A Care-oriented Design Process Model for Sustainable Design Education

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Ying Jiang

Abstract: In the unsustainable development of commodity production and resource consumption, designers are both part of the root of the problem and the agents of its solution. Education institutions and teaching plans bear a profound moral responsibility to improve designers’ ability to create a sustainable future. This chapter goes deep into the design education curriculum to explore a design process model that can be specifically applied to the field of care design.Education for sustainable development has become the main concern of environmental education since the 1990s (United Nations 1992). David W. Orr calls for an education system shift: ‘This crisis cannot be solved by the same kind of education that helped create the problems. Against the test of sustainability, our ideas, theories, sciences, humanities, social sciences, pedagogy, and educational institutions have not measured up’ (1992, p. 83). The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014) highlighted the key role of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), aiming at ‘integrating the principles and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, to encourage changes in knowledge, values and attitudes with the vision of enabling a more sustainable and just society for all’ (UNESCO, 2005, p.9). It fundamentally mobilized education to create relevant teaching rationales, teaching methods and learning content.The evolution of design for sustainability has been advanced ESD in higher education institutions and has created a wide array of teaching methods and tools, such as Service Design (Miso, 2020), Design Futuring (Fry, 2009), Transition Design (Jones, 2014), Systemic Design (Irwin, 2015), Design for Behaviour Change (Bhamra & Dewberry, 2007) and Ecology of Care (Coxon, 2017). The continuous improvement of sustainable design education helps designers to conceive a number of different conceptual solutions as a whole, and to take into consideration the wide array of impacts that their decisions have on people, the environment and the economy. However, the problem in curriculum education is that its focus is more on the designer’s sustainable achievements, rather than the designer's sustainable awareness and behavior changes. Strengthen the correlation between designers’sustainability awareness and design results would be appreciated.East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) is a comprehensive university with a strong background in science and engineering. The fundamental design course teaching at the School of Art Design and Media has provided me with excellent research opportunities. In this context, I could integrate the care-oriented sustainable design course into the curriculum system and conduct research directly. I noticed that sustainable design is a special and independent concept rarely mentioned in existing design courses. As expected from traditional courses, design courses focus on creating visually compelling and fully functional works. Although some ‘green’ design projects are sometimes carried out, in most cases green design courseworks focus on finding solutions in terms of principles, technology, materials, etc., and finally propose a small product design concept without considering the whole systemof thought at the basis of design. Also, most part of the courses are devoted to the introduction of the double diamond model that guides the design process, even though it does not make full use of the scientific nature of the design process itself. Sometimes, design research is separated from design results. I am interested in reshaping the way designers think about sustainability in the field of traditional design education, by considering all the different impacts of design decisions on people, the environment and the economy.By understanding the nature of care, I intend to develop a design process model and teaching tools from the perspective of care, which can be extrapolated as a care-oriented, sustainable design education course. The design process can be seen as a learning process which provides deeper information about sustainability challenges and opportunities by influencing students’ design thinking and design activity. On the one hand, the design process model could build a clear teaching idea for teachers. On the other hand, it could raise students’ awareness of caring, and transform this consciousness into specific design schemes, which can provide insight into problems and propose solutions from larger and more complex perspectives, thereby generating new sustainable design ideas. This newly developed design process emphasizes the role of the immediate-environment in promoting clients and products care.

Keywords: sustainability, care-oriented, design process model, design education

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002421

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