Ecology

Laura Scherling
A Tale of Long Island City: Between Industrialization, Innovation, and Gentrification
The multi-faceted aspects of development in Long Island City, with creative and technological development deeply ingrained in it’s rich urban identity and history.


Steven Heller
The Plastic Wars
Thoughts on the plastic wars from Steven Heller.


Andre Barnet
The Age of Wreckers and Exterminators
For many people, the sudden appearance of Carson’s and Jacobs’s brilliant and prescient books was one of those moments that seem, in retrospect, to have changed the very order of things.


Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Botanicals
Each of us has a connection to nature — a primal response to certain landscapes — yet we don’t always use it as raw material for our own work.



John Thackara
Food As A Commons
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.


John Thackara
Keep Your Stuff Alive
What would fashion be like if it was more than a an act of consumption with no meaning beyond the point of sale? What kind of system would improve the quality of our fashion experience without increasing the quantity we consume?


John Thackara
A ‘Wild Mirror’ For Desk-Bound Workers
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.



John Thackara
Summer Xskool in Sweden
This year’s Doors of Perception Summer Xskool explores what it can mean in practice to move from a ‘do less harm’ approach to sustainability to a practice of leave things better.



John Thackara
Caloryville: The Two-Wheeled City
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?


John Thackara
Ecuador, Open Knowledge, and ‘Buen Vivir’: Interview With Michel Bauwens
John Thackara interviews Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, is to lead a strategic policy project for Ecuador’s government called Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK), also known as the social knowledge economy project.


John Thackara
John Thackara on Avatar
John Thackara is a writer, speaker and design producer, and director of Doors of Perception. In addition to this blog, he is the author of twelve books including In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World and Wouldn't It Be Great If….



John Thackara
Between Sorrel And Supertanker
John Thackara reviews the recent Doors of Perception xskool.


John Thackara
Green Tourism: Why It Failed And How It Can Succeed
At a conference with 300 travel industry professionals, John Thackara ponders the successes, failures and potential in the Green Tourism industry.


John Thackara
Trust Is Not An Algorithm
By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it?



John Thackara
A Roof, A Skill, A Market
The Nubian Vault Association has evolved a unique approach to housing in West Africa that creates three kinds of value within local economies: a roof, a skill and a market.


John Thackara
The Ecozoic City
How humans are reintegrating their endeavours into a larger ecological consciousness.


John Thackara
Healing The Metabolic Rift
John Thackara on the possibilities and issues global business leaders will face at the 2013 World Economic Forum.


John Thackara
Venice: from Gated Lagoon to Bioregion
A review of the options that Venice faces in trying to shore up the city.


John Thackara
From Autobahn to Bioregion
A review of the projects submitted to the Audi Urban Future Award.



Observed
Design Indaba Online FilmFest
Design Indaba's online film festival features 10 of the Focus Forward short films.


Rob Walker
Killing for Beautiful Objects
A report on the ivory trade reminds us of the uniquely human willingness to kill for beautiful objects.


John Thackara
How To Manage a Constellation
To solve complex and interconnected human-environment challenges, like the death of the Baltic Sea, we need to build ‘social-ecological coalitions’ or ‘constellations’.


John Thackara
Old Growth
The tale of a furniture giant and the possible ecological happy ending.


John Thackara
Top Down Nature
An overview of Bordeaux 55,000: a project to explore ‘how best to transform 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) into natural areas’.


John Thackara
The Other Green Economy
People the world over are divided between radically different conceptions of their future: resource-intensive production on the one side, versus regenerative land-based enterprises, and mosaics of micro-enterprises, on the other.


John Thackara
Istanbul: City of Seeds
Rather than dream up exotic visions of “what could be”, an xskool looks for social and natural assets that already exist – and grows from there.


John Thackara
Oil-Powered Thinking
Why is it that countervailing facts don’t change things in our evidence-based world? And what might we do about it?


John Thackara
Zurich Eco Lab
A report on the Zurich's thriving urban eco culture.


John Thackara
Design In The Light of Dark Energy
A shortened version of a talk on why the world has to reduce energy consumption, the five per cent energy solution and some of the people around the world who are leading the way.



John Thackara
A Reading List for Mr. Mario Monti
A (mostly) online list of readings for the new Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Monti, and anyone else who is ready for a cold hard look at our energy resources and options.


John Thackara
From Druids to Biorefineries: Innovation in a Small Nation
Small nations can be flexible in ways that big one cannot.



Courtney Drake, William Drenttel, and Deirdre Cerminaro
Design and the Social Sector: An Annotated Bibliography
This bibiography surveys the literature of social design — the spectrum from design process and thinking to the zones of social innovation.



Julie Lasky
MSC Greenhouse Project
On learning about science, nutrition and politics at the Manhattan School for Children.


Chappell Ellison
How Do I Know It’s Faux?
If you want to go faux, you might have to call in a fur expert.



John Thackara
Green Issues in Communication Design
Why do companies get environmental awards for polluting less, even though they are still polluting?


John Thackara
A Lesson from Cornwall
I've always loved lichen. I found this one in Cornwall’s Biodiversity Action Plan and chose it as a beautiful asset that already exists in the county.



John Thackara
Could Green Energy Kill the Desert?
Large scale wind power might not be as green as you think.



John Thackara
Whole, Whole on the Range
As a juror on the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, John Thackara reviews the highlight.



Timothy Jack Ward
Gardens and Their Designers
When I loaded up my Budget truck and moved from New York to our nation’s capital, the last thing on, and the first thing off, was my plants.



Mark Dery
Paradise Fouled
Review of Crude, Joe Berlinger's documentary film about a lawsuit filed against Chevron by denizens of the Ecuadorean Amazon.



John Thackara
Fish Systems and Design
Though gloomy predictions say we could see the end of seafood by 2048, several initiatives are rethinking the way we acquire fish.



John Thackara
Make Sense, Not Stuff
John Thackara presents a three-step plan to connect design schools to the green economy.



John Thackara
Design for (Im)mobility: Interview with Domus
John Thackera defines and explains the importance of ethnoecology.



John Thackara
Global Place — Or is it a Hat?
We must view the world with a new slant and take advantage of a huge design opportunity to create sustainable structures for the future.



John Thackara
Cities, Design and Democracy: Conversation with Sunil Abraham in Cluster
John Thackara and Sunil Abraham sit down for an in-depth interview with Cluster Magazine.



John Thackara
Interior Design at War [April 2003]
Report on design in the war in Afghanistan, the Pearl River Delta in China, the Media Lab Europe (MLE), the 50th anniversary of the German Design Council, New Mobility, and more.



Observed | July 30

A new director for New York’s Museum of Arts and Design—the 11th one, in fact. [JH]

A closer look at the economics of Black pop culture reveals that most Black creators (outside music) come from middle-to-upper middle class backgrounds, while the Black poor are written about but rarely get the chance to speak for themselves. [BV]

How Katsushika Hokusai’s “Under the Wave off Kanagawa” emerged from Japan’s isolation to become a global icon. [BV]

Nissan teamed up with sound designers at Bandai Namco, the gaming company known for Pac-Man and Tekken to create more musical warning sounds. (via Kottke)[BV]

A brave—and brilliant—essay about the perils of sameness in design. [JH]


Observed | July 23

What is the opposite of design forward—design backward? (Like a good vintage wine?) Apparently not! [JH]

Global intuitive cryptology, an installation by Hayal Pozanti at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in New York. [JH]

An insightful essay by Jarrett Fuller on the impact and legacy of Cranbrook’s graphic design program. [JH]

Photographer Bryan Sansivero has spent years exploring and documenting homes across Upstate New York that have been left to the ravages of time. (Don’t miss the Clown House.) [JH]


Observed | July 16

Google Head of Product Inclusion—and author of Building For EveryoneAnnie Jean-Baptiste on better design practices. [JH]

AOC, master of the modern visual: a beautiful essay by ALexandra Lange. [JH]

An extraordinary new seriwes of books (three of them, slipcased) on Swiss graphic design history. [JH]

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon changed the world of design with her life-sized graphics. A new collaboration with filmmaker Gary Hustwit is designed to introduce her to a new generation of design lovers. [BV]

Is Artificial Intelligence...a design problem? [JH]

In fiction, the contemporary art world is, more often than not, represented as a ridiculous shell game in which empty provocation is propped up by canny marketing and rampant financial speculation. [BV]

Will there ever be a place to sit down in Moynihan Station? [BV]

Reimagined movie posters from Patrick Concepcion. (Via Allan Chochinov/Jason Kottke.) [JH]

Wolfgang Weingart, widely credited as the father of New Wave typography, has died. He was 80. [JH]

“His recent installations sweep us in, sometimes entertain, then ask us to step back and consider images and feelings that seem too full, too immediate, to consider.” The internationally acclaimed artist Christian Boltanski has died in Paris. He was 76. [JH]

Saved from a dumpster, glass negatives reveal life in Massachusetts in the nineteenth century. (Via Don Whelan.) [JH]

The UK filmmaker Paul Bush is known for his stop-motion animations using repurposed objects. In his nostalgic short Ride, he finds his muse in theiconic motorcycles of the 1950s and ’60s. [BV]


Observed | July 06

Where’s our flying-car future? Maybe it’s finally a little closer, thanks to AirCar. [BV]


Observed | June 30

“In the infinite collection of gigantic, dwarven, elongated, flattened, skeletal, microscopic, grotesque, gnarled typefaces that grows everyday,” wrote Alphonse to Boissieu in 1854, “it is surprising that no one has thought of reproducing the beautiful antique letter whose proportions are so fortunately and wisely combined...” More on epigraphy—the study of ’exposed writings‘—and on Mercure, the new typeface from Fonderie Abyme, here [JH]


Observed | June 25

Parsing the pixels to discern truth from falsehood: truth and consequences in the deepfake era. [JH]


Observed | June 24

A touching exchange between two wonderful art directors, brought together by unlikely circumstances: Steve Heller and Véronique Vienne reflect on creativity, a chronic illness, and everything in between. [JH]



Jobs | August 05