Sustainable Platforming with Design

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The scale for design action has been and still is expanding. A skill related to craftsmanship has evolved into a tool for societal change. Sustainable design involves negotiation of values and priorities, and balancing between the environmental, social, and financial factors. Thus, its processes must address several dimensions of different stakeholder interests. Designers can help to create platforms for such activities. In the end the collaborative - and systemic - approach may help to facilitate the co-creation of new, more sustainable way of life. This keynote sheds light on what makes a design process sustainable, how different design methodologies can induce sustainability, and how design education can better support this goal. Through examples in design education and in contemporary sustainable design the keynote argues that to become more sustainable the design process must become more open and transparent, more sensitive to values and dialogue, and thus more iterative and reflective. Such development calls for open problem-based approach, collaborative mediation and distributed knowledge - a transdisciplinary design approach. Design education for sustainability can enable the future professionals to better facilitate the collaboration and communication among several participants, to drive the important agendas. Design tackling complex contemporary problems of sustainability should aim to facilitate such platforms for transdisciplinary dialogues. Whether they are built top-down or then emerging from the grass roots, whether they are based on design aiming to improve or on design aimed to criticize, they must be aimed to induce dialogues on values and goals, and contribute for the change towards more sustainable setting for human life. This was my keynote presentation in Factor Clave 7 conference, in 12th of September, 2013.

Transcript of Sustainable Platforming with Design

  • 1. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Tatu Marttila (M.A. Industrial Design) Teacher, researcher, doctoral candidate Aalto University ARTS, Helsinki, Finland http://designresearch.aalto.fi/groups/nodus/

2. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Contents Introduction Design Sustainability Platforms Praxis Conclusions 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 3. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Introduction to Finland Finland: A Nordic social welfare state with +5 million people population History: From wood industry to hi-tech to service society Appreciation for design (national design policies; WDC2012) High on education (PISA results) Somewhat hit by EU regression 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Helsinki, the capital city Photograph by Mikko Paananen, via Wikipedia 4. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Aalto University: A university formed in 2010 through a merger of University of Art and Design, School of Economics and University of Technology Now 6 schools and around 15000 students + 4000 staff Located in three campuses around Helsinki metropolitan area A place where Art and Business meets Science and Technology 5. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland DESIGN. 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 6. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Current landscapes of Design Practice During the 20th century design practice has evolved from a craft focused skill to a tool to understand user and consumer choices, and finally to manage societal change. At the same time the focus of design action has evolved from details to strategic level, and finally to the societal level. By the end of the 20th century the unsustainability of our current being has become evident. 21st century the century for design? 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 7. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Source: NextDesign Leadership Institute, GK VanPatter and Elizabeth Pastor The landscapes of design practice and education: 8. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 9. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 10. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland From details design towards Metadesign Designers attach meanings (signs) to things (designed). Designing meanings can be perceived as Metadesign. Metadesign is aimed at defining, creating and developing social, economic and technical infrastructures in which new forms of collaborative design can take place -> Platforms! Metadesign has an interdisciplinary and systemic approach, and it aims to tackle the complex problems of our contemporary everyday. It represents the upstream of design, whereas the details design is the downstream 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 11. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 12. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 13. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 14. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Understanding design action Contemporary design action stretches from visual communication to interface design, from product design to societal design, and from urban planning to industrial processes. Design is still about courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." (Simon, 1996) Designers help to develop solutions to contemporary problems (collaboratively and independently), and communicate about them inside and outside teams. 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 15. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 16. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 17. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland SUSTAINABILITY. 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 18. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Sustainability in Consumer Society Consumer society started to emerge strongly at the latest in the latter half of the 20th century. However, many of its ingredients were planted far before the 20th century. Most importantly it seems that the consumption society is connected to economic capitalism that is enhanced with extremely efficient industrial production. An era of second modernity? Along the emerging consumer society design emerged as a discipline and became industrialized, connecting strongly with manufacturing industry and focusing on increasing efficiency, functionality, styling and advertising. 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 19. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Designer responsibility and sustainability Design as a problem solving activity? Or as a problem creation activity? In Victor Papanek's (1927-1999) view: "There are professions more harmful than Industrial Design, but only a few. We all design but not all of us are professional designers with have a higher level of responsibility of design action. In the brief history of industrial design, designers have done their part by not questioning the practices of work. - How are we doing? 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 20. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Weak or strong sustainability? 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Three pillars of sustainability Three pillars of sustainability Nested within the ecological dimension 21. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Whose sustainability? The history of capitalism can be traced back to early forms of merchant capitalism practiced in Western Europe during the Middle Ages, but only industrialized mass production has created possibilities for contemporary models of consumption. Today, economic growth based on planned obsolescence has become force majeure in the developed societies. Combined with the economic imperative of growth it has led to ecological crisis. No one can deny negative ecological impacts of consumption. Allegedly, however, economic growth has created increased societal wellbeing. - Does consumption produce societal welfare and wellbeing? 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 22. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Source: www.treehugger.com No genuine progress in the quality of life (USA): 23. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Source: http://www.happyplanetindex.org/ 24. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland So are we getting sustainable? Cleaner production, growing welfare and decoupling of wealth and pollution seem to be (at least partially) only myths Rebound-effect is driven by the economic imperative, as markets aim to produce more stuff as impact per unit decreases. Even if factor 10 (ten times more effective production of services) is achieved by 2050, there can only be negative growth in consumption, and also in economy in the developed contexts. We seem to approach the depletion of all the resources within 21st century. According to some estimations, as business-as-usual continues, a global collapse is closing in around the middle of this century. 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 25. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Source: A safe operating space for humanity (2011) by Stockholm Resilience Centre/Nature 26. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Global collapse within this century? Source: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, via Scientific American 27. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland Sustainability in the making Role of design shifting from details to systems level and eventually towards societal transformation (Aminoff, et al. 2011) Context-dependent sustainability should be defined among a larger group of stakeholders, including laypeople Design approach in solving difficult and complex problems and problem-contexts - wicked problems (Rittel & Webber, 1973) Design thinking and reflection (problem-driven and solution oriented) helping collaborative process by creating new integrations of signs, things, actions and environment (Buchanan, 1995) 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN 28. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland 9/12/13 Factor Clave 2013 | Tatu Marttila: SUSTAINABLE PLATFORMING WITH DESIGN Source: The Natural Step, see: http://www.naturalstep.org/ 29. Aalto University ARTS Helsinki, Finland From design in transition Contemporary user-centered design is unable to produce more sustainable solutions as long as it works along the imperative of economic growth. Suggested improvements as new approaches have been (more) functional and systemic design, but they embrace the existing power structures. A shift in our mode of being is r