Design Observer Twenty Years 2003-2023

John Thackara | Essays

What Will Sustainable Tourism Be Like? [May 2007]

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.

Roam, meet, share, map. By revealing hidden value, maps reduce the need for carbon-emitting buldings and infrastructure. A gorgeous array of teams will assemble in Durham for Mapping The Necklace (5-7 May). A Dott moment, at which all Doors readers are welcome, is on Sunday 6th. One group will map the most beautiful cows in the park. Other teams will audio map, using ambient and verbal cues as way markers. Performers will chart busking spaces in the park. Dog experts will plot dog tracks that tell what your dog is thinking about. GeoScrooters will share experiences through photos, art, sound, and poetry. A Gimme Shelter! A design team will ask if a shelter needs to be something physical or can it be psychological? Dashing Parkouristes will leap out of trees. Foodies will map edible bounty in the park, from wild garlic, to elderflower and fungi. Join us at Old Durham Gardens, Sunday 6 May, or send a friend. Details from:
[email protected]

We are still looking for visionary and effective young designers to help us create practical examples of what sustainable tourism might be like to do, and how it can work as a business. The Dott Design Camp in July in North East England will tackle five live projects with local partners: Urban Camping; Allendale Industrial Heritage; Designing the Agricultural Landscape; Weardale Disused Railway; Wind Power in the Landscape. if you are interested, or would like to recommend someone, the deadline for applications is 15 May.

So many questions and possibilities were raised at Doors 9 in Delhi, in March, that we will reconvene in October in England. The event will include a field visit to the Dott Urban farming project in Middlesbrough,plus time to see the Dott Festival in NewcastleGateshead. Reserve the dates: Friday 19 to Sunday 23 October. Details to follow in this newsletter.

The Picture House exhibition at Belsay Hall in North East England opens with a Digital Dinner on Thursday 3 May. We'll see and discuss works that include a kinetic reflection display system called Aleph. The name (explain the artists, Adam Somlai-Fischer and Bengt Sjolen) comes from a fictional point of singularity described by Jorge Luis Borges as "a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion". Be there or be....dis-a-pointed. Contact: [email protected]

For four years Doors of Perception has been involved in a Europe-wide project called EMUDE (it stands, clunkily, for "Emerging User Demands for Sustainable Solutions"). A network of design schools acting as 'antennas', has collected examples of social innovation in a wide variety of contexts. Many of these seem to be more resource-efficient than conventional ways of organizing daily life. Such examples are on the edge of the known world for many urbanites, but we believe these fringe examples may be the harbinger of wider scale social transformation to come. You may judge for yourself how representative these signs are in Creative Communities, the book of Emude that has just been published. Edited by Anna Meroni and a team at Milan Polytechnic, Creative Communities is available to download. (It's a heavy file, but worth the wait).

SIX is a new global network of networks to promote social innovation across the fields of technology, design, cities, social entrepreneurship, public policy and business. The Six network spans sectors as diverse as culture, education, health and the environment.

People from Emude and Six (the two preceding stories) will be in Beijing for a workshop organized by Honeybee Network to discuss how to incubate and scale up scale up innovation models that work. The idea is to facilitate a common incubation platform and develop a longer-term vision for international cooperation. Information from Anil K Gupta, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 380015, India. Building Global Value chain around Green Grassroots Innovations and Traditional Knowledge being organized in Tianjin, China 31 May 31- 2 June.
[email protected] / [email protected]

"Small steps - returning your bottles, bringing your own bag, turning off the water while you brush your teeth - are of such minor impact, compared to our ecological footprints, that they are essentially meaningless without larger, systemic action as well". A hard-hitting editorial in WorldChanging trashes the strategy of recycling, whch is described as "essentially, the politics of gesture, little different than wearing a rubber wrist band or a pink ribbon". Doing better, say the editors, will involve "setting a hard bar against which to measure our actions". Too true: this is where the line will be drawn.

Jobs | September 22