Grappling with sustainability in design education

Shepherd, J, Rogers, J and Alvarez, A 2007, 'Grappling with sustainability in design education', in ConnectED 2007 International Conference on Design Education, Sydney, Australia, 9-12 July 2007.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Grappling with sustainability in design education
Author(s) Shepherd, J
Rogers, J
Alvarez, A
Year 2007
Conference name ConnectED 2007 International Conference on Design Education
Conference location Sydney, Australia
Conference dates 9-12 July 2007
Proceedings title ConnectED 2007 International Conference on Design Education
Publisher University of New South Wales
Place of publication Sydney, Australia
Abstract While there is an expectation that contemporary design education will pay attention to the imperative of sustainability, certain assumptions are often made about what sustainability is and therefore what students should achieve. In design discourse sustainability is commmonly interpreted as 'green' or 'eco' design, a reductive approach that focuses on mitigating environmental impact. An alternative method would accept sustainability at the outset not as a technical problem but as discursive. The paper proposes that there are four discernible types of design studios concerned with sustainability These are used as ideal types or as explanatory devices to unpack why so much design education seems to default to sustainability as a technically driven rationale for design, rather than engaging with its inherent complexity, open-endedness and contestation. The final type, it is argued, suggests a way forward: an approach that engages with sustainability discourse and design education as mutually open ended. Finally, the paper proposes that nothing less than a cultural shift is needed away from a focus on product towards process if the design professions are to engage with sustainability beyond the technical.
Subjects Landscape Architecture
Copyright notice © 2007 University of New South Wales
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