Home2022-07-28T11:53:00+00:00

The (Design) Journey Back To Local

I did a 30 minute talk last October for Allan Chochinov’s Products of Design class at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City. Here is the video - and below are the main points, followed by a transcript. MAIN POINTS You and I use more energy & resources in single month than our great-grandparents used during their whole lifetime. And we’re doing so on a finite planet. The science says we can thrive in future - but only if we meet our every day needs using five percent of the energy and material throughputs we’re using now. That’s a Factor 20 reduction. That number sounds impossible, so scientists don’t talk about it much. Their reticence is easy ... [continue ...]

July 3rd, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

Back To The Land 2.0: Some JT Videos

These videos introduce the annual Back To The Land 2.0 summer school in Sweden that I run together with Konstfack (Cheryl Akner-Koler) and Annika Göran-Rodell. See also my 2022 Back To The Land 2.0 Reading List. Nine ways to intervene in a food system Thirty minute video from 2014 - but still relevant. Starts at 3m:- Mapping Local Resources- Connecting Growers & Citizens- New Co-operatives- Participation of Young People- Re-Use of Buildings and Spaces- Seeds and Seed Banking- Herbs, Foraging- Connected Garden- Adapt Other Practice Social Food Forum, Matera, Italy (3m, 2019– 15 social food curators meet in Italy

June 20th, 2022|Categories: Feeding, Urban-Rural, [no topic]|

New MeetUp dates

more about a MeetUp

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News & Latest|

Sustainability You Can Touch

Ganges, 15 June 2022 CONTENTSSustainability You Can TouchOpen School for Village HostsAI and sustainability: new talkBack To The Land Reade SUSTAINABILITY YOU CAN TOUCH (EDITORIAL)I was stupefied when I read this text in 2020: “CEO Anne Rigail announces that Air France will offset all carbon emissions from the 450 domestic flights it runs daily. It will do so by funding projects to plant trees, protect forests, transition to sustainable energy, or protect biodiversity” A few days later, EasyJet went even further. It declared that it would be the "first carbon-neutral airline company in the world.”https://worldcrunch.com/tech-science/carbon-offsetting-tree-hugger-dream-or-greenwashing-scam. By what possible logic, I thought then, can it be ‘carbon neutral’ to propel 450 objects into the air, and across Europe, when each of ... [continue ...]

June 18th, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

Back To The Land 2.0

This reading list is for students on the summer course I run together with Konstfack, in Sweden. These texts span new ways to think about food and food systems - how to be, as well as what to do, in a food context. Download the Reading List 'Back to the Land 2.0'     Download

June 15th, 2022|Categories: Commoning, Handouts & Lists, Urban-Rural|

From Control, to Kinship: Ecological Restoration in a More Than Human World

The following is a transcript of my keynote talk on 29 May at Quantum(Quantum(Quantum()))): Artificial Imagination - the 2022 aai International Conference on art(ai) hosted by Tongji University in Shanghai. The video is here. Six months ago, in a talk titled Beyond Calculation, about AI and Sustainability, I asked whether artificial intelligence could be enough, on its own, to drive the ecological transition we so desperately need. My key point then: a just transition will happen when we see nature differently, relate to nature differently, and understand the purpose of development differently. That’s a big challenge. Transformation on that scale can seem un-imaginable from the perspective of today. So can AI change the way we experience and understand the world? ... [continue ...]

June 10th, 2022|Categories: Knowing, transition & design|

Ideas for the City That Cares: Ezio Manzini’s new book, Livable Proximity

Below is my review of LIVABLE PROXIMITY: Ideas for the City that Cares, by Ezio Manzini (with a contribution by Ivana Pais). This review appears in the June 2022 edition of She Ji A city that cares brings new meaning and vitality to a world exhausted by a focus on concrete, and consumption. In these inspirational pages, the word local is brought back to life by the pre-eminent social designer of our time. Ezio Manzini reveals a design practice which enhances the social, spatial, and relational qualities of the places where we live. The publication of Livable Proximity could not be more timely. Its arrival comes at a moment when globalisation may have peaked. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, said ... [continue ...]

April 28th, 2022|Categories: Caring, Reviews, Urban-Rural|

Tonantsintlalli – a multidimensional Mother Earth


Can indigenous knowledges help us inhabit our own places in a more adaptive and responsive ways? Can connection with these kinds of lived experience help us redefine development, and progress in our own situations? The text below is my introduction to Tonantsintlalli - a multidimensional Mother Earth presented by Desiree Hernandez Ibinarriaga & David Marcelino Cayetano @blakdotgallery Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia “The destruction will stop when we see nature differently, relate differently, understand our purpose here differently”. Those words - from the Spanish priest and philosopher Raimon Pannikar - surely ring true. But how would such a transformation happen? Most of us feel trapped in world that is mesmerised by all things digital, and framed by a form of scientific knowledge ... [continue ...]

April 15th, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

Newsletter: Microbes and Social Equity. Tools for Changemakers. Meetups & Offsites

Microbes and Social Equity Tools for Changemakers Multi-Species Cities Design for Planet School for Village Hosts Meetups/Retreats Offsites for Teams MICROBES AND SOCIAL EQUITY (VIDEO) Ninety nine percent of life is invisible - so how do we design for that? To begin that conversation, I talked with Dr. Suzanne Ishaq - a microbiome researcher and founder of the Microbes and Social Equity working group. youtube.com/watch?v=cdFaJLt89ck&t=1528s TOOLS FOR CHANGEMAKERS (VIDEO) Mutualaid. Local money. Collaborative care. Alternative futures are being created around the world - but not, for the most part, in plain sight. I talked with David Bollier about his new book which brings dozens of social projects like these to the fore. youtube.com/watch?v=iiOLJgbCsO4&t=485s YOUTUBE (OUR NEW CHANNEL) Please consider ... [continue ...]

March 24th, 2022|Categories: News & Latest, [no topic]|

Open School for Village Hosts

The Open School for Village Hosts - a pan-European Erasmus+ project - has been launched in Barcelona. Above: project partners meeting at Elisava earlier this month. (This post is a preview: the project's website will be launched shortly). Village Hosts bring new social, economic and ecological life to small villages and their local economy.  They create new livelihoods, and good work, in emerging urban-rural markets: positive-impact tourism, nature reconnection, adventure sports, farm-shares, learning journeys, wellness retreats, work-vacations, heritage trails, and more. To realise these opportunities, Village Hosts seek out and connect assets that may already exist in a community, but are unknown, or isolated: people, places, buildings, and skills. Based on these new connections, Village Hosts develop services sustained by ... [continue ...]

March 24th, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

Design for Multi-Species Cities

What would it mean to practice design in the knowledge that the well-being of humans, and non-humans, is inter-connected? A recent design workshop at Milan Polytechnic explored just this question: practical ways to make cities hospitable for all of life, not just human life. 'Driade', Alessia Pinna| Clarissa Cuoccio | Heitor Lobo Campos | Mika Lessmann | Innocenzo De Risola Students were challenged to design an artefact, an intervention, or an experience, from one of these three aspects of green infrastructure: Soil Care, Composting, Fermentation Trees, Microparks, Edible Forests Microbiome Inspired Green Infrastructure (MIGI)

March 7th, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

“An inspiring design”

For its inaugural meeting, @designcouncil asked its eight Design For Planet Fellows, of which I am one, to share "an inspiring design". I chose a publication called Regenerative Empathy - and below I explain why. “Place” wrote Simone Weil, “is a doorway into caring. Love of place can unite people across diverse ideological spectra. It can unleash the personal and political will for the profound changes we need to make”. But healthy places are alive, and filled with dynamic interactions. In what practical ways can design engage with places as living systems? Ways that are regenerative, and not its opposite? This document, Regenerative Empathy, describes a design project in 2018 about just that question: How to design new relationships ... [continue ...]

February 28th, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

Microbes and Social Equity – Dr Sue Ishaq in conversation with John Thackara

The more we learn about life on earth, the clearer it becomes that the well-being of humans, and of non-humans, is inter-connected. They are a single story. Sustainable design, in this context, means designing for all of life - not just human life. That’s a big step! Not so long ago, human-centered design was considered progressive in itself - and now we have to design for all of life? All of life is not just large, visible lifeforms - like trees, or bears. It also includes microbes that are all around us, and inside us - but invisibly. Ninety nine percent of life, it turns out, is invisible - so how do we design for that? To begin that ... [continue ...]

February 15th, 2022|Categories: [no topic]|

My newsletter: Meetup dates | Regenerative Design in China | Back To The Land 2.0

Dates for my Meetups/Retreats in 2022 YouTube Channel Nature Reconnection: Hour of Ecology Project Regenerative Design in China School for Village Hosts in Europe Back To The Land Summer School in Sweden Recent Publications THACKARA MEETUPS PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT & SUMMER DATES After a two-year pause, Kristi and I are hosting three Meetups this summer at our home in southern France. If you are a designer, project curator, postgrad student, researcher, or writer – and are working on a thesis, project, or book – check out their feedback in our guestbook. This year’s dates are: Tuesday 24 May – Tuesday 31 May Tuesday 14 June – Tuesday 21 June Thursday 7 July – Thursday 14 July Tuesday 30 August - Tuesday ... [continue ...]

January 30th, 2022|Categories: News & Latest|

Beyond Calculation: AI and Sustainability

SUMMARY Trillions of dollars of climate finance need nature to be machine-like. But nature is not a machine. So how shall we proceed? In this 20′ talk, I explore two questions: Can AI serve all of life, not just human life? And if so, how? BACKGROUND TO THIS TALK In Shanghai, at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Yongqi Lou (Vice President at Tongji University) I’m developing the agenda for a Thematic Cluster around the agenda of Regenerative Design. My job is to identify opportunities where Regenerative Design meets climate finance, artificial intelligence, ecological restoration, green infrastructure, and agro-ecology. The work builds on the bioregioning agenda, and the Urban-Rural expo we did at the end of 2019. The results will feed ... [continue ...]

December 9th, 2021|Categories: Caring, development & design, most read|
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