designing for life


CasaNetural, Matera, Italy


(Above: the @CasaNetural team in Ganges)

If the ‘souvenir’ of tomorrow were to be a reciprocal relationship between city people and a rural place, what would it be about?

Together with @CasaNetural, a hub in southern Italy, we looked for alternatives to the ‘visit-spend-leave’ model of mass tourism – for example, the opportunity to learn a skill from artisans, or farmers, as part-time ‘remote apprentices’.
CasaNetural, Matera, Italy

Ecological Restoration by Design, Schumacher College


On this short course at Schumacher College in 2017 (below), which we led with Lisa Maria Enzenhofer, we explored ecological restoration at multiple scales of geography and time. We went on a Deep Time Walk (below); looked at micro-environments in former factories; and met people working on regenerative agriculture; civic ecology, green infrastructure.

KTH, Stockholm


A ‘leave things better’ economy is emerging in civic ecology and green infrastructure, wetlands restoration, fibersheds, and Ecological Restoration Camps. At Sweden’s premier architecture school KTH  (below) we explored  the ways in which ecological restoration is not only multi-disciplinary; it also works at multiple scales of geography and time.

Back To The Land 2.0, Pontio, North Wales


If the health of people, and the places where we live, are connected, what kinds of business can help them thrive together? In September 2018, we’re helping launch a new Relational Design Masters with Pontio; students explore live approaches to innovation that are centered on people and place, tech enabled, and design-led. They will learn how, for example, to connect adventure sport with the $3 trillion wellness industry.

Grottole, Italy


Many city people yearn to reconnect with nature and the land – but city and rural are dis-connected. What are we to do about it? In southern Italy, we are working with @CasaNetural to develop a new kind of learning destination – a base from which to connect with farms, watersheds, bioregions, ecomuseums, food routes, industrial heritage, and agro-ecology.
Our approach at Wonder Grottole is to combine the “What Is?” with the “What If?” For example: shown is Giuseppe’s Ape (with a curious cargo). We ask:”What other services could the Apes of Grottole support?” In exploring that question, we look far and wide for inspiration – for example, Go-Jek in Indonesia.

Exhibition: Urban-Rural, Shanghai


Is the growth of cities over? In November 2019, the Zhangyan Harvests Festival, near Shanghai, explored diverse aspects of China’s emerging rural economy. As a festival centre piece, I curated an exhibition called “Urban-Rural”. It brought together projects to do with Soils, Making, Feeding, Clothing, Dwelling, and Learning. Just before the opening, I made this short – and 100% unofficial – film in which I show you around the exhibition.

Urban-Rural Exhibition – slideshare

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