I am an author and researcher in the field of environmental and social sustainability. The approach I take to my work, and my perspective on our environmental crisis, has been shaped by a background in the humanities, initially through an Oxford doctorate in the history of philosophy, religion and science, and subsequently by teaching the history and theory of architecture and design, principally at the University of South Australia.
Finding that many graduate students in sustainable design had very little understanding of consumption and its relationship to design, I began teaching a course called ‘Consumer Culture, Technology and Sustainable Design’. This was the origin of my book, Somebody Else’s Problem: Consumerism, Design and Sustainability (2016), which won ‘gold’ in the Axiom Best Business Books list of 2017. I am presently working on a second, revised and expanded edition of this book.
In my work I understand design in ‘relational’ terms. If used responsibly, design could reshape our relationships with our things, services and environments towards more sustainable ends. Unfortunately, since the 1900s, design has been developed as a tool for increasing the sale and consumption of goods, in its various roles largely subservient to commercial interests intent on increasing the volume of goods and services consumed. Much of my work is now directed at how this contribution to our environmental crisis might be reconfigured and changed. Our very survival may depend on it.
On this website I have included most of my published writings (where possible