Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
New Ideas
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments Posted 04.01.08 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Thackara

City Eco Lab [April 2008]


This free monthly newsletter starts conversations on issues to do with design for resilience — and thereby reveals opportunities for action. It also brings you news of Doors of Perception events and encounters. Back issues are now archived on Design Observer. To subscribe to future newletters by John Thackara click here.

CITY ECO LAB
We have started work in earnest on City Eco Lab, a 'nomadic market of projects' that takes place in November in St Etienne, France. The concept is simple: literally millions of people are active in projects which, in different ways, are the building blocks of one planet living. These projects deal with different aspects of daily life: food, water, energy, mobility, school, and economy. But many of these projects are invisible, even locally. So it can feel, depressingly, as if nothing is happening. City Eco Lab, by making some of these projects visible to the wider populace, starts people talking about ways they might be improved - or about doing similar projects themselves. The live projects we are researching from the St Etienne region (it's an hour right from Lyon as you head south) will be shown side-by-side with best practice projects from other parts of the world. There will also be a tool shed with resources to help people improve their projects: tools for designing, tools for modelling and making things, tools for monitoring local flows, tools for finding and sharing resources.In the middle of this market (it's in a 5,000 square metre former gun factory) will be a campfire zone for encounters between citizens, project leaders, tool makers, and designers. The event is hosted by the St Etienne Cite du Design; its designers are Exyzt and Gaelle Gabillet. Yes, we do want your suggestions for best-practice projects to show next to the St Etienne projects: for now, a short email, a weblink and a pic will suffice:
john [at] doorsofperception [dot] com
Biennale Internationale Design 15-30 November 2008, Saint-Etienne.
http://www.citedudesign.com/2008.html

FREE DOTT 07 MANUAL OFFER
The offer of a free Dott 07 Manual is open for one more week. The Manual explores two questions: "What could life in a sustainable region be like?" and, "how can design can help us get there?" Here are some sample spreads: http://www.thackara.com/dott/dottexamples/index.html We will send five free copies to you if you tell us which four other people you will send a book to - someone likely to make other Dott-like events happen. Please send the names of your nominees, plus your full postal address, to: john [at] doorsofperception [dot] com (and please put Manual in the header).

T-SHIRT MILES
If cheap clothing chains used only bamboo and soyabean fibres, grew these plants 100% organically, and produced only locally, their t-shirts woud still not be sustainable. This is because of what happens when we get a garment home. The average piece of clothing is washed and dried 20 times in its life: 82 percent of its lifetime energy use, and over half the solid waste, emissions to air, and water effluents it generates, therefore occurs during laundering. I learned this in Kate Fletcher's excellent new book Sustainable Fashion and Textiles. Read more at:
http://www.doorsofperception.com/archives/2008/03/from_food_miles.php

MOBILE MONEY
Imagine a cashless economy where there's no paper, no plastic, no coins - just mobile banking. iAfrica reports that a virtual currency is is reaching critical mass there as pre-paid airtime is traded to exchange goods and services. At the touch of a button, value can stored as airtime in your cellphone and used to purchase items from your local street vendor. MTN Nigeria is among several companies supplying prepaid top-up cards also allow people living in the UK to buy airtime for members of family back home as a convenient alternative to sending small amounts of money home. Fact: More than 800 million mobile phones were sold in developing countries in the last three years.
http://business.iafrica.com/features/649690.htm

USE YOUR FEET TO REDUCE YOUR FOOTPRINT
"Walking is the Grand Central Station of life; it is the heart of community life, the backbone of fitness, the centrepiece of community security, the glue of transportation, the essence of learning and creativity (from no less a source that the Peripatetics of ancient Greece), the medium of romance, the humility of leadership, the heart of social and economic justice, and the exchange medium of the physical world". Chris Bradshaw, who wrote those words, is fantastically expert on everything to do with informal transportation - walking, and most cycling. He is also the owner of Pednet, the international mailing list for walking advocates and those promoting pedestrian rights.
http://www.flora.org/pednet/

USER-LED INNOVATION
Darren Sharp writes from Australia to anounce a new report on user-led innovation. It's based on in-depth interviews with leading thinkers on user-led innovation including: Eric von Hippel (MIT), Yochai Benkler (Harvard), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Siva Vaidhyanathan (Virginia), John Howkins (Adelphi Charter), Michel Bauwens (P2P Alternatives) and Mitch Kapor (Linden Lab).
http://smartinternet.com.au/ArticleDocuments/121/User_Led_Innovation_A_New_Framework_for_Co-creating_Business_and_Social_Value.pdf.aspx or http://tinyurl.com/5e7ttc [both 2.4 MB pdf downloads]

SPAM SPAM
I'm getting regular spam from The Survival Food Store with offers of long term storage food for times of emergency. Their copy editing leaves so much to be desired that I'm reluctant to eat their products. But you be the judge on whether or not to "stock up now and be ready when man made or natural disaster strike" (sic).
http://www.survivalfoodstore.com/

EXPENSIVE WATER
Severe water shortages in Barcelona have prompted the Catalan government to import drinking water by ship from Marseilles, not that far from where I live in southern France. Barcelona's water company, Aigues de Barcelona, is now installing port facilities in preparation. The seven tankers employed in the water supply will have a capacity of 28,000 cubic metres each; five will be used on the route between Tarragona and Barcelona, and two to transport water coming from the Rhone river in southern France, from Marseille to Barcelona. The cost of these emergency measures is estimated at 1.3 billion euros.
http://www.ansamed.it/en/spain/news/ME03.@AM19401.html

TIME TO START DIGGING?
Moving bags, moving people, moving goods: Logistics are life-critical for us all. I was therefore alarmed to read in Supply Chain Standard about logistics in the supermarket industry. On checking the software descriptors of 14,000 product lines, one analyst found one or more errors in the information lines of every single item contained. (A standard description has 200 attributes, but industry customers typically add up to 1,500 extra items of information on their own account). Many supermarkets admit to at least 35 percent data inaccuracy in their product files (says the industry's own in-house magazine). "It's little surprise", concludes the writer, that "retailers end up with little idea of what is in store, in transit, on order or at the warehouse". Supermarkets only have three days supply of food in stock at any one time... or so they think. So I don't know about you, but I'm reminded that this is planting season at my home in France: I need to get back and start digging. Supply Chain Standard January 2008 page 9 Penelope Ody

DESIGNING CONNECTED PLACES
A summer school in Pollenzo and Torino, Italy, addresses such topics as active welfare (health and well-being) open and safe places (social life and security) food networks (sustainable food systems) and multi-mobility (efficient urban mobility). Tuition costs and hospitality (food and accommodation) are covered by grants offered by the Torino 2008 World Design Capital; students will be responsible only for travel to/from Pollenzo; plus a notional fee of Euro 100.
Deadline for applications is 15 May 2008
http://www.torinoworlddesigncapital.it/portale/en/content.php?sezioneID=445

IN THE BUBBLE 2.0
In a welcome turn of events, In The Bubble is going to be published in Italian, French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese. I've reduced the whole thing to 100 pages, added three new chapters, and changed the sub-title to "design steps to a one planet economy". If you know of a publisher in a language other than those listed above, who might also be interested, do please drop me a line.

|
Share This Story

Comments

Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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….
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS