Independent Field Research, Long Life Design

1) Observe the world around you — people on the streets, in shops, at events you attend and on your commute to school. etc. What practices (actions) do you see that enable Long Life Design — actions that support things to last? What actions do you see people do that make things quickly become unusable or thrown away? Post 2-3 photos + examples.

This is a coffee shop that I visit often. When they offer a coffee, they prefer us to use a mug cup instead of disposable cups. I think this is an act of enabling long life design because mug cups could be used for a long time over and over again. Also, it prevents people to throw away cups that produces a lot of trashes and landfills.

However, there were still some people who preferred using disposable cups because they wanted to bring it with them. I saw some people throwing away their cups in the trashcan.

This is a vintage clothes shop where they sell clothes that have been worn by others but in good condition. They select the clothes and resell it in a lower price. I think this also fits the long life design criteria because they are reselling clothes that would otherwise have been thrown away. Especially when clothing industry is impacting the environment due to massive amount of clothes that are just thrown away, I think this is a great solution.


2) Read How to Buy Clothers that Are Built to Last (Links to an external site.) as inspiration. Do you consider any of these suggestions already when buying clothes?

I consider buying clothes made with thicker fabrics especially on winter times. Even if it is just a T-shirt I want to buy something thick because I feel like that would last longer than thinner ones that wears out quickly.

I also think “will I wear it again?” when buying clothes. Even if I upload it on social media I often just wear it. If I have already wore a t-shirt, I can always wear it again by matching it with other items or accessories.


3) Analyze your own actions. Provide at least one example of how you already practice Long Life Design and one example of how you don’t. Include 2-3 photos.  Consider the things that you will  keep or throw away by the end of the day, next week, end the semester and will keep beyond your time at Parsons. Is it more common that your actions or the materials themselves make things last  — or become trash?

I got this printer from my friend who is currently taking a gap year. When she was packing, she said she’s going to throwaway all the things that are heavy/ not able to take it home. This printer that she was going to throw away was still usable and it still works well. If I did not get this from my friend, I would have bought one from a store. This way the printer laster longer and will last more beyond my time at Parsons.


Yesterday, I ordered pho via uber eats, and I got all the ingredients in separate bags. There were like 7 different bags inside that were supposed to be thrown away after pouring all the ingredients. I understand their act to keep those separate so that they don’t get rotten. However, I felt like there were too much things to throw away even if I just ordered one, and I can’t imagine how much of these will be thrown away every day, because it was a popular restaurant.

4) Learn about the effects of climate change on food (Links to an external site.) and read about the new zero waste restaurant Rhodora (Links to an external site.). What do you think of these realities related to food systems? Would you like to visit this restaurant? Do you think it will last more than 10 years (why or why not)?

I was surprised that little changes to the temperature and shift in a growing season can upset supply chains, labor schedules. I did not know that so many farmers have failed to raise crops because of shift in weather and temperature. This also has a big impact on food systems and supply chains because they are the ones who provide those crops and fruits to bakers, firms and other people. If suppliers keep failing to harvest crops, they could not provide enough and people won’t be able to buy much as well, which would result economic problems and lack of supply chains in food systems.

I would like to visit this restaurant because as a consumer, I would like to spend money on restaurants that consider environment and do things for everyone’s good. I think it will last long if everyone’s willing to participate and visit the restaurant but on the other hand, I am concerned because these days not a lot of people want to take care of their waste/trash at a restaurant.

5) Next, read about Fong On tofu in Chinatown, a recently re-opened shop by Mr. Eng. This was once his grandfather’s 80-year-old store. (Links to an external site.) Do you think this new shop will last more than 10 years (why or why not)? How might a cultural community like Chinatown and a long history help enable this business to last? How might inventing new foods and approaches that attract new customers beyond the  local Chinese help it last? Do you think it’s possible to do both at the same time (combine a long history and new approaches)?

I think it will last more than 10 years because it is not just a new brand but a shop that has a long history of maintaining the store. I think inventing new foods and attracting new young customers beyond the local Chinese is a great idea because only approaching to local Chinese customers has limitations. I think they succeeded searching for new audiences who are young so that they could visit the shop for a long time in the future. However, I think it is hard to combine a long history/tradition and new approaches because the old recipe has been altered and they already came up with a lot of new / trendy menus for young generation.


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