A blog about design at the OU.

  • The journey to service co-design

    The journey to service co-design

    “Inside Mum” – The journey to service co-design in parenting education with practitioners, and women who have experience of the Criminal Justice System I first started looking at research with the Open University in Criminal Justice in the late 1990s, when I encountered a powerful reader text by Anne Worrall (1990) about the experience of […]

  • Hexagonal Living

    Hexagonal Living

    A small group of houses always intrigued me as I hiked past them with my children on the way to birthday parties on the north side of Leamington Spa. Set back from the road, and almost hidden by numerous trees, they still managed to stand out; an experiment from another era. I was thus rather […]

  • Governing cities of multiple intelligences

    Governing cities of multiple intelligences

    No longer artefacts of science fiction, artificially intelligences (AIs) are becoming increasingly embedded in our towns and cities.  Urban AI can now be found in transport systems such as in robots for grocery delivery and connected autonomous vehicles more generally, as well as in city governance, planning and design practices in the form of so-called […]

  • Dare to Hope: a box to support creative ageing

    Dare to Hope: a box to support creative ageing

    As we grow older, the opportunities to keep growing our creative capabilities and participate in social, cultural and economic life are reduced. Research suggests that active and creative living is a key factor for the health and wellbeing of individuals as they are ageing, but also a key factor for the quality of life and […]

  • Cross-pollination Resources

    Cross-pollination Resources

    Over the last year the Cross Pollination research project, part of the Placed-Based Research Programme hub, worked in several locations to see how the Cross Pollination approach could enable local organisations to enable their own communities. One of the key objectives for this particular research project was to develop ways to cascade and enable cross-pollination […]

  • Celebrating the diversity of research in the built environment

    Celebrating the diversity of research in the built environment

    A few months ago I took part in a ‘video challenge’ being run by the international, open access journal, Buildings & Cities. The challenge was for PhD students and those who had recently completed their PhDs to explain ‘why their research matters’ in a two minute video aimed at a general audience. The purpose of […]

  • Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering

    Women in Innovation, Design and Engineering

    Engineering is still far from reaching gender equality. In 2020 only about 15% of engineers were women in the UK (Women’s Engineering Society, 2022). Design is in a slightly better position with 22% of female designers in the workforce (Design Council, 2023). The design sectors with the highest numbers of female staff also have the […]

  • Tom Karen

    Tom Karen

    Letchworth Garden City Museum has been hosting an exhibition of the work of designer Tom Karen over the past year. It is still on show and worth a visit. Sadly, Tom Karen died recently, aged 96. This exhibition is a chance to catch up on a lifetime of designing. Many iconic contributions came from his […]

  • Calculating your carbon footprint

    Calculating your carbon footprint

    Earlier in 2022 I was asked to produce some material for OpenLearn on carbon footprints as part of the OU’s Carbon Literacy training and the Digital Transformation project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The OpenLearn article is at: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/calculating-your-carbon-footprint After discussing what is meant by a carbon footprint and ‘net zero’, […]