Design for Planet 2023

Design for Planet by the Design Council kicked off their third year running by welcoming over 6,000 global online attendees and IRL guests. This year's theme was collaboration, with brands and organisations across a range of industries taking the stage to discuss designing for our planet and future. Here we share three themes that caught our attention at the festival:

Inclusive Commuting

Healthy Homes

Shareable Assets

Inclusive Commuting

Discussions on sustainable ways of commuting from new cycling routes to EV cars continues to be a hot topic. Although progress is being made in delivering better footpaths, cycle and wheeling lanes thanks to efforts from the likes of Sustrans, a tremendous accessibility gap still remains that affects many people with disabilities. 

UK based charity Motability, are supporting people with disabilities to exchange qualifying mobility allowances to gain access to cars, wheelchair accessible vehicles, scooters or powered wheelchairs allowing them to enjoy freedom and independence. Accessibility for all should be at the forefront of the agenda of public transport systems, local councils and automotive brands globally to change the fact that disabled people make 38% fewer journeys than non-disabled people. This is a figure that has not changed in the last decade.

Health Homes

As the demand for more social housing grows, we see more new buildings appear across cities in the UK, while old buildings continue to fall apart and remain in many scenarios, in unlivable conditions.

Housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa sheds light on the poor conditions in social housing and explains that this has a direct effect on an individual's physical and mental health. Social housing across the UK lacks suitable conditions that allow residents to live comfortably and safely in their homes.

Applying innovation to the structures, material and systems we use can open the door and the building of long lasting, affordable and comfortable housing for the growing population of people in need of homes. Goldsmith Street in Norwich City Centre, a high density and green social housing design by Mikhail Riches shows what is possible. Healthy Homes can mean more money in the pockets regarding the cost of bills as a result of strategic design processes and a healthy mind through the comfort and stability of living in a safe environment.

Shareable Assets

Assets and data can hold tremendous power in driving decisions making and actions across industries. Speaking at the event, Mobilityways and Liftshare discussed the need for a sharing mindset in the way we commute and use data. Suggesting that sharing space and information can reduce carbon emission tremendously. 

Children's clothing rental brand Bundlee explained their business model which allows parents to rent and rotate their children's wardrobe with minimal effort while reducing consumption of clothing as growth spurts regularly occur, resulting in frequent purchasing of items. The brand plans to utilise their extensive data collected using radio frequency tags to track garment lifespan and information about items wear. This will allow clothing brands to identify how they can improve their quality and production processes.

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