Visit my other book, Architecture & Design versus Consumerism online. In Amazon paperback & kindle.

Category Archives: transportation

two great research projects, one bad name

two great research projects, one bad name


Cycle Boom, formerly PrICELESS Design,  is a research project studying the benefits of cycling in later life

Here are two research projects I really like, but only one has a good name…see if you can guess which one:

PrICELESS Design, which stands for “Promoting Independent Cycling for Enhancing Later Life Experience and Social Synergy through Design”


Consensus, which stands for “consumption, environment and sustainability”, a collaborative research project looking at sustainable household consumption in Ireland (North and South)

While neither name actually tells you what the project does, I’d argue that the second gives a feeling that aligns with the actual project, whereas the first doesn’t. There are often adminstrative and grant funding hoops to jump through when naming a project–BREAKING NEWS–although news reports I read about the study called it PrICELESS Design and it still has that name on the Oxford Brookes search, some poking around reveals they changed the name …to Cycle Boom with a tag line of “design for lifelong health and well being.” OK, better.

Cycle Boom is premised on the fact that “cycling accounts for only 1 per cent of all journeys amongst people aged 65 and older in the UK compared to 23 per cent in the Netherlands, 15 per cent in Denmark and 9 per cent in Germany.” I’m sure this is tied to the generally lower rates of cycling in the UK across the board, but I still think it is a great avenue to explore and its findings could well have relevance for cycling among other potentially vulnerable groups (kids, for example).

As regular readers will know, I think bicycles are a great pathway into exploring sustainability (see Five ways to learn from bicycles) and Cycle Boom looks like it will have this type of wide scope, alongside an interesting mixed methods approach.


Consensus is an Irish collaborative research project to look at:

  • Drivers of and incentives for sustainable behavior change (focusing on everyday consumption practices)
  • The measurement and evaluation of sustainable household consumption practices
  • The links between consumption, health and wellbeing
  • The governance of household consumption through institutional practice and participation

Phase 1 (2009 – 2013) is complete and phase 2 (2014-2015) is underway. Building upon phase 1 results, it will look at lifestyle profiling for Ireland to create more effective interventions, in-home labs to prototype interventions, and mapping mobility to life stages to better identify intervention points.

What about you? Are you framing up a research project that needs a name, among other things? Then looking at these projects could provide some inspiration. Perhaps, like me, you find yourself wishing your students had a better grasp of research. Walking them through one of these projects could be enlightening –even the basis of a critique or comparison they could do among current research efforts on sustainable design.

If you find this post useful, please pass it on (copy and past the URL into an email) or sign up to get monthly summaries. Also check out this week’s post over on Design Consumerism and Activism, about pop-ups (pop up parks, restaurants and the like).



What’s not missing from this picture?

I read recenlty that the city of Detroit is exploring the option of “killing off” interstate 375 in favor of a pedestrian corridor that would better link neighborhoods,  boost the local economies and strengthen neighborhoods. Milwaukee, San Francisco and Portland have already ripped out sections of the freeways to good effect. So in this week’sContinue Reading

5 ways to learn from bicycles

I have bicycles on my mind. This morning I dragged my road bike out of the shed after a long (very long) winter’s rest. I worked on the front wheel hub and brake housing. Within 25 minutes I had it all ready to go. I remember back in college building a bike from the frameContinue Reading



Join me on the first Thursday of the month for ideas, tips and inspiration for teaching and researching sutainable design. Sign up to get these posts in your inbox.