Eco – mechanics: a return to products built to last

Eco – mechanics: a return to products built to last

Built-in obsolescence is the design of objects for a specific lifespan. The idea is that when one object fails, you’ll buy another one. It is a very wasteful business model, especially when the things being designed could last so much longer.

Take cars for example. Modern cars are made from many materials with a limited lifespan, and designed with fixings that aren’t meant to be repaired or replaced. Just look at the faded and cracked bumpers hanging off many cars just a few years old. Beyond a certain point, maintaining them becomes uneconomical for all but the keenest enthusiast or expert mechanic.

This seems mad to me, especially in the current climate — both environmental and economic. We are a world in need of solutions to the mounting carbon problem, and looking for ways to spend less. With these factors in mind the retail model of the car industry looks increasingly flawed.

Why not make cars that are designed to last us twice or three times as long and change the business model from one of regular retail sales to one of lifetime maintenance?

Of course this would require cultural changes too. But if cars were designed to be upgraded with new safety and comfort features over time, the opportunities for customisation and personalisation could be enormously attractive to consumers.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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This article is by Tom Cheesewright. This post forms part of the Future of Cities series. For more posts on this subject, visit the Future of Cities page.

Tom Cheesewright

Futurist speaker Tom Cheesewright is one of the UK's leading commentators on technology and tomorrow. Tom has worked with a huge range of organisations across a variety of markets, to help them to see a clear vision of tomorrow, share that vision and respond with agility. Tom draws on his experience to create original, compelling talks that are keyed to the experience of the audience but which surprise and shock with unexpected facts and examples.

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