Tag Archives: sustainability

The Perspectivity Game


During a very nice sailing trip to Friesland with O2nederlands, we had the chance to play the perspectivity game.

A board game, where six players (countries) try to grow and have the biggest revenues in 10 rounds, using the available resources on the board (planet). The countries can grow by building ordinary, polluting factories or renewable ones that cost more to build and bring the same revenues as the ordinary ones.  If there is a lot of pollution then catastrophes start causing a lot of damages to your factories, which means more cost to the players as well. Hence, the first dilemma that arises is to be green or not to be green? Players start to negotiate about the level of emissions that should be allowed on the planet in order to avoid future catastrophes…Moreover, there are some blocks on the board that give you the double production if you place a factory there…but they are limited…so, everyone wants them! How can you solve these conflicts, with your neighbor countries?

The Perspectivity Game is a very nice game, empowering dialogue to discuss possible future scenarios for the world. By playing it, you can see people going for the biggest revenues no matter the cost, idealists building only renewable factories, and a world ready to clash in every moment.

In the end of the game, we ended up having a high score on the game, but in a weird manner. Half of the world was polluting, and had slighter bigger revenues, and the other half was green but a little bit less productive. Hence, the winners were the ones that polluted the world the most :S Something that accounts to reality, but should not be taught in schools (as the developers of the game hope for) if we are aiming towards a better future. I think it’s time to think further than revenues alone,  and integrate values in our economy as well.

What matters is not only the win, but also the way the win comes…and at least for me should always be with Style!

p.s thanks to G.Lo for the great photos 😉


Design is the problem

I really like Nathan Shedroff’s presentation “Design is the problem”, and I think I’m going to buy his book as well.

It’s not that he proposes something new, but that he reviews and presents the issues about sustainability in the right perspective giving concrete implications for design. The double button flash is not the way to design (call me Ehrenfeld), neither Cradle2Cradle (“messiahs” William McDonough and Michael Braungart)…

Sustainable Design is nothing more than taking into consideration all the matters: social, environmental and economical. In the past, it was only the last that really mattered…hopefully things change.

Core77 has a very nice (but long) interview from Nathan Shedroff…Read it if you feel like 😉

Lights off or lights on?



Lazy Saturday afternoon and I’ve been following the EarthHour on twitter, which has already started in the other hemisphere…Impressive pictures from all around the world, with dark cities and monuments, people celebrating the Earth Hour with candles and music etc…

But looking at pictures like these from Hong Kong, I start to think that the whole Earth Hour campaign is fundamentally wrong! These images fit more to cities like the  Dark City, Gotham City in Batman, or New York in I Am Legend, where fear, terror and catastrophe prevails.

Is this the image we want to convey with sustainability? Are dark cities how we imagine our future? Why do we continue to make the same mistakes and link the environmental movement with  something that subtracts instead of adding to our lives?

There are still 2 hours remaining till the Earth Hour in the Netherlands, and I think i will leave the lights on…

Rebrand Sustainability!


Looking at the tag cloud on the right column of my blog, the word sustainability distinguishes with its size from the others. Obviously, I have tagged a lot of my posts with this word, which I have started to hate…What does “sustainability” mean? A buzz word that everybody uses, but nobody really understands it. “Sustainability” has started creating a “reactance phenomenon” with people getting tired of listening to this word, switching to a denial, more passive mode. But why? I will totally agree with Valerie Casey of the Designers Accord describing that the “language of sustainability” is all wrong, too firmly based in decades of shaming environmentalism and a subtractive rather than additive design process and lifestyle.

Do we really want a calvinistic future, full of moral regulations, laws, “efficiencies” etc or do we want a free life, where we can create and flourish without any guilts? I like Ehrenfeld’s view of aephoria (the greek word for “always flourishing”), but in the end does he just create another buzzword?  I think I will agree with John Bielenberg of projectM declaring that “sustainability needs rebranding” in order to become a more attractive idea that is unignorable and opportunity-based, rather than limiting.

(post inspired by core77, picture’s source: Winterhouse)

“The purpose of life is shopping…”

I just attended an atrocious speech by Rodney Fitch, talking about his company Fitch, which is specialized on brand experience and retail design. I am not criticizing the company, which is worldwide successful designing obviously excellent consumer experiences and interactions (e.g for LEGO), but the man himself. 


I just don’t accept a man  in the sacred place of a university, where personalities and characters are shaped, to preach from his pedestal literally that “The purpose of life is shopping“…I just don’t accept it! In the end Mr. Fitch closed his presentation with a beautiful but completely superficial video about sustainable supermarkets, where he visions supermarkets with no parking lots, but car parks (really, what’s the difference?) and more “sustainable ideas”…

Congrats Mr. Fitch!

Sustainable Restoration…

I just returned from the library of Architecture, where I borrowed a book from the always inspiring Ezio Manzini from Polytecnico di Milano. About the book I will write another time; now I want to focus on the visit itself, which left me with a big smile on the face.

The faculty of Architecture, for the ones that don’t live in Delft, was burned down last May. Immediately the TUDelft decided to transfer Architecture to an old building of the university, and restore the building to meet the functions of the faculty. What surprises me , is not only how fast the building was restored but also how inspiring the building itself is. The high ceilings, the wide corridors, the big windows etc. bring another atmosphere in the air than the modernistic, block that Architecture was before the fire. While, the interior is very modern, and stylish…I don’t know about its sustainability aspect.  

An even bigger surprise, was my visit to the “White Rose” (De Witte Roos), the building that is going to be sustainably renovated in Delft and I will contribute to with my project. It’s an amazing monument, from the 16th century, where you can still feel its luxurious and glorious past (photos are coming…).

What I am trying to say here is that building restoration can really go hand in hand with sustainability. Not only it requires less resources (no excavation, no building etc), but also leads to a well being where cultural heritage and urban cohesion is preserved. Really, how wonderful it is to study in the same building with  your grand or grand-grandfather…?

What’s your energy consumption?

What’s your energy consumption? 

I am sure most of you (if not all) don’t have an answer to this question. I didn’t have either, till I visited Wattzon, I created a profile and started tracking the energy I consume due to my lifestyle. Expressed the data in Watt,  the universal unit for power, the results were disappointing. I consume around 7000Watts, because of my choices in commuting, food, housing, flying, owning stuff and government. The last, refers to the social services we receive from government  investments and the energy that is consumed and the carbon dioxide that is emitted. For the Netherlands, this number is 4,749Watts, which is very high if we acknowledge for instance that for my “total unsustainable” home-country, Greece, it’s only 1693Watt…I still have to figure out, why is it so high for the NL? 

Another striking outcome is that, housing (including electricity, heating and gas) is only 12% of my total energy consumption. That’s the fraction (roughly), I aim to minimize by raising awareness for the domestic energy consumption…

Concluding, I think Wattzon is a wonderful tool to track and understand energy consumption but I still feel that something is missing…I’ll found out!

p.s If you have 30′ , watch the WattzOn at PopTech