Reimagining Alternative Technology for Design in the 21st Century presents a new approach to design that harnesses still-valuable alternative, traditional and abandoned technologies alongside the creation of new ones to address contemporary global problems. It focuses on design opportunities that reduce energy and material consumption to tackle issues such as climate change and pollution in industrialized economies.

The book takes the reader on a journey surveying different facets of human activity to identify underused and discarded technologies that could be indispensable today. It critically addresses newer approaches to design and technology by comparing them to existing alternatives, unpacking examples including air conditioning with smart thermostats, electric lighting, durable reusable products, domestic maintenance tools and methods of transportation.

Written for practicing designers and students in industrial design, architecture, sustainable design and human-centered design, this book provides new ideas and tools for creating more useful, energy-and-resource-efficient product designs and systems.

chapter |5 pages


Alternative Technology for the 21st Century

chapter Chapter 1|13 pages

Why Should Alternative Technology Be Reexamined?

chapter Chapter 2|8 pages

The Imperfect Renaissance of the American City Street

Sidewalks, Bike Lanes and Electric Surface Transit

chapter Chapter 3|23 pages

Heating and Cooling

Alternatives for Thermal Comfort

chapter Chapter 4|13 pages

Daylighting vs. Electric Lighting

chapter Chapter 5|25 pages

The Hidden Costs of Domestic Upkeep

chapter Chapter 6|13 pages

Return to Durable Design

chapter Chapter 7|9 pages

Reimagining Design with Traditional Materials

chapter Chapter 8|9 pages

Manual and Therefore Modern?

chapter Chapter 9|11 pages

Manufacturing with Water, Wind and Human Power

chapter Chapter 10|13 pages

Transporting Goods and People

chapter |7 pages


Alternative Principles for 21st-Century Design