A Sustainist Lexicon

Seven entries to recast the future

Words are our first tools for making sense of the world. This publication presents seven words for a changing time. In this timely exploration of our cities, heritage, civic initiatives, urbanism and the future, Michiel Schwarz, co-creator of the Sustainism manifesto, charts how a new ethos and praxis is emerging in the ‘design’ of our living environment.


This concise lexicon explores the changing cultural landscape through seven entries: Placemaking, Connectedness, Local, Commons, Circularity, Proportionality, Co-Design. In doing so it marks inroads into a sustainist culture that is more connected, locally-rooted, collaborative, respectful of the human scale, and altogether more environmentally and socially sustainable. Looking at today’s vocabulary through a ‘sustainist lens’, Michiel Schwarz reframes our changing relationship with the built and natural environment, and prompts us to re-imagine what that implies for (urban) design and cultural heritage. Riemer Knoop contributed seven short observations from the field of heritage. Symbol maker Joost Elffers translated the seven key words into graphic visual icons.

A Sustainist Lexicon is co-produced by Reinwardt Academy with the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (Amsterdam University of the Arts) & Sustainism Lab.

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