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GREEN DESIGN PREDICTIONS FOR 2010!

Posted By Mike Chino On January 4, 2010 @ 4:40 pm In Announcements,Architecture | No Comments

sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions

Welcome to 2010! The start of the new year is the perfect time to reflect upon the past [1], make resolutions for the future [2], and think about what the new year will bring. With this in mind, we’ve asked several of our favorite designers, editors and all-around-big-thinkers for their green predictions for the coming year. We received a lot of interesting forecasts for the coming year: from more greenwashing to a revolution in social design, from the rise of heirloom goods to a shift towards systems and services — read on for the our panel of experts’ green design predictions for 2010.

sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, allan chochinov, core77

ALLAN CHOCHINOV – Editor-in-Chief, Core77 [3]

I look forward to 2010 as a year filled with extraordinary projects around design for social change. We’ve seen a groundswell of individuals and organizations dedicated to creating artifacts, systems and services for environmental and social impact, in addition to many applications and social networks that get people participating in ways that reduce friction, raise awareness, and promote connection. In schools, I see a similar flowering in the diversity of projects aimed at greater good. Everyone welcome!
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sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, emily pilloton, project h design

EMILY PILLOTON – Founder & Director, Project H Design [4]

In 2010, I’m hoping for a revolution in design. What I predict is a year of productive discomfort for designers, particularly those who are engaged in sustainable and socially responsible practices, as we grapple with all kinds of turbulence. I predict that both good green design AND greenwashing will become more mainstream, and that we as green designers will have to rethink exactly what our job descriptions are. We’ll shift to service design instead of artifact-making, and we’ll realize that we can’t just look at HOW we make things – we’ll have to ask ourselves if what we’re making is worth making in the first place. Ultimately I predict that 2010 will be uncomfortable yet fruitful for green design: we’ll feel the growing pains and have to justify our work, but ultimately will make good choices that will inform our profession for the next decade.
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sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, sarah rich, dwell magazine

SARAH RICH – Senior Editor, Dwell Magazine [5]

1. The invention of a digital tablet, whether Apple’s or someone else’s, is likely to impact the way we consume media, particularly (possibly, hopefully) by appeasing the grieving lovers of print with something beautiful and elegant—a real experience—for reading books and magazines minus the paper. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad about the demise of print, too.)

2. I’ve noticed an uptick in retail shops where you can buy things in bulk, bringing your own refillable container (Unpackaged [6] in London, Green 11 [7] in San Francisco), so perhaps this will become a trend and we can do away with superfluous, disposable packaging. I guess that’s more of an undesign trend than a design trend…

3. As ever, more and better product designs that facilitate growing food at home. I’ve seen some interesting concepts in 2009 for home systems that grow veggies, fruit, even fish, as well as outdoor prefab chicken coops and bee boxes. I hope some of those concepts come to market in 2010.
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sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, lloyd alter, treehugger

LLOYD ALTER – Architecture & Design Writer, Treehugger.com [8]

1. We have become very picky about they way we buy food, buying it in the farmers market from the farmer who grew it, or in the restaurant from the chef who butchered the formerly happy cow. We crave a connection to the producer. In design, I suspect we will want the same: a direct relationship with the designer and the producer – knowing the provenance of every component, how much formaldehyde it contains, how far it traveled, and if it was sustainably harvested.

2. We will buy less but better; when times are tough and we hang on to things longer, we begin to realize the benefit of buying quality instead of replacing things all the time. When you know that you are not moving, upgrading and replacing every year then you start thinking about quality and maintenance.

3. We finally will start buying greener; as we seal up our houses it becomes more important to keep dangerous chemicals out. cleaning supplies, furniture, plywood, everthing that can contribute to buildup of chemicals will be examined more carefully. None of this saving the planet business; it is about our own family’s health.
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sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, harry wakefield, mocoloco

HARRY WAKEFIELD – Founder & Editor, Mocoloco

I predict what I’ve been predicting for a while now, that green products and architecture are going to *look* more and more like the not-so-green products of the recent past. Huge strides in the development of new materials and production techniques have given designers and architects the tools they need to make 100% green products look (and function) as good as they want, thus compete head on, and surpass the non-green, non-LEED. Pretty soon what was the trademark of green products, raw finishes, muted colors, visible fibers, will be purely symbolic gestures to communicate the greenness of a product. Creativity will return as the only currency that matters. Relieved of the burden of limited green materials and techniques, designers and architects will return to form and function to create not only new products and architecture, but new ways of thinking about things. What do we really need? How long should things last? What’s important to us? Me? Society? These are big questions, but designers are uniquely positioned to make a difference, they design the products businesses manufacture, that builders build, and that we buy. And here is my surest prediction for 2010: we will continue to buy things.

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sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, saul griffith

SAUL GRIFFITH – Engineer, Innovator, and Founder of Makani Power [9], Howtoons [10], and Instructables [11]

Given that no binding agreement was reached in Copenhagen, there will likely be no national or international pressure to do real green-house reductions, and hence it is very likely that 2010 green design will be an undertaking of those trying to greenwash their companies. Very likely we’ll see many people misusuing terminology and physical units to overmarket products that aren’t really going to cut the mustard. Remember that a climate friendly world means a reduction in carbon of 80%, that means 5 X less carbon that we produce today, by 2050 or probably even earlier. Given that, we’ll see lots of designs begging you to buy this or that thing because it’s twice as good, or 25% better than some consumer thingy that it replaces. Well, that’s not good enough. It has to be 5 or 10 times better, or 500-1000% better, to really be a good green thing. If we are lucky a few companies will start to realize that the only way to make truly green consumer products will be by making them heirloom products, things that will last for multiple generations, be repairable without a magnifying glass or a PhD, and made from lasting materials like wood, stainless steel, copper, & aluminum. I predict a huge number of car companies will claim 100mpg plug-in hybrids, and all of them will be lying, because they are only counting the energy in the gasoline, not the energy required to produce the electricity that charges the batteries that most likely came from a coal fired power plant. Yes, 2010 will be like 2009, only probably worse, with a whole lot of very ordinary design sold to us as green. We still don’t have a generation of designers who are literate in climate and energy issues, so they’ll spend their time writing marketing spin instead.

So, what might be the best of green design for 2010 are the things that don’t get designed. Don’t design me a new iPhone, figure out how to make my old one last. Don’t design me a new “green house”, figure out how to make the one I have more efficient. Don’t sell me physical objects, help me re-purpose the ones I have or otherwise give me digital tools for a higher quality of life that don’t require Chinese injection moldings.
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sustainable design, green design, green design predictions 2010, new year's predictions, thomas ermacora, clear village

THOMAS ERMACORA – Founder, Clear Village Foundation [12]

Coming out of such a critical year for climate change with hopes for Copenhagen turning into deception for most, I cannot help but be dualistic about 2010. The freezing cold in Copenhagen surely didn’t help convey the notion of global warming to the oil nations and other natural skeptics. Ironically I even had trouble leaving Copenhagen due to a snowstorm, as I was to fly out. What stays with me is the feeling that the unfortunate truth behind COP15’s bitter failure in terms of binding outcome is related to trade and economic differentials. Indeed, who would risk his mandate on favoring low carbon emission target countries trading into his or her country in the midst of the worst recession and financial crisis of modern times? Maybe if we had done this before September 2008 it all would have looked very different. The only saving grace of the immediate cause-and-effect relation between climate change and the global economy is that it means we cannot wait for the nation states. I appreciated Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts to convey the importance and relevance of sub-national, trans-cultural, inter-institutional initiatives as having an immense capacity to address problems without being trapped in endless negotiations that involve classic influence dialectics.

I recall another point from Governor Schwarzenegger’s intervention which I keep to convince myself of the higher purpose of designers: “cop15 is already a success – it has achieved global focus and convergence over the problems we must face collectively…”. The near collapse of many great efforts made by the scientific community, civil society and political iconoclasts come as a hard opening to the New Year. This may be true, but still we should keep doing what we have been doing – collaborate more, and study together as concerned earthlings how to multiply the impact of our actions.

Climate Change is just one of challenges that PR has managed to push on our sense of urgency button and launch into greater policy debate. The fact is we have a lot more on our plate between dwindling biodiversity, fresh water depletion, ocean acidification, etc, which are often referred to as the planetary boundaries. So there is absolutely no doubt that those of us innovating with the use of resources, finding unique ways to harness the power of renewables, evolving our relation to food and land, designing for the other 90%, and empowering communities towards sustainable paths are on the right track. It is obvious in a way but there may be a little backlash pushing some do-gooders towards indifference and that would be a pity.

My resolutions for 2010 are quite straight forward: keep moving, don’t look back, it is not of essence to contest the fact we must revisit profoundly the way we consume, dwell and move – at the very least, not dismissing the need for us to spot a unifying meaning to this massive transformation we will undergo.

I wish for the increasing pressure of what some journalists like to call the “bottom”. While at Klima Forum and Christiania, I observed the greater sense of organization and lobbying that these movements have developed over the years since Porto Alegre, and saw how they started to collaborate and merge into powerful cross-disciplinary actors, more of which would be fantastic.

Above all, I hope for a boundless effort from the design community to integrate “better thinking” and “participatory processes” into all products, services and plans. Peer pressure within the design world is needed, as the new standard of competition should no longer be just sales volumes or reliability, but rather how deeply the design embodies our current needs and integrates state of the art technology or methods to get the performance that ticks the right boxes – away from futilism.


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/green-design-predictions-for-2010/

URLs in this post:

[1] reflect upon the past: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/12/30/top-6-most-popular-green-stories-of-2009/

[2] make resolutions for the future: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/01/01/inhabitat-new-years-resolutions-for-2010/

[3] Core77: http://core77.com/

[4] Project H Design: http://projecthdesign.org/

[5] Dwell Magazine: http://www.dwell.com/

[6] Unpackaged: http://beunpackaged.com

[7] Green 11: http://www.shopgreen11.com

[8] Treehugger.com: http://www.treehugger.com/

[9] Makani Power: http://www.makanipower.com/

[10] Howtoons: http://www.howtoons.com/

[11] Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/

[12] Clear Village Foundation: http://www.clear-village.org/

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