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John Thackara
Essays | Biography | Public Speaking | Publications | Projects | Doors of Perception | Subscribe | Books | Contact

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?

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Cloud Commuting

A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem.

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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.

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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.

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Energy: Thriving On Five Percent?

The modern city has been shaped by the availability of cheap oil and resources, and plentiful credit. Massive resource and energy flows have been used to build skyscrapers, heat and cool buildings, move and treat water, feed people, and move them and their goods around. This expansion of cities involved the stupendous use of energy.

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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?

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Conflict and Design

An exhibition in Belgium poses a timely challenge: When confronted by such complex issues as an ageing population, resource depletion, migration, or growing impoverishment, how are we to balance the desire to do something positive, with the need to understand the back story before we intervene?

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Shoe City vs Sole Rebels

Two radically opposed models of development are being born in Ethiopia at the same time. One is small, local, socially fair, and ecologically respectful. The other takes the globalisation of fashion to a new and more destructive level.

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A Whole New Cloth: Politics and the Fashion System

In fashion, despite more than 400 eco labels, an incremental ‘do less harm’ approach has addressed the symptoms, but not the principal cause, of our difficulties: an economy based on perpetual growth in a finite world. A new and global ‘leave things better’ politics affirms our co-dependency with living systems and the biosphere. The Commons, and the sharing or Peer-to-Peer economy, give shared meaning to this new politics. It is beginning to take practical form in the creation of foodsheds and fibersheds at the scale of the bioregion.

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The Dementia Care Economy

The G8 Dementia Summit made much of the fact that millions will now be spent in a race to identify a cure or a ‘disease-modifying therapy’ for dementia. In response to that grand promise, I argued that the appropriate way for nation states to spend money on dementia would be in the ratio: 95 per cent for Care, five percent for Big Research.

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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….


Newsletter


From March 2002 to September 2010, John Thackara sent out a monthly email newsletter: Doors of Perception Report. The newsletter contained short, opinionated texts about social innovation and design.
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Recent Book



In the Bubble: Desiging in a Complex World
John Thackara
The MIT Press, 2005
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JOHN THACKARA: RECOMMENDED BOOKS


Social Venturing
Robin Murray, Julie Caulier-Grice & Geoff Mulgan

the internet and everyone
John Chris Jones

Power and Love
Adam Kahane

Just Enough
Azby Brown

Hungry City
Carolyn Steele

Agriculture in Urban Planning: Generating Livelihoods and Food Security
Mark Redwood, editor

The New Economics
David Boyle and Andrew Simms

Just Enough: Lessons In Living Green From Traditional Japan
Azby Brown

Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys
Kate Fletcher

Animate Earth
Stephan Harding