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.
A] CALL FOR PROJECT CASE STUDIES
Doors of Perception 9 takes place in New Delhi 28 February to 4 March 2006. The theme is "Juice: Food, Fuel, Design". Doors 9 begins with a two-day Project Leaders Round Table that is limited to 50 participants. This is followed by an open-to-all one day conference at India Habitat Centre, plus a Social Technologies Bazaar, on Saturday 3 March. For the Round Table, we are looking for sixteen participants whose project raises interesting design issues in relation to:
-Food information systems (food miles, energy use, GMOs);
-Localisation of food systems (Community Supported Agriculture);
-Urban farming (rooftop, vertical);
-Sustainable packaging and distribution;
-Slow food using high tech;
-New forms of community cooking (meal assembly centres);
Your project proposals will be reviewed by: Aditya Dev Sood, Centre for Knowledge Societies (CKS); Debra Solomon, culiblog.org; Juha Huuskonen, PixelAche; Amy Franseschini, futurefarmers; John Thackara, Doors of Perception. Send us an email in answer to these six questions:
1) Why? = the main question being asked by the project. 2) Who are the actors/partners? 3) Where? (the locality or situaton) 4) What are the desired outcomes/results of the project? 5) When (timeframe)? 6) How can the Round Table help? What problem, challenge or dilemma does the project face, that the assembled experts can help you with? Send your project description email (Subject header: "juice project") to: [email protected]
B] OPEN PROGRAMME
A one-day conference on Saturday 3 March, in the India Habitat Centre, will address the key issues to do with food, fuel and design. The results of the Round Table will be presented. And a social technologies bazaar will provide participants with a show-and-tell opportunity. Conference participants are invited to the Doors Holi Party the following day.
C] HOW TO WIN A FREE TRIP TO DOORS 9
Doors has teamed up with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Designs of the time (Dott07) to offer travel-included scholarships to Doors 9. The scholarships are for up to eight winning teams in the 2006-2007 RSA Design Directions competition. Dott 07 has set two themes â€“ on food information systems, and sustainable tourism. All you have to do is win. Details at:
D] LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE DEAL FOR DOORS 9
For those not eligible to compete in Design Directions, we can offer a limited number of all-in packages comprising flight, registration, accommodation and food for the whole Doors 9 week, for 1,000 euros. To be eligible for this package, we must receive your project proposal by Friday 29 September (which is when our cheap flights expire).
GOT A DESIGN EXHIBITION THAT WILL MAKE US TALK?
DE07, North East England's festival for designers, seeks ideas for novel design exhibitions that it will partly fund. The call, which is based on the Dott 07 theme:"how do we want to live?", looks for shows that raise design questions about sustainability, and/or propose new uses for emerging technologies and materials that are particularly strong in the North East of England. The deadline for submissions is 30 September.
SERVICE DESIGN AS A JOURNEY
Is service design the next big thing after e-everything? If the recent surge in books and conferences is a guide, service design is at least a meme - if not yet a mania. The trouble is, it can't possibly be new. Seventy percent of the UK economy is "services", for goodness sake, so someone must have designed them. Service designers look foolish when they claim to be inventing a new profession. What is new is an interest in existing public services as potential subjects of re-design. "All service organisations need to find new ways of connecting intimately with their users and customers" say Sophia Parker and Joe Heapy, in a new booklet. They've written down a set of service design principles that offer "fresh approaches to organisations seeking to close the gap what they do, and what people want and need". Read more at:
TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT NEW MEDIA
How best might knowledge be transferred from media labs to the wider community? A seminar in Amsterdam organised by Virtual Platform, called Uncommon Ground, features as case studies Designs of The Times (Dott 07), Mobile Bristol, Philips Design's Entertable, and others. Wednesday 27 September 2006, Amsterdam. This meeting leads into Picnic (see next story).
PICNIC IN AMSTERDAM
Picnic is about new interfaces that enable people to "live their lives online". How sad for them. But an intriguing roster of speakers includes John Underkoffler, advisor to Steven Spielberg on Minority Report; John de Mol, co-founder of Endemol and a legendary format designer (ie Big Brother); Dan Gillmor, Director of the Center for Citizen Media; Matt Locke, Head of Innovation at BBC New Media & Technology; and Justin Kneist, founder of Fabchannel (which won a Webby this year for best music site). September 27-29 at Westergasfabriek, the cultural facility located in a former gas factory.
"Climate porn" is turning the public away from action on the environment. So argues the UK's Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). In a report called 'Warm Words: How are we telling the climate story and can we tell it better?', the think tank accuses the media, the British government and environmental groups of indulgence in the promotion of 'alarmist apocalyptic climate change scenarios'. Such language, says IPPR, 'offers a thrilling spectacle but ultimately distances the public from the problem'. Read more at:
WAR AS A BRAND
IPPR conclude their report on climate porn with the curious proposition that brand marketing would be an appropriate response to climate change. I thought this odd until I read, in Mute, that Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, has advised the US Department of Defence on rebranding war. In a speech to the military reported in Brandweek he says: "I'm going to show you how we create emotional connections with consumers, and how we inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason". He goes on to advise the military "not to abandon the mass market, but to transform it with multiple emotional connections," and concludes: "Deploy Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy to create America as a Lovemark". I didn't make this up. Read more at:
Do you anyone working for Alcoa? We need to harness the power of networks to stop a massive aluminium smelting project in one of Europe's largest unspoilt regions: North East Iceland. Our friend Halldor Gislason, an architect and design professor, writes that valleys are to be flooded and huge boreholes drilled to exploit geothermal energy for smelting. Disregarding the social and environmental costs, the Icelandic government is hell-bent on a plan to inundate the protected HÃ¡lslÃ³n reservoir at KÃ¡rahnjÃºkar. 'All this is not done to fulfill the energy needs of Icelanders, but to sell cheap energy to foreign companies', writes Dori. Check out the sites, and then call that Alcoa friend of yours.
Fifty thousand children a year suffer partial finger amputation when their fingers get trapped in doors. It's actually safer to stick a finger into an electric socket, because a safety device will limit the discharge preventing serious injury. (But don't try that at home). Gaspar Soto has designed FLEXOOR hinges to do the same for doors: the hinge becomes a flexible joint in the doors so that exerted pressure is limited and mutilations and serious wounds are avoided.
MOBILITY, DEATH, AND PROGRESS
How was the traffic on your vacation drive home this year? Any near misses? Two people are killed in traffic every minute "20,000 a year in Europe - so it's likely you saw a car crash or its aftermath. Does the European Commission regard these deaths are a price we must pay for progress? To judge by its latest policy pronouncements, the EU sees itself as a marketing agency for the mobility industry. Its officials seem to be unaware that a mobility strategy could be based on access to conveniently-sited services rather than perpetually increasing movement to reach them. Read more at:
LESS CARS, MORE ACCESS
"All car/no real choice" transport planning has been dominant for more than 50 years. This traditional approach no longer works, and successful new practices and models are starting to show results. New Mobility collects less-car alternatives to get you there in style.
SUPPORT THESE ROOF BUILDERS
An ancient architectural technique, traditionally used in Sudan and central Asia, but until now unknown in West Africa, can accelerate appropriate house-building in the Sahel. The Nubian Vault (â la Voute Nubienne or VN) technique uses basic, readily available local materials and simple, easily learned procedures. The major cost element is labour, so cash stays in the local economy. Raw materials, too, are locally available, and ecologically sound. In Burkina Faso, trained VN builders are becoming independent entrepreneurs/ Money is needed to accelerate their training. It's a fascinating website and this is a good cause. [email protected]
EMERGENCE OF SERVICE DESIGN
Service design specialists from three continents feature at this new conference, "Emergence". Cases to do with energy, financial services, health care, and retail will be presented. Highlights include Oliver King from service design group Engine, Rick Robinson from Luth Research, Chris Downs and Tamara Giltsof from Live|Work, Jennie Winhall from RED. There are also researchers from Mayo Clinic, IBM, and Ideo. The insider-word "heuristics" appears too frequently in the programme for my taste, but the event is hosted by the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world's best, so go anyway. September 8 - 10 in Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the largest "green" building in the world.
GROWING FOOD IN CITIES
What design steps might we take to make it easier for city dwellers to grow their own fruit and vegetables? A meeting of Dott 07's Explorers Club will discuss the issue in Newcastle on 14 September. André Viljoen, co-author of Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes, or CPULs, will explain how spaces for local people to grow food in a communal way might be designed. David Barrie and Nina Belk, together with culiblog.org's Debra Solomon, from Dott 07's City Farming project team, will update us on their latest findings. 14 September, 6pm, Robert Stephenson Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne.
SCORE IN WUPPERTAL
Mobility, agro-food, and energy use contribute 70% of the life cycle impacts of household consumption. But just telling people to go green is futile. Multiple actors need to work together at a system level for sustainable consumption and production to be realized. Welcome, then, SCORE! (Sustainable Consumption Research Exchanges) - an EU-funded network (28 institutions, and a few hundred professionals) an interchange for cases of radical sustainable consumption. SCORE!'s launch conference is 23 to 25 November in Wuppertal, Germany.
SHOULD DESIGNERS TACKLE SOCIAL ISSUES?
Can designers make any impact on complex and deep-seated social problems? Or are such issues a step too far for professionals trained to shape the form of things? Weâ€™ll debate these pertinent questions at Battle of Ideas in London; with Matt Locke, head of innovation at BBC Future Media & Technology, and James Woudhuysen, author of Why is construction so backward? Saturday 28 October 2006, 12.15 - 13.15, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London.
CHI JUBILEE: HUMANS WILL BE ADMITTED
Who's in charge around here? The conference is called "CHI"(Computer Human Interaction) but the community invited to attend it is called "HCI" (Human Computer Interaction). Me, I prefer HHI. Anyway, for CHIâ's jubilee event next year you are invited to propose ideas and techniques that will drive the next 25 years of work in this crucial field. April 28 to May 3, 2007, Silicon Valley.
CREATIVE RURAL ECONOMY
â€œThe most radical social, environmental and economic changes in rural England and the countryside since the enclosures Acts of the 17th and 18th centuriesâ€. Thatâ€™s how one expert describes the UKâ€™s new Rural Development Programme. At a conference in Lancaster, UK, John Urry will argue that tourism and recreation services are the only realistic future for the countryside. I will argue that reconfigured connections between country and city offer a post-consumerist alternative. Creative Rural Industries, University of Lancaster, 10 - 13 September
OCTAGONAL INTERACTION DESIGN
A new forum in London is for researchers at the boundary of arts, humanities and interaction design. It meets in the stunning Octagon, an eight-sided triple-height Victorian library in London. Keynote speakers in its first symposium are Jay Bolter (Georgia Institute of Technology) and philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg. Tuesday 12 September, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
SOUTH ASIA EDITION OF "IN THE BUBBLE": 250 RUPEES
Prentice Hall India have issued an Eastern Economic Edition of "In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World". This enables readers in the India and South Asia market to purchase the book for 250 rupees. If you live in that region, please tell everyone about this opportunity. We want to reach college and city librarians, course tutors in design, architecture and b-schools - plus your work colleagues, and friends. To check out the book's contents list and bibliography, or to sample free extracts, go to: