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Design For (Your) Product Lifetime

Core77 is having a design contest: Design For (Your) Product Lifetime. In addition to fame and glory, there are cash prizes. Design for lifetime includes design for recycling, reuse, disassembly, upgrade, and repair. It’s an often-neglected but extremely exciting aspect of sustainable design, because it can make an enormous impact. DEADLINE to apply is November 15,

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Faculty Focus: Street Nature Score

For decades, people believed that the concrete jungles of dense cities were unsustainable, because they feel so divorced from nature. But they were wrong. Density is efficient. However, it isn’t necessarily fun. More livable neighborhoods have both nature and high density, not only providing streets where people can walk, but where people want to walk. Many urban planners and property owners know

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What would it take to make a city carbon neutral?

Jeremy Faludi asks Alex Steffen: What would it take to make a city carbon neutral? As Co-founder of Worldchanging.com and editor of Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, author and optimist ALEX STEFFEN is known for his bold ideas on ways we can shape a more sustainable world. His new book in progress,

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Student Spotlight: REDUX Collaborative Product Design Online

For years, the Minnepolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has been a leader in the United States for learning green design online. This past semester, a new class debuted there, with a new way of practicing design for sustainability—the Whole Systems and Life-Cycle method. This method was created for the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop in

Top 10 (Lightweight) Items to Pack in Your Panniers

Ever since my first dispatch from the road I have been mentioning (complaining?) about the weight of the stuff I’ve been hauling over mountain passes, through canyons, and to places that are in the middle of nowhere. I decided I would throw a bone to the cyclists in the crowd as the question I most

Road Test: Backcountry Boiler

When beginning to build my Ride the Talk campaign for need-based scholarships for the students of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program, I stumbled upon a cool Kickstarter campaign for the Backcountry Boiler. Devin Montgomery, a young designer turned entrepreneur, raised three times his Kickstarter fundraising goal with the help of over 500 backers to turn his

Design by Village

Who knew that that old adage, “it takes a village” to be so darned true? I am encountering this over and over in my work and personal life, regardless of the size of endeavor. Now that I am a convert, I see a village everywhere I look. Need help? Ask your community. Have too much?

How a Shower Helped Humanity

Few people would think of a shower as a tool to inspire and empowering the developing world, yet this is exactly the approach my student design team took in the slums of Chile and Argentina. During the summer of 2009, twelve students from varying disciplines (graphics, environmental, product design and graduate film) were selected to

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12 Sustainable Design Principles of Permaculture

Nothing exists outside a relationship. Everything is related in the working systems of nature, economics, or package design. A designer that does not take into account the effect delivered works will have on users, resources or society, depletes the designs potential and future viability. Systems Thinking requires that we develop the awareness and skills to define and design the functional relationships, which reduces waste and enhances, yield from existing relationships.

The Story of Cycles

Restore. Restoration. A Restorative Culture. These are terms commonly used in the field of permaculture, especially in relation to soil and water ecology as many plants are used to restore soil health and revive natural ecological function. The word recycle is also commonly used, but I would argue, not accurately used in the context of

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