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Design for micro-utopias : making the unthinkable possible.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Published

Publication date2007
Place of publicationUK
PublisherGower
Number of pages211
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameDesign for Social Responsibility Series
PublisherGower

Abstract

Everyone is already painfully aware of our negative predicament - ecological extinctions, dwindling fossil fuel reserves and economic chaos. What might save us? Surely, we have never had more access to resources, knowledge and technology but this is not the problem. It is collective optimism and creative thinking that is most lacking. In a pragmatic world run by experts this is hardly surprising. As voters and consumers we have become proficient at choosing and complaining but have forgotten how to envisage what we really, really want. How can we design a better world unless we revive the art of dreaming? We have forgotten how to dream and without dreams humanity may be doomed. Perhaps it should be the duty of all citizens to imagine alternative futures. This, in effect, invites citizens to think more like designers. After all, designers have always been dreamers, and have often found ways to realize their dreams.Design for Micro-Utopias does not advocate a serious quest for a single, monolithic Utopia. Rather, it invites readers to embrace a more tentative, temporary, pluralized and truncated version of Thomas More's famous 1516 novel of the same name. It therefore encourages the proliferation of many 'micro-utopias' rather than one 'Utopia'. This requires a less critical, negative and rational approach. Referencing a wide range of philosophical thinking from Aristotle to the present day, western and eastern spiritual ideals, and scientific, biological and systems theory, John Wood offers remedies for our excessively individualistic, mechanistic and disconnected thinking, and asks whether a metadesign approach might bring about a new mode of governance. This is a daring idea. Ultimately, he reminds us that, if we believe that miracles are impossible, we make them even less attainable. The first step is to make them 'thinkable'.