collected us from Istanbul airport [continue …]

  • October 4, 2012

    In Lars von Trier’s 2003 film Dogville (below) there is almost no set. Buildings in the town are represented by a series of white outlines on the floor. Dogville was a to-the-limit exercise in what von Trier calls ‘pure cinema’ – a commitment to use only real locations, and no special effects [continue …]