Coming of Age as Design(er) for Social Sustainability

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Asheim, Jonas; Kj, Anders
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Section: Wellbeing
Page(s): 525-530
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


Based on a reflection on a multi-disciplinary design project in Haiti, this paper aims to discuss how social sustainability, in particular from an emerging economy and developing world perspective, could be integrated in design education. Whereas a holistic view based on user and stakeholder centred context-mapping, problem-solving and interdisciplinary work is advocated by several scholars, few design programmes allow for practical implementation of such an approach. Sustainability education for designers is still often rooted in environmental issues, and do not succeed in making students understand the broader relationships at hand. The reflection suggest that social questions rather than environmental ones can provide an entry point for the student’s understanding of sustainability that may be more in relation to holistic thinking, and may benefit the student’s growth, both as a person and as a designer per se, as well.

Keywords: Social sustainability, design education, design projects, emerging economies


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