Sustainable Design









Design for Sustainability: An Evolutionary Review

Fabrizio Ceschin, Idil Gaziulusoyb

Brunel University, University of Melbourne

Keywords: design for sustainability, evolution, design research


In this paper we explore the evolution of response from design discipline to sustainability issues. Following a quasi-chronological pattern, our exploration provides an overview of the Design for Sustainability (DfS) field, categorising the approaches developed in the past two decades under four innovation levels: Product, Product-Service System, Spatio-Social and Socio-Technical System. As a result of this overview, we propose an evolutionary framework and map the reviewed DfS approaches onto this framework. The proposed framework synthesizes the evolution of DfS field, showing how it has progressively expanded from a technical and product-centric focus towards large scale system level changes in which sustainability is understood as a socio-technical challenge. The framework also shows how the various DfS approaches contribute to particular sustainability aspects and visualise linkages, overlaps and complementarities between these approaches.

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Ceschin, F., Gaziulusoyb, I. (2016) Design for Sustainability: An Evolutionary Review. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

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