Rethinking design: a critical perspective to embrace societal challenges

Can design catalyse the great transition? That is the question that was asked during the Transition Design Symposium 2016. The symposium was designed to open up a conversation between design and other fields that share a mutual desire for rapid transition to a more sustainable society. The papers that were collected for the symposium can be found online now. A nice blogpost about the symposium and the publication was written by Andrew Simms of the New Weather Institute.

One of the papers was written by Ingrid Mulder and Derk Loorbach, called “Rethinking design: a critical perspective to embrace societal challenges”. An introduction to the paper can be found below:

“Across modern, developed economies we are confronted with the need to completely reinvent our economies and its associated systems of consumption and production. Whether we look at our energy, mobility, water management, or construction systems, or at our labour market, education, and health care systems, they are all increasingly under pressure. The way our modern society has been developing along parameters of economic and demographic growth, specialisation and optimisation, efficiency and planned innovation no longer produces the kind of social innovation, sustainability, and quality of life we aspire. In other words, we can no longer rely on optimising existing systems, infrastructures, and technologies as well as knowledge infrastructures to deliver the kind of radical alternatives that we need to come towards a zero emission built environment, completely renewable energy systems, electric and shared mobility, inclusive economies, sustainable food production and consumption as well as affordable and human-based health care.

In the current work, we frame these challenges to reinvent our modern welfare society, its institutions and economy, as a collective societal design challenge.”

Full article: Mulder, I. & Loorbach, D. (2018). Rethinking Design: a critical perspective to embrace societal challenges. In: Kossoff, G. & Potts, R. (Ed). Can Design Catalyse the Great Transition: Papers from the Transition Design Symposium 2016. Dartington: United Kingdom, pp. 16-24. ISBN: 978-1-912119-51-6.