Design for Sustainability vs. Design for Resilience: A Time Scale Problem?

By Carlos Fiorentino.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sustainability is a controversial term, semantically and etymologically, and complex from all its possible interpretations. It is a word that has quickly evolved in its very short life. Still, the most suitable definitions of sustainability are those from “sustainable development”. In this context, design for sustainability is a process of design that creates the necessary framework to develop products of design or modify human behavior by design, which might meet the aims of sustainable development. Something “sustainable” has the ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely. Thus, if we analyze the effects that the design industry has had for almost two centuries, what do we want to sustain? Sustain the systems as they are? Sustain the future as it looks like? Would the word “change” rather than “sustain” be more accurate for what design for sustainability is trying to address? Do we need perhaps a better word to express what new generations of designers will be advocated for? An ancient word comes into play then: resilience and its relation with design, sustainability, speed and time is an open discussion that this paper will try to present.

Keywords: Design, Sustainability, Resilience, Eco-design, Sustainable Design, Design for Sustainability, Design Education

The International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.29-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 316.646KB).

Carlos Fiorentino

Design Instructor and Researcher, Design Studies , Department of Art and Design, Design for Sustainability, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Carlos Fiorentino is instructor in the Department of Art and Design and Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He is also an instructor in the Faculty of Design Studies at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. Carlos Fiorentino is also Co-Founder and Design Consultant at Pix Design Buenos Aires, Argentina.