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October 05, 2009



Beautiful and much-needed post. Reminds me of Vilem Flusser's article "Design: Obstacle for/to the Removal of Obstacles" - http://tinyurl.com/ybr5hvk.

The EcoDesign Foundation used to insist that there is no such thing as a 'Sustainable X or Y'; there is only ever a 'more sustainable (use of) X or Y', or what the EcoDesign Foundation used to call 'sustainments' - http://tinyurl.com/sustainments.

Chris Butler


I've been lurking on your blog for a long time now- I often read your posts and then send links to them to friends and coworkers. This one, though simpler than many of your posts, really captivated me.

You hit on a tension of design that I'm often reminded of- that as long as we continue to design systems for people, people will continue to require us to redesign them. I suppose that reality can be looked at both positively, as a self-propagating cycle that will keep us forever busy, or negatively- as a futile and never-ending process. I think it's probably healthy to see it both ways at different times. This tension is probably a most basic human experience- even for someone who expects things to tend toward decline, it would be maddening to actually live that way rather than endeavor to make things better in some way.

- Chris

David Sherwin

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Chris and Cameron. I agree--it is the tension between planned order and our tendencies towards disarray that never ceases to define us.

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