Special Projects

Ready to Share:  Fashion and the Ownership of Creativity conference. This conference, held on January 29, 2005, explored the intricate system by which creativity arises, circulates and is converted into marketable fashion. Fashion is a notable world of creativity because it permits and even celebrates the appropriation and modification of other people's creative designs. It is no accident that fashion is a highly robust, churning tide of inno ation in the same way that many online digital environments are. The conference was hosted by the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Stopping Urban Sprawl.  Only three years ago, sprawl was not yet recognized as a distinct battlefront of activism. Few people saw the connections among land use, transportation policy, zoning, habitat loss, racial segregation and urban decline. To help synthesize a new analysis of sprawl and catalyze new activism, I wrote a report, How Smart Growth Can Stop Sprawl.

The Business Enterprise Trust.  Beyond those reforms forced upon business, some enlightened companies have launched their own admirable, pro-active initiatives. The Business Enterprise Trust (1989-1999), founded by Norman Lear, identified dozens of such stories. The BET is now defunct, but other organizations worth checking out include Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy and Social Ventures Network.

Citizen Action and Other Big Ideas: A History of Ralph Nader and the Consumer Movement.  Ralph has been around for so long that no one really remembers when cars didn't have seat belts, airplanes allowed smoking, and congressional hearings were held in secret. My book, Citizen Action and Other Big Ideas (1989, updated in 1992), is one of the few serious, interpretive histories of Ralph Nader's career and the modern consumer movement. A more concise biographical profile of Nader's career can be found in my essay for the Encyclopedia of the Consumer Movement.  For more, see the 2008 film by Steven Skrovan and Henriette Mantel, An Unreasonable Man, in which I provide a narrative overview of much of Nader's career.