Sustainable Design









Integrating Sustainability Literacy into Design Education

Andrea Quam

Iowa State University

Keywords: sustainability literacy, design education, problem solving, design pedagogy


A base definition of sustainability is balancing environmental, economic and societal concerns with future generations in mind. At its core, sustainability is future-focused, as the education of future design professionals must be. Design is understood to be a discipline seeking to improve the condition of current and future populations. Why then, is sustainability not universally integrated into design education programs and their curricula? This paper will look at a logical framework for instructors to introduce sustainability into design curriculum in a manner that shifts from looking at sustainability competencies, to a more profession-specific vision for sustainable literacy. An argument for the need, approach and opportunity for sustainability literacy, as well as a case study in which this framework was applied to a graphic design studio class will be share. 

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

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Cite this paper: Quam, A. (2016) Integrating Sustainability Literacy into Design Education. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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