How to Transform the Textiles Economy

It’s high time we shake up the destructive take-make-dispose textile model and transform it into a circular one that’s better for people and environment. This report tells us how. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, textile production contributes 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year—more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Add to that the leaching of …

The Untapped Value of Organic Waste in Construction

What if instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, incinerator or compost pile, we could give it another life as bricks, panels, carpets or insulation? Arup, the design and engineer firm, says this is not only possible, it’s a very valuable opportunity. In their latest report, The Urban Bio Loop, Arup aims to demonstrate a different, circular paradigm for …

Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking

This video, by Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, provides a six minute introduction to Life Cycle Thinking as it relates to whole systems design. It explores how opportunities for saving resources, like materials and energy, can often be uncovered early in the design process, by identifying the right problems to solve before engineering begins. Learn more: https://sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com/products/whole-systems-and-lifecycle-thinking      

Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture

In this Ted talk, architect Michael Pawlyn describes and gives examples of three habits of nature that can transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. “If we could learn to make things and do things the way nature does, we could achieve factor 10, factor 100, maybe even factor 1,000 savings in resource …

How School Building Design Can Support Better Learning

A report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) confirms that good design has the power to impact far more than appearances. After studying school building performance and interviewing teachers, architects, and academics, they found that good design can support better learning outcomes for students,  increased teacher productivity, and even make schools more cost-effective to run. “Our research showed that …

Using Design Thinking to Eradicate Poverty Creation

In this Stanford Social Innovation Review article, authors Martin Kirk, Jason Hickel, and Joe Brewer challenge the  prevalent development project model for tackling social problems and call for a new, whole-systems approach that puts design thinking in center. “Right now, the question development organizations ask is, ‘How can we eradicate poverty?’ Good design thinking, on the other hand, would tell you to start with the more fundamental question, …

What is the Circular Economy? This infographic explains the big picture.

As a designer, you have a critical role to play in helping the world close the gap on the unsustainable make-use-dispose cycle. If you’d like to learn the basics of the Circular Economy, here’s a great visual resource to get you started. Created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this infographic not only explains what Circular Economy means, it breaks down the key benefits and challenges, including examples of what …

The Impact of Architecture on Wellbeing

In Place and public health: the impact of architecture on wellbeing, Karl Johnson writes about architecture’s ability to impact health and wellbeing; illustrating this fact through a story about the transformative effect architecture had on a tsunami torn village in Japan. “Architects play a critical role in shaping the qualities of our environment; they work in collaboration with end users and their needs and ambitions, and they have the …