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Special Issue "Sustainable Design Education and Implementation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 19473

Special Issue Editors

Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK
Interests: responsible design; user centred sustainable design; sustainable design implementation; challenges of circularity
Institute for Design Innovation, Loughborough University London, Loughborough University, London, UK
Interests: service design; design for education; education for sustainable development; social change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue recognizes that there is an ongoing discourse regarding the need for changes in design education [1–3]. The need to explore and enact these changes is further amplified by the fact that the contexts in which designers are working, are becoming increasingly complex. This is reflected both in the roles that designers are moving into, which are more diverse, as well as the immense challenges that design aims to address (poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice) [4]. This Special Issue invites exploration of radical approaches to Sustainable Design Education and Implementation in Higher Education from multiple perspectives, focusing on what designers learn, how they learn and where they learn. We invite contributions which provide commentary on novel, visionary and progressive sustainable design pedagogies, and the implications they have on formal education systems.

We recognise that education happens outside of formal setting, so are also interested in exploring learning which has occurred through Sustainable Design projects to understand the role of ‘education by sustainable design’. Studies that explore the impact of sustainable design projects beyond the ‘nudge’ towards sustainable behaviours and explore transformational change through learning in individuals and organisations are of most interest.  We welcome contributions from all fields of design, including: industrial, service, product, graphic, communication, architecture, engineering design and others.

Dr. Vicky Lofthouse
Dr. Ksenija Kuzmina
Guest Editors

References

  1. Chick, A. Preparing British design undergraduates for the challenge of sustainable development. Art. Des. Educ. 2000, 19, 161–169.
  2. Meyer, M. W.; Norman, D. Changing Design Education for the 21st Century. She Ji J. Des. Econ. Innov. 2020, 6, 13–49.
  3. Papanek, V. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, 2nd ed; Thames and Hudson: London, UK, 1985.
  4. Take Action for the Sustainable Development Goals, 2020. Available online: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ (accessed on 17 September 2020)

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Radical approaches to sustainable design pedagogy
  • Education by sustainable design and its implementation
  • Learning through sustainable design projects
  • Politics of education
  • Systems thinking
  • Multi-disciplinary approaches
  • Service design and education
  • Biomimicry and design
  • Social innovation/ecologically driven approaches
  • Ecology and design
  • Design for circularity
  • Student experience
  • Sustainable development goals

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Sustainable Design Education in Higher Education and Implementation
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 5002; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15065002 - 11 Mar 2023
Viewed by 532
Abstract
This Special Issue sets out to further the ongoing discourse around the need for changes in design education [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)

Research

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Article
CBDHS: A Case-Based Design Heuristics Tool to Support Product Design Students in Idea Generation
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16011; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142316011 - 30 Nov 2022
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Previous research have demonstrated the efficiency of card-based design heuristics in product design courses, but the product case sources selected for these design heuristics have been too homogeneous and have targeted design goals, making it difficult for product design students to use them [...] Read more.
Previous research have demonstrated the efficiency of card-based design heuristics in product design courses, but the product case sources selected for these design heuristics have been too homogeneous and have targeted design goals, making it difficult for product design students to use them quickly and accurately in the classroom. As new products continue to iterate, previous design heuristics are no longer fully meeting the requirements of product design education. There is no process for developing design heuristics for course-targeted products that would allow design school teachers and students to develop new design heuristics on their own, based on course objectives. This study proposes case-based design heuristics (CBDHS) to support product design students in idea generation and a step-by-step process for constructing CBDHS. In addition, this study develops an eco-friendly product packaging example to validate the applicability of CBDHS in product design courses using an empirical evaluation. A total of 38 product design students participated in this quasi-experiment and were asked to generate as many ideas as possible in 45 min, with the experimental group (19 participants) generating ideas using CBDHS and the control group (19 participants) generating ideas using the brainstorming method. This quasi-experiment evaluated the ideas generated by each participant using five evaluation metrics (quantity, novelty, quality, number of good ideas, and level of design fixation). The results of the experiment show that (1) in terms of the number of ideas, the experimental group (M = 10.95, SD = 4.14) produced fewer ideas per participant on average than the control group (M = 13.68, SD = 4.44), t(36) = 1.966, p = 0.057; (2) regarding the novelty of ideas, there is no statistically significant difference between the control group (M = 4.00, SD = 1.47) and the experimental group (M = 4.48, SD = 1.56), t(149) = −1.928, p = 0.056; (3) with respect to the quality of ideas, there is no statistically significant difference between the control group (M = 4.19, SD = 1.96) and the experimental group (M = 4.40, SD = 2.05), t(149) = −0.648, p = 0.518; and (4) concerning the number of good ideas, there is a significant difference in the value of the proportion of the control group (9.5%) versus the experimental group (31.3%), x2(1, n = 151) = 11.44, p = 0.001. (5) There is no statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups in terms of the level of design fixation. CBDHS can support product design students in generating ideas for the targeted products of the course, and the integration of CBDHS into the product design curriculum can help teachers to impart innovative ideas to students, ultimately leading to an improvement in teaching quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Increasing Sustainability Literacy for Environmental Design Students: A Transdisciplinary Learning Practice
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12379; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912379 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
Nowadays, the urban water system is facing many challenges which affect the sustainable development of society. This requires higher education institutions to develop people with a diversity of knowledge and complex problem-solving capacities. This paper presents a practical case of transdisciplinary learning for [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the urban water system is facing many challenges which affect the sustainable development of society. This requires higher education institutions to develop people with a diversity of knowledge and complex problem-solving capacities. This paper presents a practical case of transdisciplinary learning for junior students of environmental design at NingboTech University (Ningbo, China). The course “Environmental Engineering and Technology” ran from 1 March to 24 April 2022. A total of 25 students were instructed in the theories of urban water environmental engineering and then worked in groups to complete a design project for a river ecological restoration. The outcomes were analyzed from the perspective of combining engineering and landscape design. At the end of the course, students volunteered to take an online questionnaire about course evaluation. Students responded highly positively to the course, achieved growth in sustainability literacy, and developed skills in transdisciplinary learning. It also confirms the importance of outdoor education and project-based teaching. Additionally, the lowering of the requirement for mathematical skills through the internet tools usage and the formation of multidisciplinary teams are expected to improve future teaching outcomes. These results provide new insights for educators into the integration of the disciplines between design and engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Sustainable and Responsible Design Education: Tensions in Transitions
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116397 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3076
Abstract
Sustainable and Responsible Design (SRD) harnesses design’s potential to address eco-social problems and in doing so challenge the status quo of design education by reframing the social and ecological consequences, boundaries and agencies of design. This critical and transdisciplinary approach frays the edges [...] Read more.
Sustainable and Responsible Design (SRD) harnesses design’s potential to address eco-social problems and in doing so challenge the status quo of design education by reframing the social and ecological consequences, boundaries and agencies of design. This critical and transdisciplinary approach frays the edges of traditional design disciplines with embedded and reflexive modes of learning. We describe characteristics of SRD education and present theories of learning to empower students in this complex terrain. The learning associated with SRD education is ecologically engaged, participative, critical, expansive and designerly. We recount case studies of our own experiences advancing sustainable and responsible undergraduate design education in the UK. We identify path constraints such as disciplinary fragility, appropriation, and power dynamics in the design school. The push for a revision of priorities generates tensions where there is often greenwashing rhetoric of sustainability and inclusivity. We describe strategies and tactics to address these tensions. We highlight the agency we have as educators and designers and argue that design education can only meaningfully participate in response to the challenges presented by climate change, other types of ecocide, and social problems when educators make substantive commitments to supporting sustainability literacies and design approaches that serve the interests of diverse stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Joining Sustainable Design and Internet of Things Technologies on Campus: The IPVC Smartbottle Practical Case
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5922; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105922 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1556
Abstract
Higher education institutions (HEIs) are favored environments for the implementation of technological solutions that accelerate the generation of smart campi, given the dynamic ecosystem they create based on the involvement of inspired and motivated human resources (students, professors, and researchers), moving around in [...] Read more.
Higher education institutions (HEIs) are favored environments for the implementation of technological solutions that accelerate the generation of smart campi, given the dynamic ecosystem they create based on the involvement of inspired and motivated human resources (students, professors, and researchers), moving around in an atmosphere of advanced digital infrastructures and services. Moreover, HEIs have, in their mission, not only the creation of integrated knowledge through Research and Development (R&D) activities but also solving societal problems that address the academic community expectations concerning environmental issues, contributing, therefore, towards a greener society embodied within the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article addresses the design and implementation of a Smartbottle Ecosystem in which an interactive and reusable water bottle communicates with an intelligent water refill station, both integrated by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), to eliminate the use of single-use plastic water bottles in the premises of the Polytechnical Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC), an HEI with nearly 6000 students. Three main contributions were identified in this research: (i) the proposal of a novel methodology based on the association of Design Thinking and Participatory Design as the basis for Sustainable Design; (ii) the design and development of an IoT-enabled smartbottle prototype; and (iii) the usability evaluation of the proposed prototype. The adopted methodology is rooted in Design Thinking and mixes it with a Participatory Design approach, including the end-user opinion throughout the Smartbottle Ecosystem design process, not only for the product design requirements but also for its specification. By promoting a participatory solution tailored to the IPVC academic community, recycled plastic has been identified as the preferential material and a marine mammal was selected for the smartbottle shape, in the process of developing a solution to replace the single-use plastic bottles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Sustainable Design Masters: Increasing the Sustainability Literacy of Designers
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3255; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063255 - 10 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2753
Abstract
This paper examines student learning in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Design course at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University London. It considers what designers learn, how they learn and where they learn, in a postgraduate course that seeks to enable them [...] Read more.
This paper examines student learning in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Design course at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University London. It considers what designers learn, how they learn and where they learn, in a postgraduate course that seeks to enable them to direct their practice towards sustainability by increasing their sustainability literacy. The paper reviews the learning experiences of students, and the curriculum structures and approaches used to serve those experiences. The story of the course is told here by the course leader of ten years, using student outputs to illustrate the argument made for a sustainable design pedagogy. The key principles of this pedagogy are (1) sustainability is a social, not just an environmental, agenda; (2) sustainability presents us with ‘wicked problems’, which have no right or wrong answers; (3) sustainability-directed design practice arises from the sustainability literacy of the designer; (4) sustainability derives from mindsets and worldviews, not just methods and materials; and (5) sustainability is an emergent property of systems, not a quality of products. This combination has generated a distinctive model of postgraduate sustainable design education, which seeks to equip students with a ‘mastery’ of how to put into practice their own visions of sustainable design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Engagement with Higher Education Surface Pattern Design Students as a Catalyst for Circular Economy Action
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031146 - 20 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1136
Abstract
The ‘circular economy’ is seen as an approach by which the issue of sustainability can be addressed whilst broadly maintaining patterns of production, consumption, economic growth, and living standards. If circular economy ambitions are to be achieved, ways and processes of manufacturing need [...] Read more.
The ‘circular economy’ is seen as an approach by which the issue of sustainability can be addressed whilst broadly maintaining patterns of production, consumption, economic growth, and living standards. If circular economy ambitions are to be achieved, ways and processes of manufacturing need to radically change from the current linear model, and there is the potential for higher education students to act as active participants and catalysts, as explored in this research. The objective of this study is to demonstrate the potential for collaborative learning projects to generate value to all stakeholders and participants, with the definition of value pertinent to each participant’s needs whilst also addressing the principles of circular economy. A case study collaborative learning design project is used to illustrate the positive direct and indirect outcomes and to show how such design projects can form part of a wider drive for transition through innovation towards circular economy ways of working. We consider this research to be at the intersection of circular economy advancement and the integration of effective methods of education for the circular economy in higher education. A cohort of 29 undergraduate surface pattern design students was engaged in a challenge-based design project co-created with an established manufacturing firm. This research shows how such projects provide learning not only for students but also the case study firm and give tangible outputs in terms of new value-generative products. Through an examination of the reflective comments of participants, an outline of key aspects to consider in delivering such projects to ensure greatest impact is identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Higher Perceived Design Thinking Traits and Active Learning in Design Courses Motivate Engineering Students to Tackle Energy Sustainability in Their Careers
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12570; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212570 - 14 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1497
Abstract
Engineers play an important role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, which aim to provide a more sustainable environment for future generations. Through design thinking, creativity, and innovation, sustainable engineering solutions can be developed. Future engineers need to [...] Read more.
Engineers play an important role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, which aim to provide a more sustainable environment for future generations. Through design thinking, creativity, and innovation, sustainable engineering solutions can be developed. Future engineers need to acquire skills in their engineering curriculum to feel equipped to address sustainable design challenges in their career. This paper focuses on the impact of perceived design thinking traits and active learning strategies in design courses to increase senior engineering students’ motivation to engage in energy sustainability in their career. A national survey was distributed to senior engineering students in the United States (n = 4364). The survey asked students about their motivation to engage in sustainable design, their perceived design thinking traits (i.e., integrative feedback, collaboration), and if they experienced active learning strategies in design courses (i.e., learning by doing). The results highlight that higher perceived design thinking ability increases senior engineering students’ interests in designing solutions related to energy sustainability. Active learning experiences positively influence senior engineering students’ interests in designing solutions related to energy sustainability. These findings show the importance of teaching design thinking in engineering courses to empower future engineers to address sustainable challenges through design and innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Article
Integrating Repair into Product Design Education: Insights on Repair, Design and Sustainability
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10067; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810067 - 08 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2285
Abstract
With the pressure of growing environmental problems, the world is changing, and so is the paradigm of design. Accordingly, the calls for change in design education are increasing throughout the literature day by day. As the designers of the future, students must be [...] Read more.
With the pressure of growing environmental problems, the world is changing, and so is the paradigm of design. Accordingly, the calls for change in design education are increasing throughout the literature day by day. As the designers of the future, students must be prepared for alternative scenarios. This paper provides insights into students’ learning outcomes and competencies related to repair and sustainability in the context of an assignment that integrates repair into design education. This assignment has been part of the master’s degree design course at Linköping University for the last 3 years. During these 3 years, 52 repair projects, including a diverse range of products, were developed. Aiming to find out the insights of this process, focus group sessions were conducted. As a result of these focus group sessions, 12 insights were developed, such as the concepts of brokenness, designed repair, and repair-worthy objects. Findings show that practices of repair constitute complex sites of learning, technical skill and knowledge which could enable novice designers to become competent in circular design. This paper is of value for design educators and researchers, especially those concerned with the repair and circular economy, as it can facilitate future attempts to further integrate circular strategies into design education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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Other

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Essay
Augmenting Design Education for Sustainability through Field Exploration: An Experience of Learning from DIY Practices in a Rural Community
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13017; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313017 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
This article (visual essay) provides a glimpse of a field trip ventured by design students as part of a larger study of developing a localised version of design education for sustainability, focusing on the wants and needs of non-urban populations in vast Russian [...] Read more.
This article (visual essay) provides a glimpse of a field trip ventured by design students as part of a larger study of developing a localised version of design education for sustainability, focusing on the wants and needs of non-urban populations in vast Russian hinterlands. The central goal is to introduce would-be designers to the concepts of locally appropriate technology and sustainable/circular living by real-life examples and, eventually, teach them to recognise the sustainable potential of place-based technologies and practices of their making, using and maintaining. The primary data came from the trip to Pozhva, a village in Permskiy Krai, Russia, that gained popularity among DIY activists and users of off-road vehicles in Russia in the early 2000s because of its unique, community-centred manufacture of lightweight ATVs on low-pressure tires, nicknamed “jeeps”. This article presents the students’ journey in a comic strip portraying a composite character of technologies and their user-designers as experts in local conditions and (subconsciously) agents of circularity. The article closes with a discussion on the expedition’s discoveries and learning outcomes, correlating them with broader implications for design education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design Education and Implementation)
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