From Bike Chain to Blockchain: Three Questions About Cooperation Platforms and Mobility

Should transport systems be designed to save time – or calories? Who should own mobility sharing platforms: private companies? cities? us? What kind of ecosystem is needed to support the sharing platforms we want? These three questions are the focus of a workshop in London  on 25 November. I’ve asked a three friends to join me on a panel: Tessy BrittonCo-founder of Civic Systems Lab and Participatory City; they just published their research report Designed to ScaleBlaine Cook,  formerly lead developer of Twitter, now a founder of collaborative text editing startup Poetica; and (by Skype) Trebor Sholz, co-curator of last week’s already-celebrated conference on platform cooperativismThis post frames three questions we will discuss – hopefully, with you, too. 

Thomas Lommée multivan-in-action

(Above: Multivan concept by Thomas Lommée)

Taxi. Pick-up. Delivery. Assistance. Vendor. Security. Rental.

Seven functions, one vehicle. The signs on that one small van describe a new way to think about mobility: the use of multiple mobility ‘assets’ to support a wide variety of services.

In the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) the van, when coupled with a pay-per-use leasing framework, and distributed computing, becomes one element within an asset-light mobility ecosystem.

The manufacturers of large heavy vehicles are hedging their bets in this space.  Moovel, a German start-up that “shows you available mobility options so you can reach your destination with ease”, is backed by Daimler,

Platforms like MaaS and Moovel do not dwell much on the design of vehicles. Their focus, instead, is on ‘cloud commuting’ – enabling access to  the means to move (such as the micro-van) as-and-when they are needed.

When every ride is an encounter, and every traveller an entrepreneur, these platform can enable new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. A commuter can deliver a package on her way to work. The electric motor on a pedelec might be used to drive a balcony hoist.

This is in sharp contrast to ownership of a large heavy artefact, such as a Tesla, that requires enormous resources to produce – only to sit unused for 95 percent of the time.

Radically adaptive use can involve non-cash transactions, too. As with any other piece of equipment a borrowed vehicle, properly used and returned – or a service well-executed – can add to your reputation as a sharer. An enhanced reputation might give you access to use credits, discounts on services, or the use of other vehicles, equipment, and workplaces.

With Lazooz, for example, the community which owns and uses the platform collectively decides about the reward in zooz for each contribution via sophisticated protocols. The ‘weight’ of each member’s input is dynamically set by the community itself. A cryptocurrency technology supports a ‘Fair Share’ rewarding mechanism for developers, users and backers.

Here are three starter questions for our discussion on the 25th:

Q1. Time, or calories?
Until now, transportation has been planned to ‘save’ time. In this age of energy transition, would a better criterion not be, how to save calories? And if it looks as if ride-sharing services like Uber might actually put more cars on the road by competing with public transport, what then?

Q2. Bright light – or dark star?
For Neil Gorenflo, Uber’s rush to be a global monopoly makes it a dark star in the sharing economy. Are we clear about the difference between dark star platforms, and socially and environmentally progressive ones? And who should own them: private companies? cities? us?

Q3. What kind of ecosystem?
For cooperative platforms to work, they will need more than clever ideas for apps. Uber and Airbnb have grown “not just on their own merits, but thanks to an ecosystem of high-risk investors, incubators, coding schools, government incentives, and tech conferences”. How is an an ecosystem for platform cooperativism to be grown?

You need to book but all proceeds of the event will go to Sustrans, which is a charity. Copies of my new book will also be on sale at a special discount; 10% of the proceeds of those sales go to the author of this post.










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“It’s already happening”- a message to COP21



With fewer than three weeks to go until the start of COP21, the UN’s climate negotiations in Paris, a question arises: Will this gathering make the slightest difference?

For Rob Hopkins, editor of a new book from Transition Network, 21 Stories of Transitionanswer is yes – but a different kind of yes than the global leaders meeting in Paris probably have in mind. He wants decision makers to reimagine their role as being ‘community enablers’ whose task is to deepen, connect and extend initiatives that are already out there.

A huge upsurge in transformative local projects is evident around the world, argues Hopkins; the priority is not for global leaders to start things off from scratch – still less, to tell people what to do.

Although Hopkins says we should not expect a ‘Great Change Moment’ at COP21, he does compare our situation today to East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down. Right up until the last minute, Hopkins reminds us, that country appeared to be robust, powerful and permanent. In reality, as its sudden collapse testified,  it was ‘holed below the waterline – undermined by the number of young people defecting to the West, corruption, rigged elections, and much more’.

Today, too, says Hopkins, “Something brilliant and historic is already underway. Our message to the Obamas, Camerons and Merkels of this world is that it’s already happening”

Caring Town Totnes, in England, for example, although unique to its context – is relevant for thousands of other communities.

This collaboration of more than 70 local public, voluntary and private health and social care providers have a shared objective: to ensure that every resident of area, and especially the most vulnerable people, know where to access support and have a range of affordable options to meet their needs.

The thinking  is that health and he work well being are not best thought of as a something ‘delivered’, like a pizza, by a distant supplier. Community-based health and prevention emerge, instead, from a collaborative network of professional and voluntary groups and organisations. The social design task is to create the conditions in which such diverse actors camay collaborate.

This shift of emphasis away from biomedical ‘factories’  such a big hospitals is exemplified by Greenslate Community Farm.


This once derelict rural cluster is being transformed into a multi-acitivity community hub. Funded by Public Health England, it provides a meeting place for people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions and others special needs.

Therapeutic activities at the farm cross-subsidise growing activities. Eighteen acres of former barley field are now a regenerating woodland that is being coppiced and replanted. Old farm buildings have been repurposed as a schoolroom and shops. A community energy company, a vegan catering wagon and a charcoal maker use the farm as their base.  Future plans include a new straw bale building to house a professional kitchen, a community bakery, a cafe, a dairy and offices.

A pixellated geography of farming is also emerging alongside this diversification of farm activities. In Liege, in Belgium, an archepelago local food enterprises are being run, connectedly, as ‘learning network of microfarms’ in a joined-up ‘Food Belt’ around the city.


In a city with a long heritage of industry and steel production, much of the land within the city is too contaminated for growing food, so the idea is to reconnect the city with its peri-urban land, and to use the revitalisation of local food production to reimagine the local economy. The vision is for Liège to be surrounded by microfarms of 3-4 hectares (8-10 acres), creating  many jobs. In London, the Crystal Palace Patchwork Farm is based on similar principles.

Energy and Money

The two invisible but all-embracing backstories of these new times – energy, and debt – are also being tackled by small projects with the potential to make a huge difference as they connect, help each other, and multiply.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.47.40

Community energy projects, especially, enable communities can start to take back control of their economy, and their energy supply. In the UK alone, over 5,000 community groups have set up community energy schemes since 2008 – and the start-up rate is increasing. In Germany over 50 percent of new renewable energy installations are in community ownership. Community Energy England reckons the energy landscape could be transformed – “from the Big 6 to the Big 60,000‘ – if the regulatory system were to be opened up.

A simple business incentive explains the shift. The priority for a community energy focuses is to cover operating costs rather than maximise profits for distant shareholders. A community energy enterprise therefore ploughs far more income back into the local economy than large renewable energy developers.

This ‘multiplier effect’ also drives the spread of local money systems.


Money spent with local businesses circulates more times and leads to greater benefits for the local economy. The Brixton Pound, for example, calls itself “the money that sticks to Brixton”. The Bristol Pound, launched in 2012 represents a step up in scale for a local currency. Bristol’s Mayor takes his full salary in Bristol Pounds, and local people can pay their local taxes, pay their energy bills, and buy tickets on the buses and trains using the local notes.

Although most of the projects in 21 Stories are stand-alone initiatives, one town-wide programme stands out. Ungersheim, a village in the Alsace region of France, has become a Fair Trade town; launched a local currency, ‘Le Radis’ (the radish); mapped the biodiversity of the area in an ‘Atlas of Biodiversity’; returned a former waste heap, created by mining, to nature; installed a120m2 solar thermal installation at the swimming pool; changed all public lighting in the village to low energy bulbs, leading to a 40% reduction in energy use; and completely banned all pesticides and herbicides in public areas; the local primary school now serves 100% organic meals – much of them sourced locally;

Jean-Claude Mensch, Mayor of Ungersheim, recognised in the Transition approach “a different, inclusive and fraternal economic model”. @COP21

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Between a rock and a soft place

Today, Plymouth University very generously awarded me an honorary doctorate.  Here is my short statement to this year’s graduating class in Design, Architecture and Environment.

I nearly failed to get here yesterday, and I want to tell you why.

The road from my house to the city passes through a spectacular gorge. Several weeks ago, after some especially violent rainstorms, stones and debris started falling onto the road.

Soon, an impressive crew arrived to stabilise the rock face.

One team of engineers made holes in the rock face with a huge robotic drill. Four yards long, it was mounted on the arm of a digger. They put large pegs in the holes, and made them secure with exotic polymer composites.

Higher up the rock face was a team of climbing engineers. Clad in bright red rubber suits for protection, they draped Read More »

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#ThackaraThrive Speaking Dates

Saturday 3 October, Architecture Day, Antwerpen
Artesis Plantijn University (details to follow)

Thursay 8 October, Riga, RIXC Renewable Futures Congress
Keynote: Green Hacking

Saturday 10 October, Ilkley, UK Ilkley Literary Festival
Shaping The Future strand

Tuesday 13 October,Bristol Bristol, New Economy Summit

Tuesday 13 October, London London, Design Museum,
Conversation with Read More »

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My new book: How To Thrive In The Next Economy

Today I’m proud to announce that my new book, How To Thrive In The Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today will be published by Thames & Hudson on 7 September; (the US edition comes out in December). Sample extracts from each of the ten chapters are here.

It would be terrific if you would help spread the word about the book using the hashtag #ThackaraThrive and this url: Read More »

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Food Systems, Bioregions, Design: Join Us In Sweden on 9 August

Five residency places are available for professionals or grad students to join our summer school in Sweden – as explained here. Here is my text Bioregions: Notes On A Design Agenda. See also the course page of our partner, Konstfack, here. The summer school FB page is here.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 18.49.36

(Above: our school house)

The one week event runs from next Sunday, 9 August, for seven days. As a Resident, you don’t get the 7.5 credits – but you do get to join an amazing group for Read More »

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Summer Reading: Handouts and Reading Lists

On Regarding The Pain Of The Planet – A Reader
Why is it that shocking stories and images fail to change things? Are there different ways of knowing the world, than merely looking?

The True And Hidden Costs Of Stuff
Do you simply love iPhones, wind turbines, cloud computing, the circular economy, and electric cars? Good, because the following may be of interest.

Design and Energy: Thirteen Great Writers
If you suspect, but cannot prove, that modern life simply does not add up, you’ll love these writers: They explain why you’re right. 

How To Make Our Own Money – A Reading List
Money, and the myth of a perpetual growth economy, lies behind many of the difficulties we face. The good news: Many smart people are busy designing replacements for the ecocidal money system we have now.

Food Systems and Design – A Reader
A reading list for designers, artists and architects. Its divided into four parts: Big Picture, Small Picture, Design Opportunities, and Knowledge Sharing. Read More »

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Bioregions: Notes On A Design Agenda

Michelle Cockiing

Photo: Michelle Cocking

In myriad projects around the world, a new economy is emerging whose core value is stewardship, not extraction. Growth, in this new story, means soils, biodiversity and watersheds getting healthier, and communities more resilient. These seedlings are cheering, but when it comes to binding diverse groups together around a common agenda, something more is needed. We need a compelling story, and a shared purpose, that people can relate to, and support, whatever their other differences. 

For me, a strong candidate for that connective idea is the bioregion. Beginning with a short reflection on the power of such a story, and what’s already out there, this text describes what the elements of a design agenda for bioregions might be. As a work-in-progress, it will evolve in forthcoming conferences and Doors of Perception Xskools. If staging an xskool could be of interest in your bioregion, do get in touch. 

1. A story that connects
2. Scope of a bioregion
3. Learning and design agenda
4. New skills and partnerships
5. Getting started

1. A story that connects

In myriad projects around the world, a new economy is emerging whose core value is stewardship, not extraction. Growth, in this new story, means soils, biodiversity and watersheds getting healthier, and communities more resilient.

These seedlings are cheering – but binding diverse groups together around a common agenda remains a challenge. Words like Sustainability, Resilience, or Transition are evocative – but abstract. Something more is needed: a compelling story, and a shared purpose, that people can relate to, and support, whatever their other differences.

A strong candidate for that connective idea is the bioregion. A bioregion re-connects us with living systems, and each other, through the places where we live. It acknowledges that we live among watersheds, foodsheds, fibersheds, and food systems – not just  in cities, towns, or ‘the countryside’.

A bioregion, in this sense, is culturally dynamic because it is literally and etymologically a ‘life-place’, in Robert Thayer’s words, that is definable by natural rather than political or economic boundaries. Its geographic, climatic, hydrological, and ecological qualities – its metabolism – can be the basis for meaning and identity because they are unique.

Growth, in a bioregion, is redefined as improvements to the health and carrying capacity of the land, and the resilience of communities. Its core value is stewardship, not extraction, a bioregion therefore frames the next economy, not the dying one we have now.

2. Scope of a bioregion

A  bioregion is not an abstract model; it describes social as well as ecological systems that are unique to each place. The ways these social and ecological systems interact with each other are as significant as are list of species and social assets.

Stewarding a bioregion involves measuring the carrying capacity of the land and watersheds; putting systems in place to monitor progress; and feeding back results. This attention to ecosystem health is direct and ongoing; it involves diverse forms of expertise; translation skills, and open information channels, are needed to share different kinds of knowledge.

A bioregion provides livelihoods, not just amenity. It builds on existing economic relocalisation efforts that measure where resources come from; identify ‘leakages’ in the local economy; and explore how these leaks could be plugged by locally available resources.

Bioregional food – and health

One such ‘leak’ is food – and new kinds of work are involved in ecological agriculture. This work begins with understanding the soils – and growing crops, and rearing animals, in ways that regenerate them. Each farm has to be understood and designed as an ecosystem within a bioregional web of natural systems. This approach to farming is more knowledge-intensive than the industrial model it’s replacing; multiple skills, in new combinations, are needed to cope with that complexity.

At a bioregional scale, ecological agriculture also includes the development of new forms of land tenure, distribution models, processing facilities, financing, and training. With ‘social farming‘ and ‘care farming’- the direct participation of citizens in farm-based activities needs also to be enabled by service platforms.

Health and wellbeing are local and place-based, too. In place of a biomedical healthcare system designed around individuals and diseases, an ecological model of health gives priority to the vitality of food, water, air and other ecosystems, and intractions among them.

In the US, the idea of a Health Commons has been proposed as a geographical model for improving the health of ecosystems and the people who live in them. The Glasgow Indicators Project is another effort to develop tools that link community health and ecosystem health.

Cities are in bioregions, too

The thinking behind bioregions grew out of the conservation movement in the North Western United States, in the 1970s. It was inspired, then, by the notion of wilderness, and  focused on protected areas, biosphere reserves, species conservation, and ecosystem management.

But awareness is now growing that our cities are part of the bioregional story, too – that they do not exist separately from the land they are built on, and the resources that feed them.

Blogs and platforms such as Nature of CitiesEcocity Design Institute, and Biophilic Cities, although they do not focus on a bioregional perspective, do encourage a city’s citizens, and its managers, to re-connect in practical ways with the soils, trees, animals, landscapes, energy systems, water and energy sources on which all life depends.

The urban landscape itself is re-imagined as an ecology with the potential to support us. Attention is turning to metabolic cycles and the ‘capillarity’ of the metropolis wherein rivers and biocorridors are given pride of place.

3. Learning and design agenda

Many elements of a design agenda for bioregions already exist – but they are  scattered, and can be easy to overlook. Scanning for examples of how groups have fared so far is priority No. 1.

Universities across the north-western United States, for example, have developed a Curriculum for the Bioregion that transforms the ways in which tomorrow’s professionals will approach place-based development.

The curriculum, which is taught across the Puget Sound and Cascadia bioregions, covers  such topics as Ecosystem Health; Water and Watersheds; Sense of Place; Biodiversity; Food Systems and Agriculture; Ethics and Values; Cultures and Religions; Cycles and Systems; Civic Engagement.

A impressive archive of completed projects is evidence that these are not just academic activities. Multidisciplinary teams have evaluated water quality data as indicators of the health of an ecosystem; mapped stream channels in a local watershed; learned about the geology, hydrology, soils, and slope stability of a local town; analysed the environmental costs of metal mining; studied how indigenous peoples used to inhabit their region – and discussed how best to integrate this legacy into today’s new models of development.

Although the range of topics sounds hard to embrace as a unity, a stand-alone five-day Introduction to Bioregionalism has been trialled by the Continental Bioregional Congress in the US. This programme covers ways to;
deepen a sense of place for the individual and community;
– develop a bioregional toolkit for allied movements;
– provide a way to certify a level of competence in instructors;
– provide support for local bioregional groups to establish and sustain themselves;
– strengthen bonds among different bioregional networks.

At the University of Idaho, a Masters in Bioregional Planning and Community Design draws on the expertise  of ten departments; there’s the option of a joint degree from the College of Law. The Priest River Bioregional Atlas, created by the university, is one of the more compete documents of its kind out there.

in Europe, an online course called Land stewardship: from theory to practice was produced by the LandLife EU programme. During the course, students presented case studies of land stewardship; designed a stewardship agreement; analysed collaboration methods and communication experiences; and explored funding opportunities for land stewardship.

A Soil Academy is being developed by a group called Common Soil. A Common Soil Campus is proposed as a learning centre for regenerative agriculture, land restoration, regional food systems, and land stewardship; the idea is equip the next generations of farmers and citizens the skills to become stewards of living soil.

In South West England, Isabel Carlisle, Education Coordinator of the Transition Network, has proposed the creation of a Bioregional Learning Centre for (as a first step) South Devon. A series of workshops is under way in which diverse actors – including water companies, transition groups, and universities, are launched to develop a learning and design agenda.

In Scotland, Clare Cooper leads a programme of arts and cultural activities, called Cateran’s Common Wealth, that connects together cultural, social and ecological assets using the ancient metaphorical power inherent in pathwalking and path making to do so.

Asset mapping and monitoring

In traditional place-based development, the outcomes of a site assessment tend to be lists of discrete assets. At a bioregional scale, representations are needed in which the whole is far more than the sum of its parts.

A bioregion’s ecological and social assets therefore need to be investigated, and mapped: Its geology; topography; climate; soils; hydrology and watersheds; agriculture; biodiversity, flora and fauna, vegetation.

A lot of this information exists already – but often in the form of dry, de-contextualised lists. Maps therefore need to represent the ways systems interact with each other, not just  component parts. These maps also need to be dynamic and reflect change, as much as possible, as it happens. They also need to support social processes of collaborative monitoring, and feedback.

For the eminent American designer Hugh Dubberly, in his manifesto for systems literacy, whole system change is “not so much hard to do, as hard to see”. System structures are more easily described and understood as images than as words, he explains; through diagramming or mapping, we can share our mental models, our diagnoses, and our plans.

The social assets of a bioregion – individuals, groups, and networks – also need to be made visible. Social assets also include places that support collaboration – from maker spaces to churches, from town halls, to libraries.

One exemplary example known to this writer is Visible Mending Everyday Repairs in the South West. In this project, two cultural geographers and a photographer visited workplaces in South West England; their texts and images explore the practices of fixing, mending, repair and renewal. Another fine example –  Make Works, in Scotland. is a curatedf finder service and web platform for people who need to get things made.

Maps are also useful in plotting the footprints of government agencies who manage different parts of a landscape. Or not: These exercises can often reveal gaps. In Stockholm County, for example, a wetland management network crossing all 26 municipalities was found to be fragmented not just ecologically, but administratively, too.

Role models and case studies are always important. ‘Mapping’ therefore includes multiple ways to collect and tell stories from other places – and other times – in ways that are easy to find, and share.  A lot of information about a bioregion’s social, cultural and ecological assets can be discovered  in overlooked archives and databases, for example; wonders can appear when artists or actors are allowed access to these kinds of resources.


A large topic, simply stated: What would a bioregion look like, and feel like, to its citizens, and visitors?

4. New skills and partnerships

Developing the agenda for a bioregion involves a wide range of skills and capabilities: The geographer’s knowledge of mapping; the conservation biologist’s expertise in biodiversity and habitats; the ecologist’s literacy in ecosystems; the economist’s ability to measure flows and leakage of money and resources; the service designer’s capacity to create platforms that enables regional actors to share and collaborate; the artist’s capacity to represent real-world phenomena in ways that change our perceptions.

5. Getting started

Designers and artists can contribute to bioregional development in various ways. Maps of the bioregion’s ecological and social assets are needed: its geology and topography; its soils and watersheds; its agriculture and biodiversity. The collaborative monitoring of living systems needs to be designed – together with feedback channels. New service platforms are needed to help people to share resources of all kinds – from land, to time.  Novel forms of governance must also be designed to enable collaboration among diverse groups of people.

None of these actions means designers acting alone; their role is as much connective, as creative. But in creating objects of shared value – such as an atlas, a plan, or a meeting – the design process can be a powerful way to foster collaboration among geographers, ecologists, economists, planners, social historians, writers, artists and other citizens.

One way to begin the journey towards the establishment of a hub, or learning centre, could be a Doors of Perception Xskool.These encounters bring local actors together to ask: What are the key social-ecological systems in this place? What are the opportunities for  this city-region? How night one design in them? How does one get started?  The outcomes of an xskool, typically, include a shared perception of new opportunities; new connections between motivated and effective people; and the determination to make something happen.

Note: Up to ten residencies are available at our summer xskool in Sweden in August. If you are involved in a bioregional scale project, this would be one good moment to come and help develop this agenda.

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Food, bioregions, design: Doors of Perception Summer Xskool

house and shop

[Above: our venue for the summer Xskool is the cultural-ecological community at Hjulsjö ]

Farmers’ markets as hubs of knowledge exchange? Food waste as a social enterprise? Pollinator pathways across an ecological region? This year’s summer Xskool is about food systems as a key element in a design agenda for bioregions. We will ask: What are the key social-ecological systems in this place? How night one design in them? How does one get started? Doors of Perception partners once again with Konstfack, together with Art Academy of Latvia. For students in the 42 European Economic Area countries, the (7.5 credits) course is free apart from your travel to Sweden and food on site. The full course runs in two phases: an online element (22 June to 7 August); and a residential workshop, somewhere in Sweden, from 10-16 August. European students should apply online here. For professionals and researchers who don’t need to take the full course, but would like to join the workshop, a number of Residencies will be available. More info here.

From lighting a bus stop, to the sound of a tunnel: The Media City conference in Plymouth will focus on artistic and experimental projects that foster collaboration and sharing in the city. Saskia Sassen’s keynote follows the publication her new book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy; mine talk will be about the relationships between cities and their bioregion. There also hands-on workshops. 1-3 May, Plymouth, UK.

My new book, How To Thrive In The Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today, will be published by Thames & Hudson in September (a bit later in the US). With chapters such as Grounding, Waterkeeping, Social Farming, Clothing, Bioregions, and Commoning, it’s about the power of small actions to transform big systems. If you’re planning a conference or lecture series from September this year onwards, and could be interested in a talk, please let me know.

I’ve agreed to be a jury captain in this year’s Core77 Design Awards, in the Social Impact category. Together with my fellow jurors – Babitha George from Quicksand in Delhi; Dr Mathilda Tham from Linnaeus University, in Sweden, and Gill Wildman from Plot, in London – we are looking for projects that benefit social, humanitarian, community or environmental causes. These might include community or environmental impact initiatives, products for underrepresented communities, or alternative distribution systems. The first deadline is 24 March.


The commons is an idea, and a practice, that generates meaning and hope. In Scotland’s ‘Big Tree Country’ a a two year programme of arts and cultural activities called Cateran’s Common Wealth celebrates the region’s social, cultural and ecological assets. Here is my conversation with its founder, Clare Cooper.

What connects a blacksmith, a digital arts producer, a land owner, a raspberry farmer, a soldier turned master mead maker, an expert on the ecosystems to be found in dry stone walls, a service designer, an artist who makes outfits that disguise you as a rock, the tutor at a forest school, a designer of water cleaning systems? Well, their work adds up to a new concept of the world. Here is more of my conversation with Allan Chochinov.


SOIL ATLAS  by Heinrich Böll Foundation. It takes several thousand years to build a thin layer of fertile topsoil, but only a generation of “production agriculture” to exhaust it. The Heinrich Böll Foundation has published a wonderful atlas to enrich our understanding of the earth beneath our feet. It’s not just about data; the atlas helps us understand who we are. It’s available as a pdf to download for free. Highly recommended.

DESIGN, WHEN EVERYBODY DESIGNS by Ezio Manzini. Ezio Manzini’s inspiring new book describes an emerging social economy in which human and environmental interests converge. We are introduced to an archipelago of microworlds in which a new economy, so long awaited, is being born. In this world, collaboration counts for more than consumption, and relationships are the true source of value.

SCARCITY IN EXCESS: THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ICELAND by Arna Mathiesen.  The collapse of Iceland’s economy led to the deepest peacetime fiscal crisis ever recorded – so how did design-minded people cope? The book features projects by carpenters, engineers, geologists, farmers, ‘art nurses’, chemists, cooks, and ecologists. Their actions wire together ecological and human systems in ways that lead to more resilient solutions.

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