Category Archives: the home

Why are some urban Indians choosing to live in homes made out of mud, cow dung or sugar cane?

Many other middle and upper-middle class families who used to live in sprawling bungalows or big city flats are now choosing to live in smaller mud houses, largely on the outskirts of small towns, opting for simpler living while coping with climate change.

Designers, planners and architects are helping them to build minimalist homes with primarily mud, but also other locally-sourced materials including bamboo, recycled wood, lime, baked bricks, cow dung, wheat husks and stones.

DIY Blood Draw – Could Patients Collect Blood At Home?

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) testing is booming since the pandemic. What started as a necessity, quickly turned into real market demand. The reasons are manifold. 

The number of health-conscious consumers is on the rise: they want a more active role and more control in managing their health, thus they are happy to initiate and pay for specific tests that have been formerly only possible through a doctor’s order.

Half of Millennials Own Homes. The Rest Fear They Never Will

Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1996, are falling behind other generations when it comes to wealth, hit by the 2008 economic crisis, stagnating wages, skyrocketing house prices during the pandemic, and now rising interest rates and inflation. Nearly half are living paycheck to paycheck, according to 2022 data, and few own stocks or are free of student debt.

Our home is a narrative system

Our home is a narrative system. To develop effective speculative design strategies we must understand the relationship between design, meaning, and use. To cultivate sustainable systems we must consider how any specific design requires a shift in habits that can be constantly impacted by changing externalities.

As part of the Culture Mapping workshops I share with students and clients, we map these evolving meanings to understand how our design must anticipate changes that provide better investments and direction of resources.

By mapping the evolution of our design as a system of language we can uncover narrative codes. Our homes offer a corpus of language embedded in the evolving design of how we live. The concept of “a machine for living” today is something quite different than it was after WW2. Our desire to be closer to food systems is one obvious example. Today’s “machine for living” is a home that learns and adapts to a changing world with fewer resources and an increasing ambiguity between home and other spaces in our world.

#culturemapping #home #designthinking #semiotics #speculativedesign #foresight

Is Invasive Species Dining The Next Frontier?

Whether it’s raccoon-size rodents called nutria using massive chompers to clear-cut Louisiana marshes into mud flats or shrubby Japanese knotweed smothering local flora up and down the East Coast, there are thousands of examples with people thoughtlessly introducing a species into a new environment, then battling to bring it under control. Invasives have cost the world an estimated $1.3 trillion by ruining agricultural yields, undermining tourism, and hurting public health over the past half century. Even worse, these outlaws are responsible for roughly a third of extinctions over the past 500 years, including, in 2021, the loss of the Maui ʻākepa bird and a Hawaiian variety of flowering mint. There are now 4,300 nonnative types of wildlife in the United States destructive enough for conservationists to label them as invasive.

The bold idea to eat them out of existence occurred to conservation biologist Joe Roman 20 years ago, when he developed the concept of invasivorism. Back then, it was considered more a topic for quirky cocktail conversation than a serious scientific discussion. Over time, however, Roman, based at the University of Vermont, has watched the stars align, with research and chefs like Paine advancing the practice, and individuals in general taking an interest in the ecological consequences of their gustatory habits.

Pokémon Sleep, which you play by sleeping, is out this year

The Pokémon Company has finally revealed some details on its most anticipated product: Pokémon Sleep. The mobile app was first announced in 2019, and today, during a livestream, the company revealed a pair of trailers that show off the actual experience.

Essentially, the game is a sleep tracker, where you interact with the pokémon in the app by, well, sleeping. Depending how you snooze — sleep is divided into three types: dozing, snoozing, and slumbering — you’ll attract different kinds of creatures.

SkipTheDishes launches AI-powered Inflation Cookbook

The Inflation Cookbook leverages the power of data and technology to track the top ten food items that are trending downwards and upwards in price each week. Insights are regionally dictated and brand agnostic, providing Canadians across all provinces with an opportunity to find better priced groceries. Using AI and the guidance of both a top nutritionist and chef, the Cookbook also curates seven healthy recipes that consumers can create at home using the best-priced items from that week, making healthy, cost-effective meal planning an accessible and convenient option.

Recyclable? Try Refillable. The Quest For a Greener Cleaner

Today, the pressure to reduce corporate carbon footprints is forcing a second look at all that plastic packaging. “Reuse, for some types of products and packaging,” Mr. Prindiville said, “can put a huge dent in reducing those climate impacts.”

Household cleaners seem particularly primed for a refill revolution. Whereas shampoo and conditioner involve complicated chemical formulas, many cleaners can be easily concentrated and reconstituted with water. In fact, that’s what makes up the bulk of traditional cleaning products, leading Mr. Prindiville to describe the current system this way: “We’re just shipping around water. And that’s dumb.”