Category Archives: resources

Three items on sustainable consumption

In closing out 2013 we look at three sustainable consumption items.

First, Rachel Botsman, over on Collaborative Consumption, attempts to define some terms found in the “sharing economy.” She uses visuals and examples to clarify the difference between “Collborative Economy,” “Collaborative Consumption” and “Sharing Economy.”

The Sharing Economy, defined

The Sharing Economy, defined via

Second, the new report “A Practice Perspective for Sustainability Policy Interventions” suggests that social practices are a better place to intervene than behavior, choice or technology. The writers describe practices as activities that “make up everyday life—showering, doing the laundry, cooking or driving—what we might call inconspicuous or ordinary consumption.” The authors argue that these practices, rather than the consumer’s isolated behaviors or particular technologies, are a better focus for analysis and policy to encourage sustainable consumption.

Third and finally, the World Economic Forum offers up another report on sustainable consumption, “Sustainable Consumption: Stakeholder Perspectives”. This report is part of series from WEF that also includes:

A few things to consider during this most consumptive of holiday seasons.


This week over on Thursday Inspiration we look at what we can subtract from the picture to increase levels of sustainability.

Design-for-3D Printing as community organizing

Weekend before last I went along to the London 3D print show to see the cutting edge of this emerging field. Very Interesting. There was a 3D printed car, along with other 3D printed items such as shoes, toys, medical models, equipment for international development, and even Thor’s hammer, as used in the feature film.Continue Reading

An event and a short paper on defining design activism

There are a couple of items here, an event and a paper. I’m chairing the upcoming event next week, Weds. 25th May. The talk is part of the “Scarcity Exchanges”  program of the research project, Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment. This session speculates on design and consumerism, looking particularly at available material andContinue Reading

Two Books: Architecture Depends & Change by Design

I wonder if I’m the only one who read Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (by Tim Brown) and Architecture Depends (by Jeremy Till) back to back. The effect was very interesting in that Brown seems to provide a description of design operating largely as Till suggests that it should,Continue Reading

The survey winner and more results

wishing you the best beats in the new year More results One of my fellow design activism bloggers (at Social Design Notes) asked if I would share more details of the survey results. Good Idea. I’ve created a list of the sources that people suggested for learning more about design activism. The responses are anonymizedContinue Reading

notes from England (North of London)

I recently visited the University of Manchester’s Architecture Research Centre (MARC) for a workshop on the Politics of Design. There were people at the workshop from all over the world and the program was provocative. In keeping with my previous geographic post, here I report on a few English initiatives that I came across atContinue Reading

a few notes from Seattle

On my recent visit to Seattle (prolonged by nine days thanks to Icelandic geology) I caught up with some of the interesting work of colleagues there working along the spectrum of sustainable design. rating sustainable communities First was the STAR Community Index program, an effort to “transform the way local governments set priorities and implementContinue Reading

activism at Arup and elsewhere

Although the recent ash cloud has stranded me in the US, I wanted to report on a talk I heard before leaving the UK in March. Peter Head, the sustainability lead for Arup, a worldwide engineering, design, and planning firm, has been on a Brunel Lecture tour for the Institution of Civil Engineers, visiting 23Continue Reading

book review: Design Activism — Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World

Alastair Fuad-Luke is a colleague of mine here in the UK and we sometimes end up speaking together or following in each other’s footsteps in one way or another. So I’m pleased to discuss here his recent book, Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for Sustainable World (hereafter referred to by the short title Design Activism) publishedContinue Reading

finding a job in sustainable design or a role in design activism

It’s the time of year when I start getting asked frequently about how to find a job in sustainable design–or a related question, where you can find a role as a design activist. working with a purpose Obviously there are no easy answers to these questions, but I have written a few relatively “timeless” postsContinue Reading