About this Video

This panel is from Postopolis!, an event organised by BLDDBLOG, City of Sound, Inhabitat, Subtopia and the Storefront for Art and Architecture. A list of available videos from the event can be found here.

Proponents of sustainable design have argued, for as long as it has been an option, that sustainability should be a natural criterion in design, rather than a sometimes concern or a cause championed only by fervent devotees. On the second day of Postopolis, Inhabitat’s Jill Fehrenbacher sat with Allan Chochinov of core77.com, Susan S. Szenasy of Metropolis Magazine, and Graham Hill of treehugger.com to explore the issue of sustainability and the grim realities designers should not look away from.

Not that they have been. But serious discussions on this topic have always been heavily dominated by proposals reliant on a sure, sudden shift in the ideological makeup of American consumers and on technological advancements that are still hypothetical. In light of the current state of affairs, these radical suggestions end up alienating less liberal would-be allies, and the theoretical proposals remain just that.

This discussion, however, remains as important as ever. The sheer urgency of the issue, made all the more palpable by the product-obsessed society we inhabit, forces us to understand the radical nature of many recommended solutions to the problem.

Which is why we’re excited about this panel. Rather than spend the entire session pointing fingers or engaging in dense discussions based on obscure statistics, they offer a comprehensive overview of the issue, featuring mixed opinions but a shared earnestness.

Predictably, there are enthusiastic appraisals of technologies that have yet to reach the mainstream. Perhaps not quite as predictably, there is a lively discussion on the ever-present debate over blogging.

There are impassioned denunciations of everyone—executives, designers, manufacturers, consumers—partly at fault for the issue we now have at hand. But most importantly, the panelists offer practical solutions and realistic expectations for progress.

“We have to stop the madness from the producers’ point of view (…) If you’re so smart that you’re actually charging money to do what you’re doing, then you need to be that smart, that you need to be able to do it in a way that has little or no impact”, says Chochinov.

In the video above, the panelists opine on consumption, corporate social responsibility and why “consumer” should be a dirty word.