sustainability & design

UK design policy becomes multi-scalar

An interesting rebound effect of public spending cuts in the UK is that the UK Design Council and CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) are to merge. The move brings UK policy for design, architecture and public space together in a single organization. The new entity will provide a one stop shop for […]

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The unwatched swatch?

If it is true that the world’s information base is doubling in size every 11 hours then a lot of eco-design information, that could be valuable for professionals, presumably goes un-noticed, and thus unused. In the past month alone, for example, I’ve come across two paper-based design tools that would seem to have great potential […]

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Silent tree hugging in Tenerife

The criminal over-development of the Canary Islands – and the loss of biodiversity and social capital that followed – was financed by the same banks and speculators that our governments are now trying so desperately to save. Given the desecration of these beautiful islands, the bankers who financed it all do not deserve to be […]

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Innovating our way to oblivion

(Summer re-run: first published 16 June 2008) Out-of-control buzzwords are like locusts: you can swat handfuls of them down with a bat, but more will come to take their place. I’ve been swatting away for ages in this blog at all things Conceptual, Cultural, Clustered and (especially) Creative. But now we’re suffering a massive counter-attack […]

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Requiem for a species

“It’s too late to avert catastrophic change. Our politics and institutions are too dysfunctional to make elegant adaptations. We’d better prepare ourselves for surviving as best we can”. Clive Hamilton’s new book Requiem for a Species is not for the faint-hearted. But my first reaction was to think: “So? what am I supposed to do […]

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Could ‘green’ energy kill the desert?

One of the more remarkale sights on my recent trip was this vast wind farm outside Palm Springs. Located on the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass in the San Bernadino Mountains, it contains more than 4000 separate wind turbines and provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. But for critics, large […]

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JT West: Experiencing Sustainability

Climate change, peak debt, peak energy: these are all stakes being driven into the body of business as usual. The days of acting as if infinite growth were possible within a finite system are over. Where does this leave (interaction) design? To find out you need to attend my talk on “Experiencing Sustainability” at IxDA […]

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Unplugged – or unhinged?

I’m reading reading a moving and important book by Sharon Astyk called “Depletion and Abundance: Life On The New Home Front”. Uniquely among recent books on life after the Peaks – energy, protein, biodiversity etc – Astyk does not write to scare us all witless. She does not write about elaborate ways to fix The […]

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The rain in Spain stays mainly in the Hog

Harvesting rainwater is key for any town or city determined to use its water sustainably. Rainwater HOG is a rain rescue and storage tank designed as a water-filled building block. It was conceived and developed by an Australian architect, Sally Dominguez, who had been designing drought-ready buildings but was frustrated by a lack of options […]

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