Yesterday a council contractor rode up and down our street spraying weed killer on the pavements, grass and tree pits. I was dumbstruck. This is the biodiversity crisis manifesting literally on my doorstep. And at the same time double standards. Here you have a council that has led the way in the UK in declaring both climate and ecological emergencies. All the while its contractors are spraying weedkiller on its streets. For me this encapsulates the fundamental challenge of the ecological crisis: we understand at some high level that something must be done but we can’t translate that into what a thriving ecosystem looks like.Continue reading “Revaluing weeds in the biodiversity emergency”
From hospital waiting rooms to long-distance train journeys, the weather page is a great conversation starter for my daughter and me, full of questions about geography, mathematics, history, about language…Continue reading “Why isn’t Lands End called Lands Start? – parenting with the weather pages”
That’s what my 8-year-old daughter said to me yesterday. Truth be told, I’d been talking earlier in the week about ski-lift engineering as a job that combines so many of her passions: rocks and minerals: climbing; being outdoors; skiing (following a single trip to a dry ski slope); making Lego zip lines; drawing. No wonder she likes the idea. So do I. In fact, wonder if it is too late to apply?Continue reading “I want to be a ski-lift engineer when I grow up”
Today engineers completed work on a major new irrigation channel to bring drinking water to a major new coastal development on Sand Bay, near Weston-Super-Mare. The 60-metre-long new canal brings water that rises from the coarse sand at the back of the beach across the inter-tidal zone to the new fortified town, which looks north-westwards across the Bristol Channel towards Cardiff.
In a bold vision, the water supply has two functions: potable water supply for the imaginary people living in the turret in the middle of the island; and also to ensure the defensive moat is always full. Anglo-French design and build contractors Eiffelover and Co. have a long track record in delivering civil and environmental projects in coastal settings.Continue reading “Weekend engineering works – near Weston-Super-Mare”
A new month, new good intentions. Just like when I started a new exercise book at school, when I would commit to being extra neat (and then forgetting about it a few days later). It’s good time at least to think about how the advent of December can influence your creative work.Continue reading “Creative inspiration from December”
I’ve realised that quietly, in the back of my mind I am waiting. It hasn’t happened yet, so I just have to wait a bit longer. I am waiting for things to return to normal.Continue reading “Still waiting”
Yesterday my daughter and I left the house and flipped a coin. Heads for left, tails for right. Right it was, then left, then left again, et cetera. A random journey along the roads, cyclepaths and alleyways of our neighbourhood ensued. It became a fun home-schooling lesson in probability. It revealed to me the habits that stop me from noticing so much of what surrounds me. And it was a fascinating experiment in not having a plan.Continue reading “The left-right game – experiments in navigation, embodiment and control”
It’s hard to know where to start. So much has changed in the last fortnight and there is so much that I feel compelled to write about. But now that our house has also become a remote workplace, a homeschool and playground and locus for all entertainment and time-passing activities, it is hard to find the time to write in an ordered way, so I will capture things as they emerge and look to see the patterns over time. I hope you will bear with me, reader. On my mind today:
- The shrinking horizon of existance
- Surveillance capitalism and Analogue Skills
- Everyone is the same distance away
- Mourning friction
- A great slowing
Tabitha Pope is an architect and lecturer, with a specialism temporary structures and participatory architecture and a passion for work that sits at the boundary of art and architecture. In this episode, produced in support of International Women’s Day, my colleague Lucy Barber interview Tabitha about:
- What is participatory design and what benefits does it offer us in the climate emergency.
- Challenging power in order to make architecture a more inclusive space for all under-represented groups, not just women.
- How her practice of carpentry allows her to intervene in the design process in a different way.
- Establishing a nature connection to help designers and citizens alike tackle the biodiversity crisis.
- Stepping into a space of vulnerability in design in order to do things differently.
- Creating spaces for joy and encounter to tackle loneliness and build resilience in communities.
This question came up on the way home this evening. On the back of the tandem, my daughter was experimenting with counting in French. Things were going fine until we got to sixty-nine. And then I explained that French for seventy is soixante-dix, literally, ‘sixty ten’. Without turning round, I could feel the look of bewilderment on her face.Continue reading “Why do they say ‘sixty-ten’ in French?”