“It’s already happening”- a message to COP21



With fewer than three weeks to go until the start of COP21, the UN’s climate negotiations in Paris, a question arises: Will this gathering make the slightest difference?

For Rob Hopkins, editor of a new book from Transition Network, 21 Stories of Transitionanswer is yes – but a different kind of yes than the global leaders meeting in Paris probably have in mind. He wants decision makers to reimagine their role as being ‘community enablers’ whose task is to deepen, connect and extend initiatives that are already out there.

A huge upsurge in transformative local projects is evident around the world, argues Hopkins; the priority is not for global leaders to start things off from scratch – still less, to tell people what to do.

Although Hopkins says we should not expect a ‘Great Change Moment’ at COP21, he does compare our situation Read More »

Posted in [no topic] | Leave a comment

Between a rock and a doctorate

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 11.35.30

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 ago, after some especially violent rainstorms, stones and debris started falling onto the road.

Soon, an impressive crew arrived to stabilise the rock face.

One team of engineers made holes in the rock face with a huge robotic drill. Four yards long, it was mounted on the arm of a digger. They put large pegs in the holes, and made them secure with exotic polymer composites.

Higher up the rock face was a team of climbing engineers. Clad in bright red rubber suits for protection, they draped Read More »

Posted in [no topic] | 1 Response

#ThackaraThrive Speaking Dates

Saturday 3 October, Architecture Day, Antwerpen
Artesis Plantijn University (details to follow)

Thursay 8 October, Riga, RIXC Renewable Futures Congress
Keynote: Green Hacking

Saturday 10 October, Ilkley, UK Ilkley Literary Festival
Shaping The Future strand

Tuesday 13 October,Bristol Bristol, New Economy Summit

Tuesday 13 October, London London, Design Museum,
Conversation with Read More »

Posted in [no topic] | Leave a comment

My new book: How To Thrive In The Next Economy

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.

It would be terrific if you would help spread the word about the book using the hashtag #ThackaraThrive and this url: http://doorsofperception.com/thackarathrive/ Read More »

Posted in sustainability & design, transition and resilience | 1 Response

Food Systems, Bioregions, Design: Join Us In Sweden on 9 August

Five residency places are available for professionals or grad students to join our summer school in Sweden – as explained here. Here is my text Bioregions: Notes On A Design Agenda. See also the course page of our partner, Konstfack, here. The summer school FB page is here.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 18.49.36

(Above: our school house)

The one week event runs from next Sunday, 9 August, for seven days. As a Resident, you don’t get the 7.5 credits – but you do get to join an amazing group for Read More »

Posted in place & bioregion, sustainability & design | Leave a comment

Summer Reading: Handouts and Reading Lists

On Regarding The Pain Of The Planet – A Reader
Why is it that shocking stories and images fail to change things? Are there different ways of knowing the world, than merely looking?

The True And Hidden Costs Of Stuff
Do you simply love iPhones, wind turbines, cloud computing, the circular economy, and electric cars? Good, because the following may be of interest.

Design and Energy: Thirteen Great Writers
If you suspect, but cannot prove, that modern life simply does not add up, you’ll love these writers: They explain why you’re right. 

How To Make Our Own Money – A Reading List
Money, and the myth of a perpetual growth economy, lies behind many of the difficulties we face. The good news: Many smart people are busy designing replacements for the ecocidal money system we have now.

Food Systems and Design – A Reader
A reading list for designers, artists and architects. Its divided into four parts: Big Picture, Small Picture, Design Opportunities, and Knowledge Sharing. Read More »

Posted in most read | Leave a comment

Bioregions: Notes On A Design Agenda

Michelle Cockiing

Photo: Michelle Cocking

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 when it comes to binding diverse groups together around a common agenda, something more is needed. We need a compelling story, and a shared purpose, that people can relate to, and support, whatever their other differences. 

For me, a strong candidate for that connective idea is the bioregion. Beginning with a short reflection on the power of such a story, and what’s already out there, this text describes what the elements of a design agenda for bioregions might be. As a work-in-progress, it will evolve in forthcoming conferences and Doors of Perception Xskools. If staging an xskool could be of interest in your bioregion, do get in touch. 

1. A story that connects
2. Scope of a bioregion
3. Learning and design agenda
4. New skills and partnerships
5. Getting started

1. A story that connects

In myriad projects around the world, a new economy is emerging whose core value is Read More »

Posted in most read, place & bioregion | 1 Response

Food, bioregions, design: Doors of Perception Summer Xskool

house and shop

[Above: our venue for the summer Xskool is the cultural-ecological community at Hjulsjö ]

Farmers’ markets as hubs of knowledge exchange? Food waste as a social enterprise? Pollinator pathways across an ecological region? This year’s summer Xskool is about food systems as a key element in a design agenda for bioregions. We will ask: What are the key social-ecological systems in this place? How night one design in them? How does one get started? Doors of Perception partners once again with Konstfack, together with Art Academy of Latvia. For students in the 42 European Economic Area countries, the (7.5 credits) course is free apart from your travel to Sweden and food on site. Read More »

Posted in place & bioregion | Leave a comment

Laboratory for Microclimates

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

[Above: De-paving begins in Arnhem. Photo: Laboratory for Microclimates]

Human beings are clever in many ways, but our attention is easily distracted from the support systems that our lives depend on – food, water, soil, and climate. Paved surfaces, and pervasive media, amplify our tendency to leave living systems out of sight, and out of mind. This prompts a question: Under what circumstances would we connect with, and look after, the living systems we depend on? Read More »

Posted in art & perception, infrastructure & design | Leave a comment