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Liveable Planet

To build and test practical solutions to the enormous threats our planet faces. 
The climate crisis is so pressing that the next 3 or 4 years will determine the future of humanity. So says a recent UK Chief Scientific Officer. How can designers respond to a call of such overwhelming urgency? How do we employ our design skills, choose projects with the most impact and bring an environmental lens to all of our work?

The Liveable Planet Challenge Lab is a practical experiment in answering these questions: a place to design for our planet with confidence, sensitivity and impact.
This is an endeavour that can only be collaborative. Need help with a sustainability challenge? Get in touch

What can service Design do?

“Moving to a lower-carbon future is not going to be a great, dramatic transformation – it will be slow and chronic….I hope what comes next is a more focused, locally rooted and inclusive politics based around asking people what they actually need in their lives, and working out how to fit those things within an environmental framework.”
Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian

After COP26 we have a destination: huge cuts in carbon emissions.

What we don’t have is a path. How do we integrate millions of EVs into our neighbourhoods? Sensibly install hundreds of thousands of heat pumps into leaky, poorly prepared homes? Adjust our appetites for fast fashion, carbon heavy diets and impulsive travel? And do all that in a way that is fair, thoughtful and even fun?

The Design For Planet Lab aims to help map this path. Through live projects conducted by students and staff and in partnership with NGOs, companies and government, we apply these 4 core elements of service design to the urgency of the climate challenge:

Empathy: Through understanding the habits, dreams, desires and fears of people, we design solutions that people actually want and use.

Systems Thinking: helps us identify how sustainable solutions need to fit into complex social, cultural and economic systems and helps us anticipate the potential unintended consequences of our designs.

Bias To Action: We create prototypes to allow people to experience and react to/against possible sustainable futures.

Fail safely: Rapid prototyping and speculative design allow us to test future scenarios quickly and cheaply. Letting us fail, iterate, improve with the urgency the crisis demands.


We use service design methods to create practical solutions to environmental problems. These projects are run from the UK, but connect to and learn from thinking and practice from cities and communities around the world.  They look at carbon reduction and the climate crisis within the broader context of planetary boundaries and aim to address questions of biodiversity, pollution and biocultural heritage.

Our work aims to address decarbonization (abatement), climate impact mitigation (adaptation) and the building of regenerative future (transition). We are also concerned with how we balance encouraging people to engage with the seriousness of the climate crisis whilst protecting our wellbeing and mental health.

EV Charging

Rolling out EV Charging across the UK : Challenge set by PA Consulting to accelerate and smooth the expansion of EV charging infrastructure through the UK. Built on the launch of the iconic new chargepoint created by PA and the RCA.

The Future of Heat

Challenge set by Bulb to accelerate the switch from gas heating in homes to more sustainable air and ground source energy.

True Carbon Zero

Challenge set by futurist Sanjay Khanna to explore how designers can navigate the complexity and confusion of decarbonization strategies, greenwashing and evolving climate impact amidst the converging crises.

Future Briefs

We are keen to explore all elements of sustainability where design thinking and practice can make a difference.  

Our ongoing work includes:

Sfera  (Service Futures, empowering reflective action) is a sphere of shared learning and reflective action that incorporates play to shift the language of decarbonization and climate narratives in the converging crisis. Sferå empowers Service Designers to understand, commit and enable impactful decarbonisation amidst the converging crisis by knowing the facts, avoiding greenwash, and collectively committing to reflective actions through its learning hub, toolkit resources, workshops and podcasts. For more info contactArif Yusop

Exploring the link between mental health and wellbeing and experience of the climate crisis. (Contact us for more on work in this area)

Helping Olio develop their sharing economy service (Brief currently in development. For more on Olio see

Changing how we perceive heat in our homes (Contact Jonathan Hadlow for more on his experimental work in this area)



We work with diverse organisations: commercial, NGO, government, consultancy and academia. As well as inspiring individuals and community groups.


Anna Poeyry-Grossman

Project Partner

Senior Foresight Manager at Adidas

Arif Yusop

Visiting Associate

MA Service Design 2020/22

Emily Boxall

Tutor + Visiting Associate

Design Associate + Tutor Service Design RCA

Richard Atkinson

Head of Liveable Planet Lab

Sanjay Khanna

Researcher, Guest Lecturer, Project Partner

Futurist and Professor of Practice at McMaster

Work With Us

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