The term ‘ecology’ used as a metaphor was picked up by the discipline of Design in the late 1980’s with theorists such as Branzi, Manzini, Pantzar and Krippendorff’s exploration of ‘the ecology of the artificial’. This ecological metaphor played an important part in the re-assessment of Design’s role in line with social and environmental issues. As evident in the Munich Design Charter of 1990, an ecological model was used to initiate a debate over the fundamental role Design plays in developing our future. However, during the ensuing decade and a half, understanding of ‘ecology’ and notions of sustainability have changed considerably. This paper aims to re-visit the ecological metaphor, to see if ‘ecology’ is still a useful context for understanding how Design can play a role in sustainable change. The paper will start with a brief exploration of what ‘ecology’ has come to mean. It will go on to show how ‘ecology’ has been used by the field of Design, particularly as a metaphor in the phrase ‘ecology of the artificial’. It concludes by proposing a context for Design that might be more effective in conceptualising how the field can be of significant value in sustainable change.
|Keywords:||Sustainable Design, Systems Approach, The Ecology of the Artificial, Design Theory, Ecological Metaphor, Interdisciplinary Design|
PhD Candidate, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Human Ecology Department, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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